An integral part of the healing journey is to make meaning of the adversities we have faced. By making meaning we are able to find a sense of agency over situations that were frequently outside of our control.
Dr. Viktor Frankl’s seminal book titled, Man’s Search for Meaning, is a text that brings this important concept to light framed by the resilience and struggles of Holocaust survivors.
In this important text, Frankl shares how he made meaning as a form of sheer survival during one of the darkest experiences of humanity, the Holocaust, and how he then went on to help others overcome adverse life experiences though the development of Logotherapy. The underpinning of Logotherapy is the belief that human beings are heavily motivated and driven to find meaning in one’s life.
Our drive to find meaning can be funneled toward the goal of healing by creating meanings that help empower us and give us purpose. As social constructionists know, language is a powerful tool. It is how we create reality. Becoming an individual who frames life’s adversities from a solution-focused perspective (i.e., solution-focused language) is an important skill to develop. Solution-focused language can help us frame adversities as opportunities to develop feelings of empowerment and hope. It allows us to envision a future where we are not handicapped by our past, but rather become emboldened and empowered by the adversity we have faced. We can be supported to become the narrators of own lives understanding that what we have survived can be molded to help strengthen us and allow the light within us to shine bright through the strategic use of language to build meaning that targets and nurtures growth, strength, healing, and empowerment.
Our ability to make meaning that empowers us through language of our life experiences is crucial for healing and so is our need for healing in relation to others. Language and our relationships with people who support our healing are interconnected. We create our realities with use of language and in relation to others. Find those people who support your empowerment and growth. Limit your time around those who diminish your healing. We have the power to create lives from a strength and empowerment perspective where we are the captains of our narrative. Be the captain of your narrative and create meaning that supports your healing and growth. You can do this in relation to others in your life that support this process. If you find this a challenging task, seek the assistance of a helping professional that can facilitate this process. Remember to keep breathing, loving yourself, and moving forward with hope and joy.