By Tim Rooney
We all know that from time to time in life “ bad things happen” to us – sometimes those bad things can be quite overwhelming.
How we respond in these situations can either strengthen or weaken us and is a measure, perhaps of our true character.
A long time ago – I remember reading – “Mans Search for Meaning” - by Victor Frankl and how inspired I was by this man’s ability to overcome life in the most outrageous conditions, a notorious concentration camp, and to never lose hope or his humanity.
I’ve recently started to read the book again. One paragraph caught my attention where he recounts;
“ We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one last thing: the last of the human freedoms- to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’ s own way”.
Having endured all the suffering imaginable, Victor Frankl never lost his will to live and even in the most abject conditions – kept finding meaning in his life.
He did this by never losing sight of his end goal after he got out of the concentration camp. He kept going by studying the behaviours of those who never gave in, to see what separated them from the majority who succumbed to the horrors of life in a concentration camp and those who rose above it. When subsequently freed by the Allies, he converted this knowledge to Logo Therapy which today is acknowledged as a powerful therapy focused on helping people find meaning in life and over-coming depression.
Victor Frankl set the bar very high for us to measure our own response to the “bad things that happen” and showed us that we each have the will to “choose our attitude” in any given set of bad circumstances that inevitably happen in our day to day lives.