“It’s Not What Happens to You, but How You React to It That Matters.” ~ Epictetus
In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr Frankl wrote about the psychological impact of life as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps of World War II. His mother, father, brother, and pregnant wife were all killed in the camps. Dr Frankl describes in chilling detail how his captors took from him virtually everything of personal value and basic human dignity.
“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.” —Viktor Frankl
The only thing that the Nazis were unable to take away was his choice of responding to the deprivation, degradation, and trauma to which he was subjected. He made a conscious decision to focus his energies on “owning” that small but all-important space between the stimulus (whatever was said or done to him) and his response to it.
His ability to retain that degree of psycho-spiritual autonomy in the most horrific circumstances imaginable provides a remarkable example of intrapersonal strength, grace under extreme duress, the power of personal choice, and the Serenity Prayer in action.
Amor Fati (Love for Fate)
No matter how powerful, strong, wealthy, you are — you can never overcome fate. So, it’s a thing you can’t control- no matter what. Period.
Instead of fighting with it, struggling against fate, stoics were taught to love their fate.
Loving your fate is practising acceptance. Acceptance towards the uncontrollable parts of life — that’s how you avoid your emotional suffering.