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130 Viktor Frankl Quotes That’ll Add Meaning to Your Life

2. “I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge.”

3. “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked.”

4. “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

5. “By his love, he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized.”

6. “But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage—the courage to suffer.”

7. “For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”

8. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

9. “In some ways, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”

10. “Each man is questioned by life, and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”

11. “Man’s search for meaning may arouse inner tension rather than inner equilibrium.”

12. “An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”

13. “Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it.”

14. “Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality.”

15. “What is to give light must endure burning.”

16. “Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success—you have to let it happen by not caring about it.”

17. “So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”

18. “No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him.”

19. “No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty, whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.”

20. “For the first time in my life, I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers.”

21. “We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly.”

22. “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

23. “If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.”

24. “What is called self-actualization is not an attainable aim at all, for the simple reason that the more one would strive for it, the more he would miss it. In other words, self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence.”

25. “Man does not simply exist, but always decides what his existence will be—what he will become the next moment.”

26. “A human being is not one thing among others. Things determine each other, but man is ultimately self-determining.”

27. “What he becomes—within the limits of endowment and environment—he has made out of himself.”

28. “Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.”

29. “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment.”

30. “We cannot, after all, judge a biography by its length, by the number of pages in it. We must judge by the richness of the contents. Sometimes, the unfinished are among the most beautiful symphonies.”

31. “What man actually needs is not a tensionless state, but rather, the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”

32. “Man is originally characterized by his search for meaning rather than his search for himself.”

33. “The more he is immersed and absorbed in something or someone other than himself, the more he really becomes himself.”

34. “When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.”

35. “We should not, then, be hesitant about challenging man with a potential meaning for him to fulfill.”

36. “The meaning of life is to give life meaning.”

37. “Being human always points, and is directed, to something, or someone, other than oneself—be it meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter.”

38. “Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”

39. “The meaning of life differs from man to man, and from moment to moment.”

40. “Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements.”

41. “No man and no destiny can be compared with any other man or any other destiny.”

42. “Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed; or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught; but a quest for meaning.”

43. “The point is not what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us.”

44. “Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on.”

45. “It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future.”

46. “Logos is deeper than logic.”

47. “Having been is also a kind of being, and perhaps the surest kind.”

48. “We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed.”

49. “Three possible sources for meaning—in work, in love, and in courage during difficult times.”

50. “The truth—that love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire.”

51. “The salvation of man is through love and in love.”

52. “Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being—his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.”

53. “A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life.”

54. “The more one forgets himself by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love, the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself.”

55. “The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while mastering the art of living.”

56. “It is well known that humor, more than anything else in the human make-up, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds.”

57. “Pleasure is, and must remain, a side-effect or by-product, and is destroyed and spoiled to the degree to which it is made a goal in itself.”

58. “Human kindness can be found in all groups, even those which as a whole it would be easy to condemn.”

59. “One must have a reason to be happy. Once the reason is found, however, one becomes happy automatically.”

60. “As we see, a human being is not one in pursuit of happiness, but rather in search of a reason to become happy.”

61. “A life of short duration could be so rich in joy and love that it could contain more meaning than a life lasting eighty years.”

62. “Because of social pressure, individualism is rejected by most people in favor of conformity.”

63. “There are some authors who contend that meanings and values are nothing but defense mechanisms, reaction formations ,and sublimations. But as for myself, I would not be willing to live merely for the sake of my defense mechanisms, nor would I be ready to die merely for the sake of my reaction formations.”

64. “In his creative work, the artist is dependent on sources and resources deriving from the spiritual unconscious.”

65. “I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved.”

66. “If we take man as he really is, we make him worse. But if we overestimate him, we promote him to what he really can be.”

67. “Love is as primary a phenomenon as sex.”

68. “Sex is justified—even sanctified—as soon as, but only as long as, it is a vehicle of love.”

69. “There was no need for me to know; nothing could touch the strength of my love, my thoughts, and the image of my beloved.”

70. “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me.”

71. “The person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back.”

72. “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing—your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”

73. “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

74. “Every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.”

75. “It is not freedom from conditions, but it is freedom to take a stand toward the conditions.”

76. “It is this spiritual freedom—which cannot be taken away—that makes life meaningful and purposeful.”

77. “Ironically enough, in the same way that fear brings to pass what one is afraid of, likewise, a forced intention makes impossible what one forcibly wishes.”

78. “Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete.”

79. “Man has suffered another loss in his more recent development inasmuch as the traditions which buttressed his behavior are now rapidly diminishing.”

80. “No instinct tells him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he ought to do. Sometimes, he does not even know what he wishes to do. Instead, he either wishes to do what other people do or he does what other people tell him to do.”

81. “To suffer unnecessarily is masochistic rather than heroic.”

82. “The crowning experience of all, for the homecoming man, is the wonderful feeling that after all he has suffered, there is nothing he needs to fear anymore—except his God.”

83. “Freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness.”

84. “Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision—a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you become the plaything to circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity.”

85. “Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand.”

86. “Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth.”

87. “Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness.”

88. “At that moment, I became intensely conscious of the fact that no dream, no matter how horrible, could be as bad as the reality of the camp which surrounded us.”

89. “In the bitter fight for self preservation, he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal.”

90. “As for the concept of collective guilt, I personally think that it is totally unjustified to hold one person responsible for the behavior of another person or a collective of persons.”

91. “Man is not fully conditioned and determined, but rather determines himself whether he gives in to conditions or stands up to them.”

92. “What is demanded of man is not, as some existential philosophers teach, to endure the meaninglessness of life, but rather to bear his incapacity to grasp its unconditional meaningfulness in rational terms.”

93. “At such a moment, it is not the physical pain which the most; it is the mental agony caused by the injustice—the unreasonableness of it all.”

94. “The condemned man, immediately before his execution, gets the illusion that he might be reprieved at the very last minute. No one could yet grasp the fact that everything would be taken away. All we possessed, literally, was our naked existence.”

95. “We who have come back, by the aid of many lucky chances or miracles—whatever one may choose to call them—we know, the best of us did not return.”

96. “The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity—even under the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to his life.”

97. “Thus, suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the size of human suffering is absolutely relative.”

98. “As the struggle for survival has subsided, the question has emerged—survival for what? Ever more people have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.”

99. “One literally became a number. Dead or alive—that was unimportant; the life of a number was completely irrelevant.”

100. “The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day.”

101. “I do not forget any good deed done to me, and I do not carry a grudge for a bad one.”

102. “By declaring that man is responsible and must actualize the potential meaning of his life, I wish to stress that the true meaning of life is to be discovered in the world rather than within man or his own psyche, as though it were a closed system.”

103. “For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become worse unless each of us does his best.”

104. “Everyone’s task is unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.”

105. “A man’s concern—even his despair—over the worthwhileness of life is an existential distress, but by no means a mental disease.”

106. “Sunday neurosis—that kind of depression which afflicts people who become aware of the lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes manifest.”

107. “At the beginning of human history, man lost some of the basic animal instincts in which an animal’s behavior is embedded and by which it is secured.”

108. “Such security, like paradise, is closed to man forever; man has to make choices.”

109. “There are things which must cause you to lose your reason or you have none to lose.”

110. “Since Auschwitz, we know what man is capable of. And since Hiroshima, we know what is at stake.”

111. “What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life.”

112. “Life does not mean something vague, but something very real and concrete—just as life’s tasks are also very real and concrete.”

113. “No situation repeats itself, and each situation calls for a different response.”

114. “Sometimes, the situation in which a man finds himself may require him to shape his own fate by action. At other times, it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation and to realize assets in this way.”

115. “Sometimes, man may be required simply to accept fate, to bear his cross.”

116. “When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task—his single and unique task.”

117. “His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.”

118. “Man is capable of changing the world for the better if possible, and of changing himself for the better if necessary.”

119. “Logotherapy sees in responsibility, the very essence of human existence.”

120. “You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.”

121. “Suffering is not always a pathological phenomenon. Rather than being a symptom of neurosis, suffering may well be a human , especially if the suffering grows out of existential frustration.”

122. “Here lies the chance for a man, either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his suffering or not.”

123. “A man who could not see the end of his provisional existence was not able to aim at an ultimate goal in life.”

124. “Our sacrifice did have a meaning.”

125. “Those who know how close the connection is between the state of mind of a man—his courage and hope, or lack of them—and the state of immunity of his body will understand that the sudden loss of hope and courage can have a deadly effect.”

126. “His faith in the future and his will to live had become paralyzed and his body fell victim to illness; and thus, the voice of his dream was right after all.”

127. “People have enough to live by, but nothing to live for.”

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