I just finished reading Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search For Meaning. I’ve heard about it for a long time, but I had never read it until know. Although it is very disturbing, I enjoy reading about holocaust survivors. I find such strength in reading about others overcoming hardships. Living through the holocaust is the extreme of hardships!!
Frankl’s book was first published in 1946. The English translation was first published in 1959. Since then more than 12 million copies in 24 languages have been sold.
Victor Frankl did overcome his time in the Nazi concentration camps. He went on to help counsel others who survived. He used a form of therapy that he developed called logotherapy.
“…Inasmuch as logotherapy, in comparison with psychoanalysis, is a method less retrospective and less introspective. Logotherapy focuses rather on the future, that is to say, on the meanings to be fulfilled by the patient in his future.”
His belief was that true happiness is found when a person realizes their meaning in life. I have seen this at work in my own life- which I will write about at another time!!
There are so many quotes in this book that are heavy with truth and relevance to our lives today. I am going to list some that gave me pause and made me think of my own life. I hope that you read these quotes and see how they apply to your life. Or- better yet, read this amazing book!!
As I have said many times, I love words. I love the power that words have in my life. God speaking our world into existence shows how powerful words are. I share some of the quotes that spoke the most to me in hopes that they will speak just as powerfully to you. I hope these empower you today! Keep in mind that many of these quotes come in relation to the events of the holocaust:
“The way in which a many accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity- even under the most difficult circumstance- to add deeper meaning to his life.”
“Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete.”
“The prisoner who had lost faith in the future- his future- was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and become subject to mental and physical decay.”
“…any attempt to restore a man’s inner strength in the camp had first to succeed in showing him some future goal. Nietzsche’s words,’ He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.’ “
“We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation- just think of an incurable disease as inoperable cancer- we are challenged to change ourselves.”
“For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.
So, let us be alert- alert in a twofold sense:
Since Auschwitz, we know what man is capable of.
And since Hiroshima, we know what is at stake.”
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”
“No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.”
“Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning.”
I have experienced in my own life that before I could move forward after losing R, I had to at least think about the future. I called it my Plan C and Plan D. I had to have a glimpse that I could make it and that things would be OK. Those plans C and D are for a future post. I don’t want anything to take away from the significance of the words in this post!
We all experience suffering in our lives. What makes the difference in life is our attitude to that suffering. The last think I want in my life is pain and suffering. I’ve been through the worst that I’ve ever experience when I lost R. As terrible as that was, I will say the experience has made my life today sweeter. I love more deeply; I experience life at a different level; I certainly laugh more!! Although I would never have wanted it to happen, it has changed my life, and I have worked to make that change positive.