All of us at some time or another fall prey to becoming victims of our own choices. We experience stress and if we unknowingly choose denial, blaming, or shaming, it can cause unnecessary suffering. While we all experience unpleasant circumstances in life, it’s helpful to remember what Victor Frankl, an Auschwitz survivor, said: “When faced with circumstances we cannot change, we are forced to change ourselves”. His famous book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” explains this in detail. He tells us that even in the worst of circumstances, one has choice and can choose one’s own attitude/context/ mindset.
Why this might be important to you
- You might think your level of stress is unavoidable – It is not.
- You may not understand the true cause of your stress.
- A permanent solution is better than a temporary fix.
The Source of our Stress
We all have unpleasant people and circumstances in our lives; however the true cause of our stress is what we tell ourselves about these circumstances and people. If we are into blame, shame, or denial and never own up to our accountability, our stress level can increase exponentially. It is up to us to determine how we respond. It does not have to be so painful.
What Victor Frankl taught me
- We can stop at any time and be present to what is (even at our worst moments). We can visualize what is possible and start the process of creating it.
- Sacrifice ceases to be sacrifice once meaning is attached to it.
- Having a clear mission and/or purpose and understanding why you are doing what you are doing can put meaning to literally anything.
- To get beyond judgement, one must enter the zone of acceptance. (Acceptance in this context is more eastern than western. It does not mean resignation, giving up or submission)
- All things belong. (Many deep thinkers have said this in different ways)
Here is a Model you might consider using
The conscious leadership model is a best practice tool which can support you in understanding, accepting and subsequently strengthening your operating ego (a Dr. Hal Stone term or what Jung called a healthy ego). It allows you to start the process of looking inside for answers vs outside for excuses and learning little by little the nature of your operating ego. Over time your ego can become your advocate vs your adversary. It takes some time to learn the model and practice it, however, once you finally start the process of understanding and accepting yourself, your level of stress can drop like a rock. This model is not a quick fix, or panacea, rather it can be a long-term structural solution that can enable you to understand the true source of your stress and assist you in creating the bliss you seek for your life.