About ten days ago, my fridge stopped working and I’ve had two visits from an engineer and last Wednesday I was assured that it was now working well and had a new one year warranty for the newly fitted part, only to find that within minutes of my paying the bill and the engineer leaving, it was obviously not working at all. Phone calls were initially unanswered and, in the end, the only satisfaction I could get was a promise of another call in a week. Ugh! So fridgeless and irritated, I stomped about and felt a bit sorry for myself.
This morning I read this wonderful quotation from Viktor Frankl that the beautiful Margaret posted on the Forum (Affirmations and quotes 16/10/20200).
…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.
My heart swelled in my chest and my solar plexus opened with a sense of empowerment as I gratefully digested this wisdom. Then I remembered the fridge situation and felt a little ashamed. My fridge not working is so trivial compared to what so many are dealing with. Thank you, Margaret – and Viktor Frankl. I’ve been sitting here looking at what I’ve learned by this little event in my life and what a gift it has been.
In this time, when so much has been taken from so many, when my heart has ached to find something to perhaps help prompt a shift in attitude, here it is, encapsulated in this quotation. Despite the circumstances, we can still maintain our dignity as the amazing spiritual human beings that we are – every one of us. So many times, over the last few years, we have seen people in positions of leadership, or whose lives are in the public eye, demonstrating attitudes that beggar belief. Politicians who openly lie; those in power who misappropriate public money and therefore steal from the people they represent; those who shout at each other with total lack of respect or call each other names like angry children… irresponsibly modelling behaviour for so many, young and old. And, of course, I need to be aware of my own behaviour too. I’m not immune to anger or inappropriate response when I’m hurt. Even by the simple issue of my fridge not working!
Our integrity is born of the truth as we know it, our experience and our emotional state in any given moment. And our integrity shapes and dictates our behaviour. That quotation – 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 our own way – was written regarding perhaps the most dreadful circumstances any of us could find ourselves in. Yet, despite that, some chose to behave with dignity, loving-kindness, respect, humility and generosity of spirit in the concern and care for those in perhaps even worse circumstances – while anything worse could hardly be imagined. The message is that, no matter what, we can choose and are ultimately responsible – one hundred per cent – for our attitude and resultant behaviour. No one else is to blame. No one else can make that decision for us. Our choice of attitude is indeed our last human freedom.
So, I’m taking that into my day and I hope I will remember it every day. I am not a child. No one makes me do anything. No one can make me behave badly. I have the power and absolute responsibility to choose. Regulations or circumstances may limit of my outer freedom but nothing can ever take away that innate right – responsibly for my attitude and freedom to choose it. Therein lies my human dignity. And that, I utterly refuse to relinquish.
I hope you will stride forth in dignity, enjoying your freedom, and have a proud and responsible day with a heart full of love and positive attitude.