When it comes to how to deal with trauma, Viktor Frankl is the man…. he was a psychiatrist in Germany in 1936 and he was Jewish- so he watched his parents , his wife and kids go off to one camp – a death camp as he later discovered – and he went to a horrendous labour camp where he saw the worst atrocities man can do to man. He somehow managed to still cling to hope and remain in faith in his belief in a loving God. He quotes Dostoevsky “..the question in life is not ‘what do we expect from life’ but ‘what does life expect from us’ and if this is suffering, then we do this with dignity and respect…”
“Everything can be taken from a man but …the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” p.104
“What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.” p.171
“We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by doing a deed; (2) by experiencing a value; and (3) by suffering.” p.176
“A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any “how.”
Above quotations reprinted from:
Frankl, Viktor E., Man’s Search for Meaning, Washington Square Press, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1963.