I just finished reading “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Dr Victor E. Frankl. It’s not just another man’s experience surviving a concentration camp. See, Dr Frankl was a successful and highly intelligent psychiatrist, throughout his time in the camps he was studying man while in their most primitive forms. Doesn’t this study become that much more credible?! That’s why I read this book like gospel.

The first half of the book are some of his accounts from the camp – seeing men give up the will to live, marching with no shoes on in the blistering cold etc. Now he doesn’t put much emphasis on the experience itself but rather what he learned and gained from them. The second half, is his brief explanation of Logotherapy (his own psychoanalysis study) which he believes is how psychoanalysis’ should really be conducted instead of the impersonal and mechanical therapeutic techniques that is abundantly practiced and widely accepeted. Logotherapy is based on the statement that almost any form of neurosis can be directly linked to one’s search for meaning in his life. Frankl pleads with psychiatrists to stop viewing humans as diseases and machinery but to see the person behind the disease. Obviously treatment will be unique to the patient’s situation and the appropriate technique would be applied accordingly, you are given brief examples of treatment in the book.

Anyway, before I continue to bore some people with the above, the man deserves a mention, a recommendation and a brief overview of his work, so he get’s one! Now if this has given Frankl enough credibility then do not take this one small segment from his book with a grain of salt.

Suffering in life is inevitable and it can destroy us mentally and physically. It is the most challenging thing this us as humans endure. How we view and handle our adversity can ultimately determine our fate. So how do we effectively deal with it?

Find meaning in your suffering, your reason to live, your hope and you will outlast all despair just like Frankl. There are a number of reasons Frankl survived the camps, the most important reason is the entire time he never gave up hope, he never gave up his will to live, this led to his desire for survival. What kept him going were vivid mental images of his wife and his purpose to finish his studies and the books he was writing, he even beat typhus; an infectious disease that was killing most men in the camp, with these comforting and ambitious thoughts. This is an extreme example but these were his reasons to live.

If a man can survive concentration camps and deadly diseases through identifying purpose and hope in his life then think about what you can overcome. If you can stay positive through turmoil then no matter what life throws your way, you will admirably overcome it. So,whatever you are going through right now, I promise you, things will get better. You can and will carry on!

So, why do you get up in the morning? What do you have to live for?

I could honestly write for pages about the value of this book, this is just such a small segment of it.

BD

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