Have you ever gone through weeks of feeling like you’re just spread too thin and have a million-and-one things to worry about? That’s how the last several months have felt for me. Although much of the stress may be considered positive stress, when you’re constantly being pulled in multiple directions it still feels the same, and it doesn’t feel good.
Last week I found myself drawn to a book that I first read in high school. Although I have read it several times over, it has been many years since I have done so. The book is called Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist and founder of logotherapy, a branch of existential psychotherapy that focuses on finding personal meaning in our lives. The book is a memoir of his experiences living in concentration camps during World War II. It includes life lessons learned from life in the camps, as well as a brief synopsis of logotherapy.
There are so many different books that I recommend to people. If I had to choose just one that I think every person should read at some point in their life, this would be the one I would choose.
Anyone having the least bit of knowledge about what occurred during World War II in the concentration camps, does not need to be warned that in this book they will read things that are simply horrifying. What is much more important though, is that they will read a story that is truly profound and absolutely inspiring. They will encounter and receive a gift from one of the most admirable men who have ever lived.
I do not recommend this book in the hopes that it will literally diminish your struggle in the sense that what you’re going through will likely pale in comparison. I don’t find that that approach is helpful to anyone. I recommend it because I know that his approach and attitude toward suffering and struggle adds a sense of dignity to it which renders it far more bearable. It will not put things in perspective for you relative to all of the suffering in history and present times, it will put things in perspective for you in terms of the meaning that they bring to your own history and personal journey through life.
I will leave you with a quote that Frankl cites in the book.
He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
Please read it and pass this on to your loved ones. I am sure it is a story you will never forget.