In his book Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl mentions that suffering is a given -it is part of life for everyone. Every person on earth will go through suffering sometime or another. It doesn't matter whether the suffering seems trivial or mammoth in size – suffering is and remains suffering.
What really stood out for me while reading this book was the portrayal that no nightmare could be worse than the reality, they as prisoners were experiencing. Sufferings such as Typhus, blisters, hunger, swollen feet, yearning for freedom, loneliness, rejection, severe abuse and the list goes on. But the biggest and most difficult challenge personally for Viktor Frankl was the complete indignation, disrespect, and insult given to him as he suffered blows. Quoting his words: "At such a moment it is not the physical pain which hurts the most; it is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all …The most painful part of beatings is the insult which they imply".
People can really hurt us. They can say and do things that are so cruel that we find it difficult to even begin fathom why. An unasked for and degrading cruelty from people we love, people we thought were our friends, or even complete strangers. Cruelty leaves deep scars – emotional or physical.
But Victor Frankl provides us with some insight regarding how he developed resilience and grit to keep on despite his grim circumstances:
Love – "The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which a man can aspire."
Nature - "We were carried away by nature's beauty, which we had missed for so long."
Light - "At that moment a light was lit in a distant farmhouse, which stood on the horizon as if painted there, in the midst of the miserable grey of a dawning morning in Bavaria. "Et lux in tenebris lucet"—and the light shineth in the darkness."
Humor – "Humor was another of the soul's weapons in the fight for self-preservation. It is well known that humor, more than anything else in the human make-up, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds."
When suffering controls you every second, you have chosen to make suffering your Master. You and you alone can decide how to handle the suffering you are experiencing.
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