psychological-consulting.com by Karl PEYTON
In a world sometimes in chaos, we are forced to find meaning in life. Doing so is the key to mental health and one of the bases of the therapy created at the time by Viktor Frankl.
Living with meaning is not guiding our existence to seek happiness. It is finding a purpose and dedicating ourselves to it. It is, above all, feeling good about who we are, what we have and what surrounds us; no more no less. However, in our day-to-day life, it is difficult to focus the mind, the heart and the gaze towards that existential goal, because what we often find is clear nonsense.
The rumor of stress, the pressure of anxiety saturating us with worries and negativities, the shadow of uncertainty… How to find meaning in life when only those realities inhabit us? It is complicated, it is true. Now, as the psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said, the meaning of life is nothing more than the art of knowing how to live in oneself.
This is undoubtedly the true key and the true secret of psychological well-being: working on our inner harmony and balance. Something like this necessarily involves developing and achieving good self-knowledge and applying much of the basic assumptions of Viktor Frankl's logotherapy .
We delve into them.
Logotherapy: learning to live meaningfully
On average, people only reflect on the meaning of life when adversity embraces us. It is at that moment that the classic questions of " why has this happened to me and what is the point of everything?" Arise in the mind . Few acts have as much significance for the human being as finding those meanings even when everything goes wrong and fate hits us hard.
The Stoics, the philosophical school founded by Zeno of Cita in 301 BC. C, indicated to us that happiness lay in accepting things as they come to us. But let's face it… how to do it? We like the idea, it sounds good, but it is not always so easy to accept what happens to us willingly. That is why it is so common to resist, get angry and suffer for what has been lost or happened.
Irvin David Yalom, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University explains that learning to live meaningfully is something we achieve over time. It is as if at a given moment, people take that needed step towards internal introspection and then connect with their own needs to ask ourselves what is truly relevant to us.Sooner or later, we become aware that life is not a problem to solve but a mystery to accept.
What is living with meaning?
One of the figures who most tackled the concept of living with meaning was Viktor Frankl. So much so that he conceived it as the pillar on which he based his therapeutic approach: logotherapy.
According to the Viennese psychiatrist, the desire to find an existential meaning is a need that almost all of us feel at some point and the simple fact of doing so, of clarifying it, helps us in difficult moments.
- To begin with, something that we must understand is that each person traces their own meaning of life. It is unique and particular to each one of us. Also, it changes over time. Depending on our own circumstances and the objectives that we set for ourselves, that internal sense will vary in one way or another.
- Likewise, this search is a motivating force for the human being. Every time we ask ourselves "what is the most important thing to me at this moment?", "What makes sense to me?" we mobilize our attention to our authentic self to explore it. We are therefore facing an exercise in self - knowledge.
Living with meaning also forces us to value our past and present experience. It is to find a harmony between what has always been important to us (our values) and what we ask of life (our illusions).
This exercise mediates psychological health because when we clarify this dimension, we find a reason for being, a reason to get up every day, something to believe in, to fight for and be excited about.
Logotherapy, the legacy of Viktor Frankl
We know Viktor Frankl basically for two things: for having survived two concentration camps during World War II and for his famous book Man's Search for Meaning. Now, we must remember that he was a remarkable professor of psychiatry, who wrote more than 30 books and gave about 210 lectures in almost all the universities in the world.
Among his most remarkable legacy, there is undoubtedly logotherapy, a therapy that was integrated into the third Viennese school of therapy after Freud's psychoanalysis. The driving force behind this psychological approach is to enable people to live meaningfully.
This is how he guided his patients to achieve that goal.
You have a body, a mind and a "soul"
Viktor Frankl's therapy was not based on theology, that is, it was not religious. The concept of soul was a metaphor to refer to the true essence of the person. According to him, each of us has a body, a mind and a soul that contains our history, that inner corner where our voice, our values and our personality are. One of our purposes would be to harmonize these three dimensions.
Everything you live, be it good or bad, has some sense
Each experience we go through has a meaning and we must identify it. Happiness, uncertainty, adversity, days of calm, passion, fear ... Each moment contains its own meaning that we must clarify.
You are free to reorient your life according to your own meanings.
Sometimes circumstances make us captives of certain realities. It is true. An abandonment, for example, leaves us in solitude, the loss of work in a vital moment of difficulty and uncertainty. In the midst of these circumstances, each one of us is free to take the path we want, starting from our own vital meanings. Only then will we achieve well-being.
Living meaningfully is committing to ourselves by following what defines us, which gives us encouragement even in moments of darkness. Day to day is already chaotic enough to get away from our essences, from that soul that Viktor Frankl spoke about. Let's keep it in mind.
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