Most people go through life not really seeking any meaning to their lives. They don’t wonder what their purpose is. And when they do, it’s usually fleeting. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re seeking answers; you want to live a life of meaning and purpose.
If you are, that’s a good thing –the first step to finding meaning is in seeking first. Here’s the thing though: there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. And it’s not because it’s an impossible question to answer, it’s because the idea of a meaningful life is as diverse as the human population.
Therefore, what means something to Heather, may not hold any meaning for Lauren. Herein lies the conundrum. The good news is that even though the activities that bring joy might differ from person to person, the fundamentals are consistent. These are the tips that we’ll be sharing with you in this post.
It’s interesting that it’s in giving that we actually feel the most rewarded. That’s the irony of life. You would expect that the acquisition of personal property and wealth would leave you feeling fulfilled. Not so. Sure, you can feel a smidgen of joy and pleasure from being wealthy.
But that’s nothing compared to the sense of contribution and adding to other people’s lives that you feel whenever you help people. It’s as if the universe thanks and rewards you with that warm feeling. So, commit to helping people to the best of your ability every day.
It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose either. You could give a smile, compliment someone, say “thank you” to someone, help out someone who is stranded, give to the homeless or needy and so much more. The universe frequently provides us with opportunities
Start Practicing Gratitude
Instead of thinking or saying “I have to”, say “I get to”. For example, instead of “Crap, I have to wake up early to prepare breakfast”, say “I get to wake up early to prepare breakfast”. This is because there are people who cannot –will not- wake up.
Some can but don’t have the resources for a breakfast. Then, some can’t even cook because they’re ill. See where this is going? Some people will kill for the opportunity that you have.
That simple switch can bring tremendous changes into your life and help you build an incredible sense of appreciation for even mundane activities. Now, here’s where it gets interesting: the things that you appreciate naturally grow and become better. So, it builds and creates a cycle of well-being and satisfaction for you.
This is particularly important if you’re battling mental health issues like depression. Depending on the severity of their condition or episodes, people suffering from depression can feel like there is no meaning to their existence. This is one of the reasons why the suicide rate is so high among depressed people.
If you’re starting to feel like you do not matter, your work or life has no meaning, or you just can’t keep living, then you need to seek professional and medical help.
You can talk to your doctor about this, get some medications, and even seek counseling. Mental health recovery organizations like Inner Voyage Recovery Center also provided sorely needed emotional support that will help you fight the blues and get you back on your feet.
Identify and Engage in Activities that Bring You Joy
What makes you happy? What’s that one thing that you enjoy doing so much that you’ll willingly do for free and be very happy about? If you don’t know what that is, you should start looking right away.
If you’re unsure, start with the things you’re passionate about; things that you can talk about all day and night without getting tired. Look for those things that you do that make you come alive. Look for the activities that when you start doing them, time flies by so fast, and yet you still feel like you have a ton of energy left.
No matter how successful or excellent you are, you’ll always find someone better at something than you are. The only way to stop competing against other people is to learn how to be content.
Now, remember that contentment isn’t the same thing as mediocrity. Mediocrity is all about doing something passably, while contentment comes from doing the absolute best possible, and being okay with the fact that someone else has more or can do it better than you can.
Just be grateful for your lot, your family, your resources, your success… whatever your achievements are, be grateful.