Someone lent me a book by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, “The Choice”. Having already read Viktor Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search For Meaning” years ago, ( see my previous article Man's Search For Meaning ) I had the curiosity in me to see what this book had to offer or if it was any different from “Man’s Search For Meaning”.
Viktor Frankl was already an adult and a psychiatrist when he was detained in Auschwitz. His book written in 1946 and later translated into English. In contrast, the Nazis brought Edith to Auschwitz at a tender age of 16 years old. She dreamt of being a ballerina and competing at the Olympics. However, her dreams were crushed as a result of racism and later detention at that horrifying place. Both her mother and father were killed on the first day of arrival.
Many were beaten, tortured and executed. As there were hardly enough food, out of desperation, some had even resorted to cannibalism, eating the flesh of the dead. She barely made it out alive herself.
When “The Choice” was written in 2017, the author was already in her 90’s. She writes honestly of her emotions and her experiences. It was not easy to overcome her trauma and finally resolved it. Through her reflection of life, it gives me an insight of the wisdom that she has obtained through her years of experiencing pain and suffering.
Her book is a reminder that no matter our circumstances in life, we always have a choice, whether to react or respond. Whenever we feel we don’t have a choice, we need to remind ourselves that we DO, no matter the circumstances. By choosing to see the choices we have in life, it is empowering. No one can take this away from us.
We can make any choice, good or bad. There is always an option in our decision making, in our action, thoughts and words. Whatever we choose, it will have consequences. We can be our own jailor or liberator. Emotions such as anger and fear often prevent us from seeing different options and making another choice.
As I read through Edith Eger’s journey in facing her trauma, I can’t help but to admire her strength, consistency and resilience in doing her “inner work”. Only by resolving our past issues, it will set us free.
I recommend both books. They are a must read.