Research shows meaning and happiness can be at odds with one another. People with the most meaningful lives were “givers.” And those with the happiest lives were “takers.”
Creating meaning in your life comes from throwing yourself whole-heartedly into your choices, doing the footwork, and accepting that the results are not fully within your control.
Creating meaning is about having goals, being in integrity, applying your passion, using your strengths and helping others.
There are three things that give my life its deepest meaning: my personal, philosophical and spiritual evolution; my freedom; and the opportunity to be of service assisting others in lifting upward.
Importance in our lives comes from having purpose and giving something to others that help them and the world to become a better place. It seems to be about loving and leaving a legacy. In addressing how to put this in your life, I came across many possibilities offered by science, psychology and writers with myriad ideas. Here are a number of them:
- Become a better listener
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Connect to your own inner wisdom
- Do something that makes your soul sing
- Let go of guilt
- Be the weird one!
- Stop playing by the rules. Some people find that the meaning of life is to have a career, get married, and raise a family. Others, follow a different drummer
- Step out of your comfort zone. The term comfort zone is code for a place you live in yourself without fear
- Find your joy
- Listen to your intuition
- Appreciate individual moments
- Build close relationships
- Work through problems in your current relationships
- Be compassionate
- Make donations
- Search for a new career
- Be courageous
- Find your purpose or significance
- Choose wholeness over happiness
- Be intentional
- Embrace mindfulness and self-reflection
- Dare to take risks
- Put your heart on the line
- Believe that you are significant
- Set daily goals
- Help others
- Belong to a group
- Give your work purpose
- Craft your story and end it with redemption, not contamination, and become the superhero of your life
- Be aware of transcendence: nature is big; your problems are small
Where You Might Start
You might start by belonging to a group of people who matter to you. For me it is family. Another group is the group of therapists I work with. Another very important group is my book club. These are three different groups who love and accept me and we look forward to seeing each other on a regular basis.
More on giving your work purpose next time.
Life can be hard. But remember, while the difficult moments may decrease happiness, they’re essential for building meaning. And that’s what matters in the long run. Have a great month for building meaning with your tribes.