The Search for Meaning
By June Stepansky
I recently read an article about Viktor Frankl 1905-1997 the Austrian psychiatrist and best selling author of the “Man’s Search for Meaning.” He was an Auschwitz survivor who wrote this book after the war in 1946 to set down his ideas about the important subject of finding meaning in our lives. He meant to write it anonymously but at the last moment decided to put his name on it and it became the best seller of the year and for many years after. He concluded that a great many people were hungry for more meaning in their lives. He set down a simple formula—three rules that he felt could be important for improving many lives.
1.Find meaningful work or interests,
2.Put love in your life
3 Have courage to face life’s challenges
With so many wise people with expertise and insight like Viktor Frankl to show us a path toward a better life, why is it still so hard for so many of us to find our way to this more meaningful life? The simple answer to this difficult question is that even just following these three simple directions is really very hard.
The quest to find meaningful work or interests might take many years. We first have to know ourselves well enough to know what is meaningful to us and then to figure out how to find that and fit it into our lives.
If we are looking to get love we might spend many years searching and coming up empty. It takes two people to be in love. We can’t find it alone. If we are looking to give love that becomes easier to achieve. Many people are in need of understanding and affection and are there for us to help and respect and care about.
The third path the Viktor Frankl shows us is being brave in the face of life’s challenges. We need to learn the skills of strength and endurance in the face of the sometimes bitter challenges in our lives which face all human beings. That again is really enormously hard. Viktor Frankl survived his challenges at Auschwitz and wrote his best selling book on living a meaningful life after his most life-challenging ordeal.
Although the search for meaning is not easy, I hope those who decide to embark on this life-changing adventure will be strong and very patient because at the end of their search, they will find a life of joy and meaning well worth their effort.
June Stepansky is a published writer and poet who writes books and articles about happiness, self-improvement and social and political issues. Her poetry has been published in the literary magazine Vol No 21 Childhood and in Vol No 22. Poems that Need to be Explained.
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