Wednesday, 10 January, 2001

Your Happiness is Your Choice

In his book Man's Search for Meaning, Dr. Viktor Frankl writes "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."  Dr. Frankl wrote those words in 1945, after spending three years as a prisoner in Auschwitz and other concentration camps.  The book recounts many of Dr. Frankl's experiences as a prisoner, and introduces his psychological theory called logotherapy, the primary tenant of which is that "man's search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life, and not a 'secondary rationalization' of instinctual drives."  I'm not much on psychological theories, but his sure made a lot more sense to me than Freud's babblings.

I've known since adolescence that my happiness is my own choice and responsibility, but since I read Dr. Frankl's book (years ago), I take a much more active role in ensuring it.  My primary method is to look myself in the mirror every morning and say (quietly) "Today will be a good day," or "I will be happy today."  You'd be amazed at how effective that one exercise can be.  When things start to go sour and I start to become angry, I'll often stop and think of Dr. Frankl's words, and almost invariably decide that fueling the anger just isn't worth the effort.  I may feel sadness, anger, or depression, but I choose to be happy nonetheless.