Man’s Search for Meaning

This is an except from “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl (part one “Experiences in a Concentration Camp”). It’s made a huge impact on me. That’s why I decided to share, maybe it will be “interesting” and useful to you.

God knows, I was not in the mood to give psychological explanations or to preach any sermons—to offer my comrades a kind of medical care of their souls. I was cold and hungry, irritable and tired, but I had to make the effort and use this unique opportunity. Encouragement was now more necessary than ever.
So I began by mentioning the most trivial of comforts first. I said that even in this Europe in the sixth winter of the Second World War, our situation was not the most terrible we could think of. I said that each of us had to ask himself what irreplaceable losses he had suffered up to then. I speculated that for most of them these losses had really been few. Whoever was still alive had reason for hope. Health, family, happiness, professional abilities, fortune, position in society—all these were things that could be achieved again or restored. After all, we still had all our bones intact. Whatever we had gone through could still be an asset to us in the future. And I quoted from Nietzsche: “Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich starker.” (That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.)
Then I spoke about the future. I said that to the impartial the future must seem hopeless. I agreed that each of us could guess for himself how small were his chances of survival. I told them that although there was still no typhus epidemic in the camp, I estimated my own chances at about one in twenty. But I also told them that, in spite of this, I had no intention of losing hope and giving up. For no man knew what the future would bring, much less the next hour. Even if we could not expect any sensational military events in the next few days, who knew better than we, with our experience of camps, how great chances sometimes opened up, quite suddenly, at least for the individual. For instance, one might be attached unexpectedly to a special group with exceptionally good working conditions—for this was the kind of thing which constituted the “luck” of the prisoner.
But I did not only talk of the future and the veil which was drawn over it. I also mentioned the past; all its joys, and how its light shone even in the present darkness. Again I quoted a poet—to avoid sounding like a preacher myself —who had written, “Was Du erlebst, kann keine Macht der Welt Dir rauben.” (What you have experienced, no power on earth can take from you.) Not only our experiences, but all we have done, whatever great thoughts we may have had, and all we have suffered, all this is not lost, though it is past; we have brought it into being. Having been is also a kind of being, and perhaps the surest kind.
Then I spoke of the many opportunities of giving life a meaning. I told my comrades (who lay motionless, although occasionally a sigh could be heard) that human life, under any circumstances, never ceases to have a meaning, and that this infinite meaning of life includes suffering and dying, privation and death. I asked the poor creatures who listened to me attentively in the darkness of the hut to face up to the seriousness of our position. They must not lose hope but should keep their courage in the certainty that the hopelessness of our struggle did not detract from its dignity and its meaning. I said that someone looks down on each of Experiences in a Concentration Camp 91 us in difficult hours—a friend, a wife, somebody alive or dead, or a God—and he would not expect us to disappoint him. He would hope to find us suffering proudly—not miserably—knowing how to die.
And finally I spoke of our sacrifice, which had meaning in every case. It was in the nature of this sacrifice that it should appear to be pointless in the normal world, the world of material success. But in reality our sacrifice did have a meaning. Those of us who had any religious faith, I said frankly, could understand without difficulty. I told them of a comrade who on his arrival in camp had tried to make a pact with Heaven that his suffering and death should save the human being he loved from a painful end. For this man, suffering and death were meaningful; his was a sacrifice of the deepest significance. He did not want to die for nothing. None of us wanted that.
The purpose of my words was to find a full meaning in our life, then and there, in that hut and in that practically hopeless situation. I saw that my efforts had been successful. When the electric bulb flared up again, I saw the miserable figures of my friends limping toward me to thank me with tears in their eyes.

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Dancing in the rain

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

I’m back. I missed you all and I’m glad I have possibility to write again!

If you remember I was going to risk a bit for a sake of moving to another country. I was going to move out from my apartment, take all my stuff and go to another town for taking my visa without even knowing if it’s issued. Next day I was going to have a flight. But as always you never can predict all possible ways. Invitation that I needed for applying for visa didn’t came in time, it was sent by overnight express, but instead of getting here in 2 days it took 6 days :). It traveled almost all Europe and by tracking system after delivering to my country even came back to the previous country. How many more signs do I need :)? So, I let go this opportunity and stay here for a while.

I moved to another town, that’s why I was absent for a while. Here I have much better work and life opportunities. And I’m happy that I finally move forward, I’m happy that I moved out from the apartment where I have so much memories connected to John and where I was stuck for a while. I still need to live with Andrew because of money issues, but as soon as I get new job and have stable income nobody can stop me :).

I have some things to learn why I’m still living with him though. Like how not to be upset when he is aggressive and negative. Some while ago in such kind of situations I would join him and become aggressive myself, now I learned how to recognize first impulse to switch to this wave. It’s an amazing feeling when you stop and understand that there is no sense for arguing, when you stop emotions and see everything clearly. When you are emotional you see that you are right, that somebody is offending you and you need to fight for it, but when your mind is clear you see someones pain, and when this person is screaming at you, you see that he/she is in pain. That this person is hurting… And you see that topic of arguing is usually empty, it’s all about something different, deeper. And sometimes you just want to hug this person and say that everything is going to be alright, that I hear you.

But my problem is that I’m getting upset in such kind of situations and I would like to learn how to handle it better. Because if somebody is choosing to be negative, to be aggressive, why should I let myself down. It’s my life and if I choose to be happy today, I can do it. Everything is irrelevant. My problems, almost all everyday problems are stupid. They don’t worth even mentioning. Because tomorrow they won’t matter at all, they are small and insignificant. I read “Experiences in a Concentration Camp” by Viktor Frankl yesterday. Everyone should read this book in my opinion. Comparing to what he describes my problem of not having a job and living with person I don’t really want to live with is so stupid. Really. I can change my life every moment, I have so many possibilities to do it and all I need is time. I’m healthy, smart, young and free. What do I need more?

I know that tomorrow I may think different for some time and maybe I’ll be upset over something stupid, but it is direction to move to, it is something I want to reach. It’s a process, I get that. My goal is to be happy without depending on external circumstances, to be happy just because I have new brand day every morning and I’m alive.

The sight of the stars makes me dream…

I mentioned before (https://whiteeecrow.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/finally/) that I was about to refuse one of offers for “moving abroad”. But when we started talking with employee, everything got sorted out and we decided to proceed. So, in two weeks I should be there. Of course there are a lot of difficulties, for example I need to move out from apartment and with all my baggage go to another town where I need to pick up my visa and till that moment I don’t even know if it is issued :). No way to do it differently. And next day I already have a flight… So, if something goes wrong, it leaves me in another town, with all my baggage and without apartment. But you know what? I don’t care. I decided that in case some problems appear, I will just stay in that town or move to another one, anyway I have no reason to come back here (I wasn’t going to live here for long time).  I’m considering it like a small adventure. There is no reason to worry, because it won’t help, but it can take away part of my life where I can be happy.

I’m glad that soon I will start new period of my life, though old one was full of useful experiences, it wasn’t easy time and it connected to John in my mind as it started with him and because of his presence in my life.

I couldn’t imagine half a year ago that I’ll be standing where I’m now and will be so calm about all uncertainty that waits me ahead. But we can’t control everything. And without it life would be probably boring.

p.s. I would appreciate if you send me some positive energy “for luck” :)

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” ~Vincent van Gogh

Midnight thoughts

I’m holding on to something that is not real. Why, should I ask myself. Obviously John is not the man I should pay attention to. Obviously he is not a Man. But when something happens in relationship both woman and man take a part. What was my role in that? What should I learn about myself? Maybe that I shouldn’t search for love in somebody. I should have it inside already. Deep love for life and myself. Of course I have it, but looks like not enough… All love that I need should be inside already?! Most likely. Then I can give it to others without expectations to get something back.

Just some thoughts inside my head after hard day. And I’m not drunk if you are wondering :).

He is gone

I understand that person that I loved doesn’t exist. I saw what I wanted to see in John. Of course not without his help, but still. On the other hand I understand that this person in my head was real for me. And i lost him, he is gone for good. So, no reason to hope that tomorrow I will get call or letter from him with words of eternal love and beg for forgiveness. I should stop feeling butterflies in my stomach when I get new letter or when my phone rings… I should stop subtracting one hour from my time when I check my watch (we have difference in one hour in GMT) and think what he is doing. Of course, I wouldn’t go for it again if  he would call, though some part of me still wants to get this call. But it’s impossible because I will never speak to this man that I loved once. He is gone!.. No way back.. Now I need to explain it to my heart…

One more goal

Mistakes are opportunities for learning. To condemn your brother for making mistakes is to pretend to be mistake free, which you are not. I have asked you before and I will ask you again: which one of you will throw the first stone?

You can release your brother from the judgment you would make of him within your own mind.  To release him is to love him, for it places him where love alone lies, beyond judgment of any kind. (Paul Ferrini)

I forgot to add very important goal to my list. The goal to forgive John for what he did. Actually this is very important one because without accomplishing  it I can’t really be in harmony with myself and surrounding.  Without it I can’t fully accept personal accountability for what I’m feeling. Everything I think, feel, say or do belongs to me. I am responsible for all of it (Paul Ferrini). Doesn’t matter what somebody does, I decide how I feel concerning it.  I don’t need to search for source of happiness in somebody, I won’t find it there. I can find it only inside. If we are incapable of finding peace in ourselves, it is pointless to search elsewhere.

Yes, I can’t get how he could go for his goal so long, be so sure about it, involve other people, make promises, plans, finally make promise to himself (!) never ever give up and then just feel like not doing it. I think I can’t ever understand it, but actually I don’t need to do it. I need to accept. I need to accept that he is different. He couldn’t do better because of his previous life experiences, dispositions, instincts etc. I never was in his shoes,  how can I know how was it for John?  It’s not wise try to understand him through my eyes, using my standpoints, my principles.

I need to forgive John for myself.  I respect myself too much to live with  offense, hate or any negative feeling to him.  I want to move forward without this heavy burden. It’s time to take responsibility for my own feelings and let others be responsible  for themselves.

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, when you are ready to stop hurting for what someone else did. . . .

Forgiveness means changing the attitude of disappointment by canceling the expectations and allowing an attitude of unconditional love to flow out to yourself and to the person who disappointed you. You can only release yourself or another from one expectation at a time. We do this by changing the expectations into preferences. The preference states how we would have liked things to be. Forgiveness is a decision not to punish ourselves anymore for the wrongs of others or our own wrong doing. It is a decision to re-enter into the flow of life and love. (Edith Stauffer)

Hope dies last…

They say hope dies last. It’s so true. Why do I still hope that I will get a call or letter with something like “I tried to live without you but it’s impossible. I can’t enjoy anything, I don’t live, I exist. Every minute you are not in my life I’m in pain. Please forgive me. I will prove you with my actions that I will never give up on us anymore. I need you like I need air. I can’t breathe. Please let me be around you… Please give me chance to make you happy. It’s all I want, it’s all I need from life… You are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life”.

My mind understands that it will never happen, but I can’t explain it to my heart.