“Suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.”
~Victor Frankl, “Man’s Search for Meaning“
We have all heard the phrase, “what does not kill me makes me stronger.” Let’s face it, some of us have had some pretty bad things happen in our lives…terrifying, heart-wrenching things. Things we do not want to think about let alone talk about.
No matter what has happened to you, the past cannot be changed. The event is there and cannot be erased. But…there is one thing that CAN change – your perspective. Victor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning describes his life in a Nazi concentration camp. What he noticed was the prisoners (who were all undergoing the same treatment) that found meaning in their lives, or something to live for, continued to live.
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that 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.”
You and I could experience the same exact circumstance but what will be different is how we each embrace, interpret, value, symbolize and respond to it. How we respond, is a matter of personal choice. We were given free will – the ability to choose – in order to experience a balanced life and to grow as a human being. Growth occurs through our greatest challenges…those are our greatest moments and the exact moments we came here for. Yes, we embrace the experiences that bring us joy, such as the embrace of a loved one, but the very thing that allows us to appreciate that moment is our past challenges that we overcame…the exact circumstances that made us who we are today.
Take an inventory of those things in your life you now call challenges and evaluate how you are choosing to look at that challenge. What meaning are you giving it? What can you do to feel better right now? What did you learn from the challenge? What would you do different if that same challenge was presented to you again in a different form?
Use your challenges as life lessons that build you up rather than tear you down. In order for your life to change, YOU have to change. Nothing changes if nothing changes.
Until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing, you will stay the same.
Lots of love to you this Valentine’s Day,
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and Google+.