Viktor Frankl, author of the famed “Man’s Search For Meaning,” once said, “Man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life.”
Life, therefore, is not just about attaining success or avoiding failure, it is also discovering who we are, finding meaning in this life, and achieving significance in what we do.
Nothing is unbeatable in this life – painful failures, crushing defeats, disastrous choices, broken relationships, shattered dreams, agonizing disappointments, and frustrations, etc. – so long as you find significance or meaning for its existence.
In the same vein, nothing is devoid of meaning so long as it exists. As the oft-quoted truism goes, “everything happens for a reason.” But, it’s we who give those reasons. In other words, we could take control of our dire situations by consciously giving meanings – hence, not simply rationalizing – to their occurrences.
And what are the sources of a meaningful life? Emily Esfahani Smith, writer and psychology mentor, says there are four. These are: (1) Belongingness or valuing others and finding people who value you; (2) Finding your purpose; (3) Experiencing transcendence, and (4) Being in control of your life story.
True “belonging” springs from love and it is a choice. This can be seen between yourself and your family, friends and the people who matter to you most.
Purpose is less about what you want than about what you give, and its key is “using your strength to serve others.” Purpose gives you the reason to live and move forward.
Transcendence is rising above yourself and connecting to a higher reality (e.g. faith in God, passion in doing something for a higher good or purpose).
Being in control of your life story is accepting the truth that you are its author, that you can take responsibility for all your choices and actions.
By interpreting, editing and retelling your story, you create a narrative that helps you understand your life in a meaningful way.
Yes, life is meaningful! Embrace it, and choose to live, learn, love, and laugh. After all, at life’s end, what matters most is not how much you have acquired, not how attained or achieved, but how happy you have loved, and lived a meaningful life