“Once, an elderly general practitioner consulted me because of his severe depression. He could not overcome the loss of his wife who had died two years before and whom he had loved above all else. Now how could I help him? What should I tell him? I refrained from telling him anything, but instead confronted him with a question, “What would have happened, Doctor, if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive without you?:” “Oh,” he said, “for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered!” Whereupon I replied, “You see, Doctor, such a suffering has been spared her, and it is you who have spared her this suffering; but now, you have to pay for it by surviving and mourning her.”…
And me – “What if I die? What will my family do? Could they possibly live with the burden?” – Like some of you, this thought had crossed my mind at least once in my lifetime. But never have I thought of it in that kind of situation, which I have dealt with before.
Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist, holocaust survivor and originator of Logotherapy, explains in his book about his method of therapy which helped 30,000 out of 30,000 suicidal patients (first time in history) out of depression. Logotherapy is based on the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one’s life that is the main and most powerful motivating and driving force in humans.
Here’s my theory: Many things can be your sources of meaning in life, but at least one of them needs to be under your control.
What is under your control cannot be taken away from you, ever, and it is something you can achieve under any circumstances; success, self-fulfillment and helping others are things you can achieve not instantly, but wherever and whenever. Think about a man without a family, relationship, fortune or assets – could he or could he not help others?
One if not the primary meanings of the Doctor’s life was his life partner, that had passed away. But what Frankl gave him – the understanding of the better consequences, that he’s taking the suffering of loneliness and yearning for her, is something that will forever stay.
I hope this post inspires you to think about things, people or goald that are meaningful and makes you happy. These are my sources of meaning in life:
- Helping others
- My loving family
- Inspiring others
Following that, there are some meaningful things I would like to achieve:
- To leave a legacy
- Creating a school of thought
- Being able to share that school of thought with people who deserve it
- Help people to join the bright side – from depression to happiness, and teach my method to as many people as possible.
Ask yourself – “What are MY sources of meaning in life? What are the meaningful things I would like to achieve?”
Please share with me your thoughts and, we could talk about it, maybe? 🙂
“…He said no word but shook my hand and calmly left the office.”