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133 Inspiring Quotes by Viktor E. Frankl

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Viktor E. Frankl.

Wikipedia Summary for Viktor Frankl

Viktor Emil Frankl (26 March 1905 – 2 September 1997)

was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor.

He was the founder of logotherapy, a school of psychotherapy which describes a search for a life meaning as the central human motivational force. Logotherapy is part of existential and humanistic psychology theories.

Frankl published 39 books. The autobiographical Man's Search for Meaning, a best-selling book, is based on his experiences in various Nazi concentration camps.

--Viktor Frankl

Longer Version:

It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to

the future...And this is his salvation in the most difficult moments

of his existence, although he sometimes has to force his mind to

the task.


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Longer Version:

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. These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment.




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Longer Version:

Man is not fully conditioned and determined but rather determines himself whether he gives in to conditions or stands up to them. In other words, man is ultimately self-determining. Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment.


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Longer Version:

To the European, it is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to 'be happy.' But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to 'be happy.' Once the reason is found, however, one becomes happy automatically. As we see, a human being is not one in pursuit of happiness but rather in search of a reason to become happy, last but not least, through actualizing the potential meaning inherent and dormant in a given situation.


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Longer Version:

I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world may still know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when a man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way -- an honorable way -- in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment.


--Viktor Frankl

Longer Version:

The more one forgives 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.


--Viktor Frankl

Longer Version:

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features.


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Longer Version:

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that 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.


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Longer Version:

When we are no longer able to change a situation -- just think of an incurable disease such as an inoperable cancer -- we are challenged to change ourselves.




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Longer Version:

If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.



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Longer Version:

No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being until he loves him. 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. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.



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Longer Version:

Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him-mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp.

Dostoevski said once, "There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings."

These words frequently came to my mind after I became acquainted with those martyrs whose behavior in camp, whose suffering and death, bore witness to the fact that the last inner freedom cannot be lost. It can be said that they were worthy of their sufferings; the way they bore their suffering was a genuine inner achievement.

It is this spiritual freedom- which cannot be taken away- that makes life meaningful and purposeful.



--Viktor Frankl
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Longer Version:

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. 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.... 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.


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