Book Review: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

By Bennet Owuonda, CHIEF

“The search for meaning in suffering can result in a stronger mind”

We are confronted with unpleasant moments in our lives daily, or, for some, like the prisoners of Auschwitz, we live a life of suffering.

How we react to these circumstances is entirely up to us.

No matter how dire, a situation cannot change who you are and will be, so you must seek the meaning of this life yourself and make peace with it now.

Envision a future for yourself beyond suffering. A life devoid of meaning or desire for a future will make you burn out soon.

The inmates of concentration camps were subjected to the worst conditions possible. Some made it out with their souls and minds intact and remained good people because instead of letting the situation define their lives, they sought meaning and answers to the questions life gave them.

We cannot exist without meaning, and we’ll spend our lives searching for it. It is important that we don’t get trapped in the cycle of distress associated with the existential crisis we face.

The trick is to realize that there is no fixed meaning to life. So, you should create this meaning for yourself; you are the captain of your ship.

Don’t perceive suffering as an unnecessary part of life because pain helps us grow. However, aggravating events test our personalities since we face the choice — to stay kind or do bad things to avenge the circumstances.

Remember that we always have the freedom to choose how to behave.”

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

“Tragedies are normal parts of life, and we will all have our fair share of them. But we can learn to respond in positive ways, like practising tragic optimism. When faced with challenging and painful life situations, tragic optimism is all about finding hope and meaning. Another related strategy for surviving pain is holding on to your closest and most meaningful relationships.”