Years ago a psychologist named Viktor Frankl went toe to toe with Sigmund Freud. Freud was teaching that what man wanted most in life was pleasure. But Frankl believed man wasn’t seeking pleasure. Man wanted a deep sense of meaning. In fact, Frankl went on to write: “When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.”
Because of this conviction, Frankl devoted his life to understanding the mystery of meaning and he discovered that we find meaning in life when we are connected in safe, intimate, growing relationships.
I think most of us know this intuitively, but Fankl’s discovery is challenging me to keep focused on what matters most.
You see, so often I get distracted from loving the people around me. Like, all my life I’ve wanted to fall in love and laugh with my wife. And yet often instead of making rich memories with her, I talk about our calendar and monthly budget.
Additionally, all my life I’ve wanted to be a dad. I’ve wanted to stay up late reading books to my kids. I’ve wanted to wrestle with them. Laugh with them. And make messes around the house with them. And yet so often I pass by important moments.
My kids will ask questions like: Dad, will you sing me a song? Dad, will you get me a drink of water? Dad, can we have a water fight in the house? Dad, can we stay up late to watch the game with you? Dad, can we wrestle before bed? Dad, will you stay and watch my gymnastic practice?
And you know what? So often I say no because I’m tired or distracted. And yet what I really want to say is yes. Yes you can have a water fight in the house. Yes you can interrupt me. Yes I’ll cuddle with you. Yes, you are important to me.
So for today, I am going to live in light of Fankl’s words. I am going to give myself to forming great relationships. I’m going to say yes to the people in my life.
There is an image that has been floating around the internet lately of two otters holding hands while they sleep.
The otters are holding hands to keep them from drifting apart. The image is pretty cute. But I think the reason we resonate with it is much deeper. We want someone to hold our hands. In other words, we don’t want to wake up one day to find that we are alone in this world. Simply put, the otters remind us of what Frankl discovered. Life has more meaning when we’re holding hands with others. When we’re keeping people close. When we’re saying yes to safe, intimate, growing relationships. So, just for today, join me and say yes to the people around you!!!