Have you ever asked these questions?
- Is my life meaningful?
- Is there a purpose for what I’m going through?
- Is there something significant that I can learn from this?
These kinds of questions come from a place of searching for meaning and purpose in our lives. They come from the fundamental premise that there is in fact unconditional meaning for every moment and every circumstance that we experience. Just knowing that there is a reason for what I’m going through, even if I don’t know yet what it is, empowers me to transcend whatever it is that I’m going through. It gives me an anchor to hold onto as I brave through the storms of life.
Logotherapy is based on 3 fundamental principles:
- The freedom of will
- The will to meaning
- The meaning of life
The Freedom Of Will
One has free choice. One has the freedom to choose one’s attitude in any given situation. We have the will to decide what the meaning is and if in fact there is meaning. This is also where we self-determine who we will become. It is the knowledge that there is always freedom no matter how small it may be. The Nazi’s could torture Frankl, but they couldn’t take away his freedom to enjoy the beauty of a sunset. Sometimes if there seems like there’s no freedom of choice, we can always choose our attitude!
The Will To Meaning
One can focus on finding meaning. It is unique to each person. It is the human striving for a goal/purpose. One may be pulled by drives; however, one is drawn forward by a pursuit of meaning. We can discover meaning through interaction with others and introspection. The despair that a person feels when unable to find meaning is evidence that the will to meaning exists! The fact that he has an innate desire to find meaning verifies the existence of meaning in the human life. Every crisis is an opportunity to discover new elements of meaning in the challenge of the situation. We have the freedom to fulfill the meaning of our lives.
The Meaning Of Life
This means there is meaning contained within concrete experiences of daily life. Each person has a special purpose to fulfill in life. Each situation in life presents a problem for the person to solve. Life offers opportunities to find meaning in every situation. It is our task to uncover them. Happiness results from meaning-centered living.
So, What Does This All Mean For Me?
Exercise: After reading these inspiring ideas, write down what has meaning for you and how you can apply it to your life’s situation? After you’ve thought about it, you can use the following tool from Logotherapy called ‘Highlighting’. The idea of highlighting is that basically at the end of a day, and a week, and even a year to note down the highlights of your life. They are the accomplishments of your life, things that happen to you, things that you feel have caused you to grow and challenges that you’ve overcome
Keep a book and write down at the end of every day:
- One meaningful thing that happened today.
- One meaningful thing that I did today.
This can add to the quality of your life by looking out for these things and consciously writing them down. It gives meaning and purpose to your life. You will have guided by a Higher power and that you are significantly contributing and making a difference on this earth.
Let’s choose to notice all the meaningful occurrences that happen every day of our lives. And, let us choose to contribute meaningfully every day and make a difference in this world, each day of our lives!