I remember when I started my counseling career. My goal was a simple one: I wanted to ease, and even help end, people’s suffering.
Regardless of which help/healing job we are in, I think our goal is to heal.
As my career went on, I found that there were times that I did just that, help and ease/end suffering. What I also found was that no matter how hard I tried, there was always more suffering.
I found myself becoming very discouraged. One of the first things my training officer told me was, “There will be calls holding when you SO (sign-on) and calls holding when you OD (go off duty).”
As veterinary professionals, you help ease/end suffering every day—but there will always be another injured or hurting animal.
Viktor Frankl, a neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor, was born on March 26, 1905, in Vienna, Austria. As a young man, he studied neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna.
Dr. Frankl opened several clinics intending to address suicide in students. He had found that when grades came out, suicides went up. These clinics were highly successful, and he reduced the number of suicides significantly in high school students.
In 1942, he and many in his family were sent to a concentration camp. While there, he continued his efforts to prevent others from committing suicide.
How was he able to do this? Frankl believed that the key in all things was to find meaning in the present moment.
“What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”Victor Frankl
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”Victor Frankl
He knew that pain and suffering were a part of human life. He believed that the goal was to find meaning in it.
Regardless of our current circumstances, our goal is to discover our purpose in the present. Try not to live in the past or the future, but the now.
Today, tomorrow, or any given day, you will experience a challenging situation at work, home, or in the natural, or virtual spaces.
The growth is in knowing that the work you do at the VMTH is impactful—not only for the animals you help but also for those who love them.
Find your purpose in the present moment.
Michael Hawkins, MA, LPC is a licensed professional counselor at the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH). With almost 25 years of experience as a counselor, he works with clinicians, students, staff, and clients—compassionately attending to the human needs that arise in the practice of veterinary medicine. Counselor’s Corner is a blog devoted to that purpose. BACK TO BLOG