Turning weaknesses into strengths

What has been so exciting about the supervision of our students is first of all seeing them emerge. The principles of logotherapy have become integrated for them so that it flows naturally into their work with clients and also into their personal lives. I think that every one of them can say they have stepped more fully into their own skin. I know I feel that way.

In addition to this I’m getting the secondary benefit of deeper insight and integration for myself from their growth.

I am brought to the evidence before my eyes of a person’s life and the connections between past and present, between what life brings them and what longings their soul was gifted with.

One of the connections between past and present is the topic of suffering. Logotherapy looks for the meaning in the suffering, not in suffering itself but in what the person becomes, what achievement the suffering has evoked in them.

In childhood there are circumstances beyond the person’s control yet there was something inside that was very much alive, as stifled as it was, as helpless as they felt, that said “I don’t want to stand for this. This is wrong.”

This is the meaning of suffering. It evokes this defiant attitude in you and you become a different person because of it. You have insights and sensitivities that others don’t have.The situation was placed in your path so that you will contradict it and overcome it.

When you meet it with obedience to your mission and your tasks in life then it can be said that you are finding meaning. When you do not fight what is not in your control and do not run away from it but instead respond to the commitment that wells up inside and take a firm stand against what is wrong, this is when the achievement comes.

And then it makes sense that you want to do the things you want to do right now, because this is your way of choosing life. Now you know very clearly what it is that you don’t want and what it is that you were looking for all along. The “what you are looking for” is not the same for everyone. Even for two people who have seemingly suffered the same fate, the uniqueness that emerges is completely unique. You can look back and see that in your search for what your soul wanted you had to say “no” to something before you could say “yes” to something else.

Come to think of it, this is probably why I am so absorbed in the concept of a collective mind, the need to include others in conversation and so forth. I was very shy when I was small and I suffered terribly because of it. No one ever helped bring me out. All they did was say “Why are you so quiet?” and I didn’t know how to answer that question. I suppose they felt uncomfortable.

Now I can look back and see that I felt something was wrong and in retrospect it has given me the sensitivity to include others, not allow them to feel “outside.” It is my way of contradicting and overcoming my isolation and finding my voice. I was longing for connection all along, not just connection that would take away my alone-ness but connection that would bring out the good in everyone. I wanted to create togetherness, synthesis, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

As long as you feel like a victim and feel sorry for yourself you can’t be in touch with what your soul wants.

An example of an insight made by one of our students was that for something to be considered meaningful it has to bring a deep inner sense of joy and connection. Maybe something seems to be meaningful. It’s a universal value. It’s a good thing. It’s not a bad thing. But is this really for you to do? Is it life giving? Is it your response-ability? Is this your soul’s passion?

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