Finding New Meaning

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.

– Friedrich Nietzsche

How Do We Go On In The Aftermath Of Pain And Traumatic Loss?

The answer offered by well-known author and Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl is consistent with positive psychology, definitions of post-traumatic growth and the nature of the human spirit to hope.

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He suggests that we find new meaning in life, something that he recognizes as difficult in face of the tragic aspects of life–pain, guilt and death.

Frankl suggests that it is not a search for happiness, but for a reason to be happy despite suffering.

In his wisdom, Frankl clarified that finding a new meaning in life does not mean arriving at a single goal that will direct the rest of your life, or make sense of evil. Rather finding new meaning in life should be translated to finding a reason to go on, to having a purpose, to feeling valuable in the hour, the day, the week.

There is considerable power found in re-framing suffering into meaningful action. Be it walking for a cure, helping others with similar illness or turning suffering into human achievement. 

Often our ability to find meaning after traumatic events is thwarted by feelings of guilt, shame or blame. “ Why should I live a happy life – if my child is not here to enjoy it?”

Guilt, shame and blame are common to the aftermath of trauma because they are defenses against feeling helpless in the face of life’s unfair and inexplicable events – We would rather blame ourselves than accept that we don’t have complete control of these lives we live.

You may want to consider that to stay frozen in grief, to define your life in terms of the loss of a child, sibling, spouse or buddy actually impairs your capacity to hold on to the best of them.

If the new meaning you give to life is to live well in their name or to reach out to help others in their honor, you carry them with love into your future.

Read the entire article here: Finding New Meaning In Life After Trauma: Three Guidelines, by Suzanne Phillips  PSY.D., ABPP

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2 thoughts on “Finding New Meaning

  1. Suzanne

    Thank you for using ” Finding New Meaning in Your Life After Trauma” on your very important and lovely site. It is a gift to even consider that others could resonate and benefit from what you say – Best Regards, Suzanne

    Reply

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