Choosing to Believe

The way we look at the world determines how we relate to the world.

Logotherapy is no different from any other philosophical/psychological approach in this respect. The logotherapist looks at the world as unconditionally meaningful. Every life is meaningful and every moment of life is meaningful. This belief is going to strongly impact how we relate to life and to people.

How can a psychological theory be founded on belief. What if you don’t believe that life is unconditionally meaningful? There are two ways to answer this:

a) You should know that this is, in effect is the choice in front of you – to believe that life is meaningless, arbitrary and chaotic or to believe that life is meaningful and purposeful. There is no way to prove the truth of one way of seeing the world or the other. Therefore choosing to believe that life is meaningful is a commitment. Faith, not necessarily in a religious sense means having vision. It allows you to see what cannot be seen with the naked eye. We cannot see things that are intangible – such as the spiritual “essence” of a human being – yet we can believe these spiritual realities exist. Another reason why we cannot see a certain reality is because for now it only exists in a potential state, not a real state. Having the vision to be able to see potential in someone else or in yourself or in making something possible is a choice, and faith is about agreeing to do something and sticking to it because you believe in it.

Wanting to encourage another person you might say: Do you believe in your God-given gifts or don’t you? Do you say “I can’t do a cartwheel” because you’ve never done it before or do you say “I’ve never done a cartwheel but I can see myself doing it.”

b) The other way to answer the question is to say you do believe, deep down, that life is meaningful. You just don’t see it happening in your life right now and you’ve lost touch with your desire to seek out meaning. When motivation to find something to live for is deflated you sink into depression. You can’t live without having a reason to live.

Logotherapy aims to restore that reason to live, whether the person is suicidal, depressed or can’t find his place in the world, by helping the person to find how he can make potential meaning real and how he can get back in touch with his deepest motivation.

It’s a choice to believe that life is unconditionally meaningful. Deep down, you already know that it is.

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