When relationship turmoil or loss consumes your every waking moment, it is important to have a strategy for survival. If you can’t do anything to improve the relationship, or to bring back what’s been loss, you are left with limited choices.
But choices, none the less. And choices mean power.
If you have been in my sessions before, you will know I refer to Viktor Frankl often. He was a Jewish Psychiatrist and Neurologist held in Nazi concentration camps for years before being released and moving to America. After his rescue, he wrote a powerful little book about his experiences and theory called, “Man’s Search for Meaning.”
In his three years in the camps, he discovered the difference between those prisoners who took hold of their power of choice, and those prisoners who did not. Although all prisoners had lost family, wealth, profession, and every human dignity, Frankl discovered there was one thing each prisoner still maintained, and that was their choice of response. He writes,
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Isn’t that an interesting concept? That when all is stripped away, we still possess power for growth and freedom… within ourselves?
He also wrote,
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They have have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms- to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
As you are faced with challenging situations, and what feels like hopeless circumstances, you still possess your most powerful asset, and that is your power of choice. You can still chose how to respond to the bad that is happening to you. You may feel like you are powerless in your situation, but you’re not. You must exert a different kind of power than you’re used to. As you harness the power of your attitude, personal choice and response, you will experience true growth and freedom, from the inside out. From those small choices, you will change your environment and you will see new opportunity.
The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me.
There is purpose in your suffering, and you will find it along the way as you chose your attitude, your responses, and your growth. No one may truly know the depth of your suffering and your loss, but I believe that God is in those small choices, and you will find your strength again. The stronger you become, through each small response, the clearer you will see your options for freedom, love and life.