This title forms the basis of Logotherapy, Viktor Frankl’s body of work. “Logotherapy” means to find meaning in whatever we experience, no matter how painful. According to him suffering is a call to grow and refine ourselves as human beings. This is a statement that will possibly be challenged by many but in my personal life, it has certainly been true. In the long run, every traumatic experience was a small stepping stone towards a better understanding of life and a little bit more refinement as a human being.
The meaning behind unavoidable suffering is not immediately evident. We all need to go through a period of grieving and acceptance. Only then will we be able to do the following exercise designed by Dr. Teria Shantall, the founder of the Viktor Frankl Institute in South Africa. She calls it learning not to feel like a victim of fate:
Think about a situation which you have experienced as painful, tragic or meaningless, a situation you could do very little about, like some blow of fate. Give it a heading in your journal and underneath the heading write down your answers to the following questions:
What have I learned from this?
Has it given me new tasks and challenges?
Has it made me a stronger, more perceptive person?
Can I use to help others in similar situations?
Can the way I endure my situation serve as an example to others?
Does this experience make me appreciate things I have taken for granted?