Frankl famously said that to live is to suffer, but to survive is to find meaning in the suffering.
The key word, of course, is find. Which suggests a significant amount of intellectual and existential work. Searching for aspects of our circumstances that we can view as gifts to be treasured. Forgiving reality for being what it is, but then cognitively reframing the story we tell ourselves about what that reality means.
That’s one of the reasons daily journaling is a deeply therapeutic practice. Because it forces you to explain your own life to yourself. It challenges you to acknowledge the meaning of experiences. And not for any outside reader, but for the clarity of your own understanding.
What’s more, if you’re daring enough to revisit those daily entries weeks or months or even years later, rereading them chronological order gives you a chance to study your own mind.
Nobody can deny the meaningfulness of that journey, nor can they take it away from you. No matter how horrible the suffering felt along the way.
I’m reminded of a comic book artist friend of mine, who once said that writing down the difficult moments of your history lets you own it. The events then belong to you rather than you belonging to them.
Remember, creativity is the most important human resource we have. Don’t blow it all at work. Pay yourself first. Aim some creativity at reframing your own experience.
Use situations as catalysts to grow and evolve, not to beat yourself up.
That way, you’re not suffering, you’re surviving.
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Which misfortune in one area of your life is waiting to enrich the rest of it?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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