Minute Meditation on Suicide Prevention: Finding Reasons to Live

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Founder of Logotherapy

Usually, a person who wants to commit suicide is not thinking rationally, clearly; his or her mind is clouded by emotional distress. The reason is that it is instinctive, even unconsciously rational, for the human creature to want to live, to gravitate toward being. There are, in fact, always good reasons for a person to live, even if he or she, at the moment, may not recognize them. There are, for instance, other persons to encounter in love and service. There are also projects to complete and possibilities to actualize in the future, even if a person does not clearly recognize them in the present. But there is no good reason to end one’s life. Suicide is a negative act that ends the possibility all positive acts. It is the wrong answer that ends any right answers to a problem. It is the ultimate choice against ending all choices. It is an act against oneself, because true self-love will always care for the self it loves. Viktor Frankl writes,

“[I]t is our duty to convince the would-be suicide that taking one’s own life is categorically contrary to reason.”

If a person is in despair, contemplating suicide, not knowing why he or she should stay alive, then that person needs to be given reasons to live, to be reminded that life, despite the emotional distress of the present, is a great good to be cherished and preserved.

Endnote

Viktor E. Frankl, The Doctor and the Soul: From Psychotherapy to Logotherapy, trans. Richard and Clara Winston, 3rd ed. (New York, N.Y.: Vintage Books/ Random House, 1986), p. 51.