September 19, 2016 Felicia Durling

Understanding Meaning through the Words of Viktor Frankl

Understanding Meaning through the Words of Viktor FranklViktor Frankl was a psychologist, a professor, author, and researcher. His plan for life came to a screeching halt when he was thrown into the Nazi internment camps during the holocaust. Frankl witnessed something miraculous. Despite truly dire conditions, his fellow prisoners found meaning in their lives, little reasons every day to persevere. Their faith, belief, and hope, was inextinguishable no matter how they were tried. In the dark of addiction it might seem impossible to find the light in recovery. Don’t give into the meaninglessness. If you’re here reading this right now, there is meaning in your life. You’re here for a reason.


“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” -Viktor Frankl


The serenity prayer reads: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Truly, this prayer is asking God to help us trust in His plan. Frustratingly, this is sometimes very difficult to comprehend, especially in the wake of trauma or loss. Serenity is understanding we cannot change what it is out of our control. Believing this requires trust. Courageous is the change which opens ourselves up to this trust. Exhausted, we give up the boldness of trying to change people, places and things. We decide to let God be God and do God’s job. With one last gusto we turn towards ourselves. Meaning is seeking the wisdom to know the difference. We change by growing closer to Him and trusting in His process.


“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.” – Viktor Frankl


Meaning is understanding that your life is special. For each day your eyes open, your heart still beating, God has a purpose for your existence. Maybe we don’t find the great assignment of our lives. God hides miracles in the smallest tasks. Simply staying sober today or choosing to find treatment may be your fulfillment. When we lose hope that we have any reason to be here, we doubt the magnificence of God’s creativity.


“I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved.”-Viktor Frankl


Thus, we continually return to the ultimate source of wisdom, love, and validation. Many religious and spiritual texts describe a scene where man is completely void of all material possessions, a failure by most societal standards. Yet, sitting in the quiet miracle of God’s love, he feels he has all the wealth in the world. Meaning is knowing that there is more to life than what we know. When we seek to know what we do not know, we find meaning.


“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” -Viktor Frankl


Prisoners held in the Nazi camps were exposed to harsh conditions beyond imagination. Yet somehow, starved, weak, and sick, these men and women rose every day to meet the soldier’s demands. They worked tirelessly on bare frozen feet in the snow. Frankl observed that when man lost his ‘why’ his body ceased to function. For hundreds of Holocaust survivors challenged with the threat of death every minute of every day, their ‘why’, kept them through one of history’s most horrendous ‘how’s. Meaning is knowing there is a ‘why’, even if you are unsure just what it is.


Your why exists and you’re living it right now. Here at Center for Life Change we educate our patients on getting through the ‘how’ of their pain, trauma, and addictions. Find your ‘why’ with us. We already see it in you. For more information call (951) 775-4000.

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