There was a woman who was tired of taking care of his crippled son who was suffering from the effects of infantile paralysis. She had to be with his son 24/7 and moved him up on a wheelchair. Years before, she had lost her another son at the age of eleven years and was finding it hard to cope up with life.
She then decided to attempt suicide with his crippled son. The day when she was taking her son for suicide, he stopped her and said, “I don’t want to die, I’m happy with my life.”
The mother was surprised to hear this from her son.
She was thirty and had easily given up on her life. But for her son, his life was meaningful even on a wheelchair.
When the doctor asked her the reason for suicide, she said that she always wanted to have children but when one of his sons died and other become crippled she lost all her hopes and find no meaning in her life.
But when her son prevented her from suicide, she was happy because she had raised a son who’s a better human being. Although he’s crippled and helpless but she was happy that she has made a fuller life possible for him out of the challenges. She quoted, “I’m not a failure and now I have some peace in my mind.”
While she was saying all this, she started getting the meaning of her life. This meaning was her son whom she wants to help more to live. She also realized that her another son who died early had lived a life full of joy and she has somewhere served the purpose of her life.
The doctor then introduced to her another woman, who married a millionaire and enjoyed a life full of worldly riches. She flirted with men and live her heart out but now when she turned eighty, she started cursing her childless life and wished to live it again. According to her, her life was a complete failure without any meaning.
That’s one great lesson from the book, Man’s search for meaning. If you have a purpose to live, you can prevent suicidal thoughts and no matter how tough life will become, you’ll still live for that purpose. That reason can be your parents, wives, children or even your business but when know your why, even your suffering will have a meaning.
In this book, the author Viktor Frankl spent three years as a prisoner in Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps. The torture on him and his fellows were unbearable. The life was so harsh in the camps that some prisoners found the escape in suicide but those who survived were the ones with great hopes, who had a purpose in their lives, who want to meet their loved ones and live for them.
There was another prisoner in the camp who was surviving the tortures because he know at this date in future he will be released. But when the date extended and he found no way out, he lost all his hopes and gave up on his life.
Life is a test for all of us and there’s a meaning in our suffering. If you find that meaning, the sufferings will become easier for you and if you don’t then no one can prevent suicidal thoughts from you.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
This book is a very enlightening piece from Viktor E Frankl which is based on real-life challenges and the lessons he learned from his imprisonment.
“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
The second part of his book is based on logotherapy in which logo means (meaning) so through logotherapy Frank help people realize their meaning in life and the ways to survive in the suffering.
According to logotherapy, you can find the meaning of life in three distinct ways:
- By doing something you love
- By experiencing something or meeting with someone
- By the attitude you choose in the times of suffering
An example is the story of elderly man who visited Frankl because he wanted to die and find no meaning in his life. So, Frankl condoles him by saying that if you have died instead of your wife, then she would have lived the rest of her life in deep sorrow. You saved her from that phase.
When you read the book, you’ll find more stories of endurance, pain, love and hope which will lead to finding the importance of having a purpose in life. It’s a life-changing book. If you’re finding it hard to live your life then I must recommend you to read and re-read it.