I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Victor Frankl, but he is the founder of Logotherapy. You’re probably thinking, huh? Let me explain, Logotherapy is a type of Existential Analysis. Basically, it’s a type of therapy that focuses on will to meaning, as opposed to Freud’s method focuses on will to pleasure.
One of the many books I’m reading (I have 7 on the go right now) is one by Victor Frankl called “Man’s Search for Meaning.” This book chronicles his experiences as an inmate in a concentration camp, and talks about how he survived – trying to find meaning in all forms of existence, even the most horrific ones. Frankl was quoted saying “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ” He certainly didn’t have control of his situation is Auschwitz, but he did have control of his mind, so he challenged himself to do something about the way he was going to survive.
I totally agree with his statement, because we are always trying to change external factors first, rather than looking in. Even though they may seem very difficult at the time, we still do it, and why? Because is scares the poop out of us to have to face our inner selves and find what is making us unhappy, or to see what no longer works and that we have to change.
The interesting question is, why does it scare us?
It’s because we’re comfortable the way we are, despite the crappiness we’re surrounded with. Change causes feelings in us that are uncomfortable. It creates uncertainty and forces us to be resilient and tough, especially when we don’t want to be, when we want someone else to fix things for us. I think I do ok with change. I’ve certainly had to learn to adapt to it, or else I would have been flattened out a long time ago (though I get knocked down quite a bit every once in a while). I really don’t like it, in fact, I downright despise it at time, but I have no choice but to go along with it. I can certainly tell when things are about to change in my life (even though it seems like as if it’s been non-stop for the last ten years). I have noticed that things begin to be a bit confusing, and my stress levels start to increase. Then the broken sleep comes followed by anxiety, a poor outlook on life, and loneliness. I know that I’m deep in the middle of change when I become emotional and feel like crying all the time. And then for a while I feel as if I’m walking around in a daze. When things finally slow down, become calm, I can then tell it’s better.
Change has taken place.
“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” ~Anatole France
What an interesting concept, that change taking place in your life is like closing a chapter in order to open a new one. We are constantly dying and being reborn. So essentially, this means that despite things being crappy, there is always a good in change, because we are starting a new life and we can choose as to what we want to do with it. Change is life giving. Wow. Hear that? Change is life.
But you cannot have change take place without choice. They are married (perhaps that’s not a good analogy right now). They go hand in hand. You need to make a choice first, what are you going to do with your life, in this situation, etc. And from there that’s when change steps in and takes over and forces things to happen. And then, you have the choice on how you want to view the change. Are you going to see change as good or bad?
Like Frankl, I decided that I cannot change external factors, but I could do something with the way I am living. The divorce is costing my ex and I more money than I would like, which should be going to our daughter. And there is a lot of unnecessary conflict between the both of us. We are both in the midst of a lot of changes in our lives. At one point, I was down, wondering how I’m going to get out of the debt that I’m in, how am I going to live the life that I want and will I ever be happy. I was thought to myself that once the divorce is over, then things will get better and I can begin living again, and providing a great life for my daughter. But I stopped myself. I don’t have to wait, I could do it now. Like Frankl, why must a terrible situation diminish my life? There is meaning in this. It’s my choice as to how I want to view this situation.
And so I started to shift in my thought patterns. I started looking at the different life-giving opportunities. I can have an enriched life, and I have to go after it myself. Now. I can do whatever I want, be whoever I be. I have to make the choices, identify what I want and allow the change to take place. It’s hard, really hard, and at times I think that I could have made a mistake, but even then I’m making a choice and the change which would take place will follow accordingly. So I decided to enrich our lives, and I’m now having friends enter my life who are colourful and full of life experiences. They expose us to things that I never would have been exposed to before – art, politics, music, cultural events etc. My daughter and I are becoming more aware, more alive. I’m writing again, and I love it! So as you can see, I’m still involved in the crappy divorce thing but the changes are taking place, all based on the choices I made. Trust me, I could have easily locked myself up in my house, and the life I would then be living would be a dark, lonely one, but who wants that.
As Flora Whittemore accurately said: “The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live. “