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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: