In our day and age, Viktor Frankl’s teachings on resilience are more important and necessary than ever. The famous psychiatrist stated that he had to go through great mental exertion while in the concentration camp. He visualized himself in a not too distant future and imagined himself giving a lecture to a large audience on how to cope with and deal with the traumas of war.
This strategy worked very well for Frankl. Because it enabled him to find an inner refuge in which he could keep his hopes, dreams and also his psychological strength. He set that goal and made it an anchor to hold onto.
He was also trying to make sense of the inexplicable. His wish was that the horror and great suffering he had experienced should have a real meaning in life. He wanted to use it to teach other people how to cope with emotional pain.
Viktor Frankl’s teachings and his psychotherapy never went out of style. Even if he did not use the term resilience as such (although he did use the word resistance), we can still use his teachings as a basis to better understand this concept. And that is exactly what we want to deal with in more detail now.
Viktor Frankl’s teachings on resilience, a legacy for reflection
The concept of resilience has its origins in the world of physics and technology. It is the property that certain materials have when they return to their original state after an impact or other external impact (for example, the elasticity of a rubber band). Psychology later picked up this term and since the 1940s resilience has also been used as a term in this field.
Norman Garmezy, now Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, was one of the first to use this metaphor, which originally described a real physical phenomenon.
While researching schizophrenia, he discovered something remarkable. The children of patients with this disorder usually did not inherit the condition. In fact, instead, they tended to be very resilient, competent, and resilient personalities.
The experiences they had in their parents’ home enabled them to develop what Garmezy called “resilient personalities”. In a similar context and around the same time, Maurice Vanderpol, the former president of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, observed that many survivors of the German concentration camps also displayed these characteristics. Indeed, Viktor Frankl was such an example.
The type of therapy that Frankl developed and used on his patients pursued precisely this goal. She helped people find new meaning in their lives and develop a more resilient personality. Thanks to this resilience, these people can then find real meaning in their lives again and move forward. Because this is the key to everything.
Accept the reality
It is always good to study Viktor Frankl’s teachings on resilience. As you read his books and the records of his lectures, you will discover that there is something very crucial that you should absolutely do. Accept the reality that you live in. In most cases, you cannot control or influence the things that happen to you. Because the adversities of life often have a chaotic component that can often overwhelm you.
In this context, your only option is to accept reality. There is little point in scrutinizing why something happened. Instead, focus on the how and what . How can I meet this challenge? What is its purpose? What can I learn from this experience? How can I react to that?
Find your own purpose
Viktor Frankl said that life in the concentration camp was often simply a question of whether to swap a cigarette for a bowl of soup or to kill the supervisor you would be dealing with that day or the next.
In the midst of this environment, in which fear was omnipresent and which was characterized by constant senselessness and endless horror, he decided to look for a kind of survival mechanism.
He wanted to find meaning in everything he saw, felt and had to suffer. So he told himself that he could learn something every day that he could then use the following day to help others cope with this trauma. That was exactly his goal and what helped him survive all of this.
This can also be a strategy for you to use in the face of all the difficulties that you must overcome. Get clear about your goals and fight for them. Because, as Frankl himself explained, “ As soon as a person is successful in their search for meaning, it not only makes them happy, but it also enables them to cope with suffering. ”
Viktor Frankl’s Teachings on Resilience: Attitude and Transformation
According to Frankl, your attitude towards life and your own difficulties determines your ability to cope with almost anything. In addition, it is up to you to adopt the correct posture and not give up. It is up to you to maintain hope and believe that your past does not necessarily dictate your future.
It is precisely this attitude and the ability to transform yourself and deal with adversity is part of the legacy that Viktor Frankl left us in his teachings on resilience. As he explained, it is not the context or the circumstances that determine how you will cope with something, but rather your decisions and thoughts.
Hence, you should make sure that you are aware of them. Keep these ideas in your head and try to apply the teachings of the founder of logotherapy to your life as much as possible.