Viktor Frank said, ““Freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.” He indicated the distance between what one is, and what one should be be, affirming that man is responsable of finding the potential meaning of life.

Having the option of leaving legitimately from the Nazi Vienna at the beginning of the Second World War, Frankl chose to stay to care for his elderly parents, and then he was taken as prisioner of war for several years. In his book, Man in Search of Meaning, he writes that suffering is not necessary to find meaning, but that “meaning is posible in spite of the suffering.”

When he was released from the concentration camp in 1945, he discovered he was left alone. His parents, brother and pregnant wife had died in the camps. Nevertheless, Frank decided to remain in Vienna while many others like him emigrated to other countries. Even so, he insisted that hope and positive energy can turn the challenges into triumphs.

Frankl’s wisdom, as a psiquiatrist, was that a positive attitude towards life, in challenges and opportunities, is what allows a person to withstand suffering and disappointment, as also raise enjoyment and satisfaction. He explained that a negative attitude intensifies the pain, and deepens the disappointments. He said that the human decisiones must be more active tan passive.

These two statues need to stand in our lives, the freedom of deciding, and the freedom to act… responsibly.

What decisions will you make today? Will you chose an attitude of hope and strength in spite of your difficulties? Viktor Frank clearly lived his own story applying his own words, leaving us a legacy of hope and meaning.

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