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What Is a Meaningful Life?

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

What makes a life meaningful? The answer is different for everyone and will change throughout life. The purpose, or meaning, that makes our life fulfilled when we are in our twenties will unlikely be the same once we reach our thirtieth and fortieth birthday. A change of meaning evolve smoothly, a slow inner growth, with no huge life crisis.

In other cases, it can lead to a transition, leaving oneself with the question "what now?".

When this happens, this time is surrounded by a sense of emptiness tough to ignore, and the feeling of being lost and the unknown ahead feels scary, yet it is a great time of great opportunity.

What makes the difference between the two situations above are insight and self-awareness. If we allow ourselves these tools, smooth inner changes happen along the way because:

  • We are familiar with who we are and our values.

  • We allowed ourselves to grow a flexible mindset.

  • We are in the constant attempt to explore who we want to be.

  • We understand and accept that changes define a situation and not who we are

  • We know that challenges don't last forever.

In this case, when a bigger change happens, it can impact the inner balance, but cannot shake it to the bone.

“Whenever you become anxious or stressed, outer purpose has taken over,

and you lost sight of your inner purpose. You have forgotten that

your state of consciousness is primary, all else secondary.”

Eckhart Tolle

If you find yourselves without a purpose at some point in life, it doesn't mean you never had one. It just means that it is lost now, and it's fine. It is part of the growing process, yet, how can you give your life a new meaning?

Instead of spending this time beating yourself up, you can look at this as an opportunity to grow. The chance to find out who you want to be next while looking for what you want to be will give you some purpose. This process can take time. Meanwhile, it would help if you were prepared to experience complicated feelings like emptiness, sadness, anger, frustration, and guilt.

These feelings are critical, trying to numb them with alcohol, drugs and other distractions, doesn't bring any good to your future self.

“If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.”

Viktor Frankl

We tend to forget that all feelings, including the challenging ones, are ok. We can't avoid difficult feelings, have to stay with them, be patient, slow down and try to remind that you are not these feelings, you are experiencing them. You are not empty, sad, or guilty. Accept your emotions; fighting them will only increase your sense of inadequacy. Allow these feelings to be with you, but do not let them rule your life.

Remind yourself that, no matter what it is, it will pass. Allow ourselves the same support, compassion, and trust; we would offer our best friend when facing difficult times.

To help us get unstuck from this situation, we can explore some of the following questions:

  • What are my values and beliefs?·

  • What do I enjoy doing?

  • What is important to me?

  • What do I admire in other people?

  • What is holding me back?

  • What brought me joy in the past?

  • Who do I want to be?

  • Who do I not want to be?

Ask also yourself the reason "why is it important" at the end of any question. By simply adding this question, you will explore deeper the reasons that are not allowing you to move forward. Don't push the outcome; maybe write down your answers. Reading them allows you a different perspective. In this process, it is important to be patient and allow yourself time to ponder. Don't rush yourself in something you may regret and do not settle for answers only because they seem easy to accomplish.

“The secret to life is meaningless unless you discover it yourself.”

W. Somerset Maugham

Patience is not considered a virtue anymore.

These days we live with the foot on the accelerator, everything changes speedily, and we feel we have to keep up. Currently, COVID-19 forced us to slow down a little, and for many, it didn't feel that bad. Rushing in things throughout life takes us further away from our meaning as we get lost in the midst of life, leaving us with a sense of emptiness.

While the current situation is not the easiest, there is some good in slowing down. It allows you to realise that your basic needs are way less than those you thought. You now recognise that a slight shift of priorities can improve your inner balance, and this is what takes you closer to your real purpose.

In a world where multitasking seems to become a lifestyle, exploring mindfulness becomes a possibility of growth and healing.

Be in the now, do not spend time regretting the past nor be anxious about the future. There are too many variables that cannot be predicted. Living in the present moment gives you the chance to understand who you really want to be. Devoting more time to know oneself is an act of self-love. Take the chance to be with the people you care about, assess your true needs. Trust yourself in the process.

Listening to your needs is a gift to yourself, and it also allows you to take care of yourself while looking for your purpose in life.

Practising self-care by adding to your daily routine positive self-talk, mindfulness, and self-compassion is all you need to find meaning. These are free tools you can use anytime and everywhere.

No matter what your purpose will be, it will find you, or you will find it. When that is, you'll feel it, and it will feel natural. You will ask yourself how in the world it took you so long to find such an easy outcome because the truth is that your "meaning" has always been there, but you weren't able to see it.

The reason you weren't able to see it is straightforward: because you weren't ready and it was not the right time.

No regrets or blame for that, enjoy your time ahead and never stop growing.

If you are struggling and need a little help to find your way, feel free to contact me.

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