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Man’s Search for Meaning: Attorney DelSignore’s book recommendation to clients facing a adversity in their life

I read an amazing book this past weekend called Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. Many have already read this book, but if you read it in high school or a long time ago, it is worth a second read.  I want to share with you my thoughts about the book.

Who was Victor Frankl?  

Victor Frankl was a doctor, psychologist and neurologist who survived the Concentration Camps during the Second World War.  He wrote Man’s Search for Meaning to explain what he went though and detail what he learned about people during that experience and the meaning of life.  Man’s Search for Meaning is a book about his thoughts on the Meaning of Life and the development of his concept of Logotherapy where physical and mental health are determined by whether there is a purpose in our life.

Here are some of the most powerful passages from the book

Frankl finds that the prisoner who lost faith in the future—his future was doomed.  He who lost his belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and became subject to mental and physical decay.  Frankl’s future thought that motivated him was to find and reunite with his wife and to write and publish his book.  He wanted to survive to share with the world his study of humanity.

Favorite Passage of the book

He states this which I thought was the most beautiful passage in the book and reminds me of my daughter; I cried when I read it.

When the impossibility of replacing a person is realized, it allows the responsibility which man has for his existence and its continuance to appear in all its magnitude.  A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the why for his existence, and he will be able to bear almost any now.

This brought me to tears as I fear something happening to me, not so much because I would miss life, which I would, but because I realize how much I have to give my daughter and how it would be impossible to replace despite the fact she has a wonderful mother.

Frankl speaks about how would someone looking down at us would view how we are handing a situation.  If someone looks down at each of us during a difficult hour, a wife, a friend’s someone alive or dead, or God—he would not expect us to disappoint him.

He wrote that that human life under any circumstances, never cease to have meaning and that the infinite meaning of life includes suffering, dying.

He speak about the mental state of the prisoner who is survives and how painful it would be if the family he survived for was not there anymore.  But he says the crowning experience e of all homecoming is the feeling that man has nothing to fear anymore than God.

Can we think about Mental Health different in light of this book? 

I really liked the concepts of the book had toward mental health:  That it can be seen that mental health is based on a certain degree of tension between what one has already received and what one still ought to accomplish, or the gaps. Between what one is and what one should become.

I do not really think that we are unhealthy mentally until we accomplish a goal; if we enjoy the ride and believe in ourself, that it is inevitable, we will accomplish our goals just a matter of time we can be in good mental health while striving toward a goal; since we are always moving toward something, I think it is important to have good mental health along the way.

From my father, I have this unshaken belief that I can accomplish anything if I work hard; that has stuck in me and has been a core value.

He would always tell me to have pride in my work; I saw that in his actions. he bought a building that no one would have bought; it had rows of window and looked very old, but he saw that it could become something different.  It took him a long time to accomplish that goal; he worked every chance he could get a break from his plumbing business to work on it.  At the time, I was very young and would work with him.

It was a great example of how to build something. He always fear that the river next to the building would ruin the building.  That it would be a set back.  He sold the building, but I think he misses have that constant project to work on; now it’s the house.

Frankl reminds us that some stress and anxiety are good for us:  What man actually needs is not a tensionless state, but rather the striving and struggling for a worthywhile goal, a freely chosen task.  What he needs is not the discharge of any tension at any cost but the call of a potential waiting to be fulfilled by him.

Frankl states that the the more one forgives himself—by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love—the more human he is and the more is actualizes himself.

He defines love:  Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of personality.  No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him.  By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potentially in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized.  Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities.  By making him aware of what he can be and what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.

I liked how he put this; when I read it, I thought, yes I agree, I always referred to as being inspired by someone.

Frankl’s book diverts in the second part to his theory of Logotherapy.  He speaks of man’s purpose in life is not to avoid pleasure or pain but to find meaning in life.

I think this book is a great read for anyone, but for any client of mine going through addiction or a difficult time in their life it is essential.  We will add this to our books we give out to our clients in the hopes it changes someone’s life.  What gives meaning to my life is not just helping someone be found not guilty of a criminal charge, but what that can do for them in their life, give them a second chance, the ability to live up to their full potential in life.  That is why we work hard at the Law, cross examination and closing arguments because we help people to live up to their full potential and if we are doing our job right, we can share what we learn to impact our clients in a meaningful way beyond the verdict or outcome of their case.

To read more about Victor Frankl you can follow this link.  

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