You’re imprisoned unjustly. You’ve done nothing wrong. Your crime is that you’re of a different religion than your captors.
They hate you. But they don’t know you. You are scum in their eyes.
You are, in fact, a physician. You’ve completed medical school and a residency in neurology and psychiatry. Your work and studies in suicide prevention, in particular, have already gained international recognition.
You’re somebody, damn it — or you once were. But now you’re nobody special, just another prisoner with a number instead of a name.
Your father and mother and brother die in prison. Your wife dies in prison. They keep you alive only because you are strong and capable of working at slave labor and subsisting on thin soup.
You can’t fight back. They’ll kill you.
You can’t file a petition for justice. They are in total control of the country.
You can’t do anything at all on your own behalf (or so it would seem), and you watch prisoner after prisoner after prisoner give up hope.
Die. Just die. That’s all anyone can do.
That’s the true story of Viktor Frankl, survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau. He endured the horrors of the Nazi’s hatred for Jews until April 27th, 1945, when he was liberated by American soldiers.
Frankl learned more than how to survive under adverse conditions; he learned how to turn the nightmare into a vision. And he developed principles (logotherapy) to help others find meaning and purpose in life.
I read Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” as an undergraduate — years ago. Much of it, I will never forget. And I never want to forget.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
No matter where I am, what has happened to me, how dire my prospects look … I still hold the key to success. I’m in control of what I think about the situation and my reaction to it.
If you think you can or you think you can’t … you’re right.
Are you a prisoner of your own thoughts?
Is your attitude holding you back and keeping you in chains?
You hold the key.
Change your mind, and you change your life.
Suffering under the load? Find out more here: Why Try?
Originally published at medium.com