Saturday, December 19, 2015

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks: The Value of "Reframing"

This is a delightful essay by Rabbi Sacks on this week's Torah portion, Vayigash. 

I love the story of Joseph, I find it profoundly moving. I was also reading today about Daniel the Prophet, dreams, and the writing on the wall. Daniel is another figure that resonates with me personally every time I read about him.

Do read the whole essay from Rabbi Sacks, it's wonderful.

"Before being sent to Auschwitz, Frankl had been a therapist specialising in curing people who had suicidal tendencies. In the camp, he devoted himself, as far as he could, to giving his fellow prisoners the will to live, knowing that if they lost it, they would soon die."

"There he made the fundamental discovery for which he later became famous:

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.[2]

What made the difference, what gave people the will to live, was the belief that there was a task for them to perform, a mission for them to accomplish, that they had not yet completed and that was waiting for them to do in the future. Frankl discovered that “it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.”[3]

"Joseph, without knowing it, had become the precursor of one of the great movements in psychotherapy in the modern world. He showed the power of reframing. We cannot change the past. But by changing the way we think about the past, we can change the future."

"Whatever situation we are in, by reframing it we can change our entire response, giving us the strength to survive, the courage to persist, and the resilience to emerge, on the far side of darkness, into the light of a new and better day."