30 Minute Meditations on Being Human from the Life and Writings of Viktor Frankl, Day 4: Suicide Prevention

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Lesson for the Day: Caring, especially taking time away from one’s busy schedule to listen to another person, is a form of suicide prevention.

“Recently I received a telephone call at three in the morning from a lady who told me that she was determined to commit suicide but due to her curiosity wished to hear what I should say. I evolved all the arguments speaking against this resolution and for survival, and I talked to her for thirty minutes — until she finally gave her word that she would not take her life but rather would come to see me in the hospital. But when she visited me there it turned out that no one of all the arguments presented by me had impressed her. The only reason why she had decided not to commit suicide was the fact that, rather than growing angry because of having been disturbed in my sleep in the middle of the night, I had patiently listened to her and talked with her for half an hour, and a world, she found, in which this can happen, must be a world worth living in.”

Source:  Viktor E. Frankl, The Feeling of Meaninglessness: A Challenge to Psychotherapy and Philosophy, ed. Alexander Batthyany, in Marquette Studies in Philosophy, No. 60, ed. Andrew Tallon (Malwaukee, WI.: Marquette University Press, 2010), p. 124.

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