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Victor Frankl. Sunday October 27, 2013

"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." Victor Frankl.

Victor Frankl was a Holocaust survivor and a psychiatrist and wondered why certain people managed to live through this atrocity and others simply gave up and idled, which he explores in his best-seller 'Man's Search for Meaning'.

He chronicled his experiences as a concentration camp inmate which led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most sordid ones, and thus, a reason to continue living.

His extreme experience where he could change nothing except himself - opened a door for him and he became one of the key figures in existential therapy and a prominent source of inspiration for humanistic psychologists.

What situations are you now in where you want others to change?

Maybe it even upsets or disturbs you - why - since the only person you can change is yourself?

All too often, since humans are animals of habit in a world where the only constant is change, we are our own creators of stress.

What can you change about yourself today in a proactive manner, rather than wait until you discover you cannot change the situation and by then, with far greater stress, realise it is you who have to change?

Explore this at work or home... and see what falls out!

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Arjay Sun, Oct 27th 2013 @ 9:30am

'wondered why certain people managed to live through this atrocity and others simply gave up and idled'

You have completely missed and disregarded a huge part of the conclusion Frankl came to, in that, and I quote from the book "the best of us did not return"
Many people didn't survive because they put others before themselves, they gave them their meagre rations of food if they were sick, their blankets, their coats.
To use the word idled in such a context is horrendous, and insulting to anyone who had family in one of the camps and who did not return.

I liked the rest of your post.

Julia Sun, Oct 27th 2013 @ 9:55am

I am reading this book, Man's Search for Meaning. Someone else on Moodscope recommended it a while back. I am at page 72 as I dip into it from time to time. I wonder what he means by the "best of us". I am fascinated to find out what the conclusion of his book is as I have been lead to believe it is as Les says, that the human spirit or human being wants to live, will do anything in its power to survive and continue to live and will find a way. Frankl writes that suicide in prison camps was so rare I think he said because the will to survive against great odds, deprivation, torture etc was greater than the desire to die. As I say I haven't finished the book and I don't doubt for one minute your words Arjay. Perhaps others who have read the book can comment. I suspect the issues are complex. Not many survived the holocaust and I imagine that the majority of those who were gassed and died in the camps were Frankl's "survivors"

Arjay Sun, Oct 27th 2013 @ 10:03am

I am sorry, I ought to have said 'one' of the conclusions.

Anonymous Sun, Oct 27th 2013 @ 10:07am

First I would like to say what a great point was made in this post, the simple concept of not being able to change anyone but yourself bypasses a lot of us, maybe because we feel it's too simple? I'm not sure. However, I hope as a collective the idea begins to become much more mainstream than it is now.

My second point is another concept that came to mind when I was reading the first comment on this post. I imagine Arjay that when we are faced with something that hits us quite deep, we recoil and become defensive. Yet if we imagined that words had a very clear effect on the environment around us, and negative words cause negative pollution, it might become a bit more clearer that as much as negative words emphasise our point and the hurt we feel inside, ultimately they do no good to either ourselves or the people around us.

Thank you for this post Les, and for the different perspective of the book Arjay, I will definitely be reading it soon.

Quacko54 Sun, Oct 27th 2013 @ 1:52pm

I am a fan of Victor Frankl's writing. Good comments from people. I think the idea of being proactive immediately is good. I also am "discussing in my head" as Julia is.
I do not believe we have to have a fantasy of what life is, but there are times that one wonders what has happened to the quality of there lives. To me, there needs to be more that just being in survival mode. As Julia says, many that did not make it were totally "survivors". Anonymous above me made a great point about the environment being polluted with negativity that is not created by ourselves. I joined this site because I need to see how others are dealing with their lives- one thing that I think about a lot is how much the external -as described as pollution, is causing me great stress. How much can one tolerate over time of being in a toxic situation- it is draining an destructive. I am working very hard on rising up every day, but it is truly taking a toll. Thanks for all being here.

Julia Sun, Oct 27th 2013 @ 3:42pm

We are all here for you Quacko54. It's interesting isn't it, to learn from Moodscope, how we each deal with our own problems and to realise that we are not alone and in fact give voice to very similar worries and issues. I guess most of us have a choice ultimately to escape or get out of a toxic situation, difficult or impossible though it may seem. I myself was in a so called toxic situation for years, more so than I ever imagined I could survive in one, looking back on it now. At the time (it was many years ago but not so many, I can forget), I didn't realise quite how toxic it was and I think that must have been the reason I stayed in it for so long (even though I wasn't happy). I also felt it my was my fault and that I could make it better. But no. The only solution for me was to extricate myself from it completely which I managed eventually. Someone had to help me get out of it though! I couldn't do it on my own.I am not sure if you are referring to anything similar to what I patchily describe but hopefully you may get some comfort from the fact that even I managed to escape! If I can, anyone can.

Daren Sun, Oct 27th 2013 @ 4:34pm

Reihold Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer hung in my kitchen as a child... for most of my life, I seemed to have simply remembered the words yet never realized its meaning until what seems most recently.

Les writes that "we are our own creators of stress" because we seek to control (change) things that are out of our control (or ability to change). Well written, Les!

And, well-written, Reihold:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

cranberryjade Sun, Oct 27th 2013 @ 5:28pm

@Julia: I agree with your comments about Moodscope being a platform for a type of community of people with similar worries and issues. So nice to read the discussion and various view points.

Julia Sun, Oct 27th 2013 @ 7:11pm

I like your website cranberryjade and this quote “Blessed are the Cracked for they shall let in the light…” Wonderful Groucho Marx! Thank you!

Lostinspace Mon, Oct 28th 2013 @ 1:37pm

I like your post today. I know nothing about Frankl but this serves to remind me about not being able to change others but I am able to change my reaction to the stuff in my life and none of it is as bad as being in a concentration camp! Thanks Julia.

tom smith Fri, Jan 31st 2014 @ 4:58am

what is the page number for that quote at the top?

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