We can draw insight from Frankl’s writing on human suffering when our families go through periods of difficulty.
When families go through severe relationship difficulties (e.g. relationships with older, perhaps even adult, children or between spouses), it can be a traumatic time. We get angry, wonder how to respond, and sometimes even consider how to hit back for the hurt we have experienced.
Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist. From his observations and experiences in a Nazi concentration camp which he survived, he wrote a best-selling book Man’s Search for Meaning. Some of his quotations:
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.
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.
When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.
In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.
Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfilment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.
Do any of these quotations speak to you? Take a few minutes to reflect on it, and share it with someone.