This quote by Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, captures a most remarkable secret for staying out of trouble with ourselves. “I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge.”
(Sadly, instead, many of us learn to ignore the simple voice within, and spend a great deal of our short lives attempting to convince ourselves and others why we had to.)
It’s never been about proving yourself to someone
It’s never been about how you compare to anyone else or get revenge for injustices
It’s never been about your fame or success
It’s never been about your money
It’s never been about your education or how smart you are
It’s never been about your face or your body
It has always been about the kind of person you are
While you do what you were born to do
Most of us want to be a “light” to others, but not if it means enduring tough times to become that light. I don’t know why I am always surprised when my life gets challenging, since I can’t think of one single role model who hasn’t endured really painful stuff.
I am ever grateful for the depth, encouragement, and wisdom that has come to me through the suffering they have endured.
Much of the pain I have experienced in my life has been due to a subtle entitlement that had grown massive in my subconscious.
Viktor Frankl spoke these words in reference to surviving concentration camp. They apply everywhere.
For too long, I ignored this freedom, this power, and this escape route. I chose instead to whimper about my plight. It would have helped me to remember this other Frankl quote:
Just because my life didn’t resemble the picture of “what I thought my life should or would be” didn’t mean something went wrong.
When I decided to take what came to me with hope instead of despair, I took back my life…and leveraged the burning for light.
We all want it.
Freedom makes life worth living.
Those who have been denied basic freedoms attest to that.
But, there are also those who found freedom in spite of their circumstances.
They call to us today, raising the flag of freedom and bellowing a song of hope.
And, there are those of us who have always been free who live as if we are not.
Celebrate your freedom today by changing your mind.
(*IYAD WYAD YAG WYAG: “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”)
Good reminder from Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor, psychiatrist, life-long learner, and author of (one of my favorite books) Man’s Search for Meaning.
By example, he shows us what we SHOULD NOT DO in response to circumstances:
- Despair or give up
- Get bitter or hate
- Decide everything is meaningless
- Wallow in self-pity or anxiety
People who have overcome, as Viktor Frankl did, urge us to believe certain things about life:
- There is meaning in our suffering
- Others will value from our courage
- Love still triumphs over evil
- We have a mission to accomplish
The losses or gains, the pains or pleasures, the ups and downs…that wasn’t it.
Viktor Frankl quoted this in Man’s Search for Meaning.
And, what an example he was of the validity of the maxim. Frankl lost his wife, mother, father, and brother, along with all his possessions (including a scientific document which represented his life’s work), in the Holocaust. In the meantime, he endured hunger, brutality, and the hopelessness of the concentration camps. His “why” was surviving to tell the story and make a difference.
In spite of all, he remained an optimist and his work still inspires millions today.
He reminds me to:
1) remain hopeful
2) never assume that what I am enduring has no end
3) ask what life requires of me, rather than what I require of life
Strength and joy to you today!
What a helpless feeling when we are suddenly without power.
If you have it today, don’t take it for granted. There will come a time…
Whether it is the loss of electricity, technology, or control over our circumstances, it is imperative that we have a plan for moving forward.
We cannot afford to waste time fretting, despairing, complaining, or attacking others. Real power is within our grasp.
Take it from the experts:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
– Viktor Frankl
Power to you today…both kinds.
When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
– Viktor Frankl
Frankl’s wisdom in this area was forged during the Holocaust. He survived because he believed he could give meaning to his suffering. He allowed the circumstances to challenge his life and he came out with freedom and a gift for the world.
I took the gift from his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, and, for many years, have been using it for strength and endurance.
Whatever our circumstances, we are charged to quit complaining and start changing.