This idea of “meaning” and a meaningful life has been cropping up a lot lately in what I’ve been reading and pondering.
“Create a life of meaning” cry the hundreds of self help manuals, articles and sites.
What does “meaning” mean, really?
My personal view is it’s those activities you partake in, and the relationships you’re involved in, that make you feel significant, valued and alive. The things that make you feel like you’re actively living your life, engaged and evolving, rather than just existing and drifting.
It doesn’t always have to be with other people, at least not directly.
For example, many forms of creativity like painting, writing, photography and many others, have great meaning in the act of doing them, irrelevant of whether anyone else is involved either during or afterwards.
So how do we find meaning?
The simplest way, I believe, is to experiment, try different stuff. You soon know when you get involved in something new, how much you like it, whether it makes you happier.
If it adds to your life, then obviously you want to do more of it. If it’s not for you, then give it up and move on to try something else that might be far more rewarding.
But then comes another crucial element. Balance.
If you have too much of the good stuff, whatever that may be for you, then your expectation rises, and what was absolutely incredibly amazing, becomes no less so in the moment, but you do somehow adjust to it, get used to it, take it for granted.
If life was a continuous high, then you wouldn’t appreciate just how high you were flying. It’s the contrast of other times that are less rewarding, less alive, that we need to fully enjoy those best times.
Meaning is a huge topic, and something to explore more in future posts here.
Until then, what gives your life meaning?