Finding the Meaning of Your Life
Alright, many of you are going to think I’m overreaching my bounds but I do believe there is a way to find the meaning of your life. Or at least get closer. It may not be easy, but it’s possible. It takes work and time, but it’s possible.
Let’s start by saying the meaning of life is subjective. No one answer will fix everything and give you exact purpose. What I’m going to talk about today is finding the meaning of your life, specifically. We’re not going to get into the realm of the religion or specific philosophies, we’re going to talk about steps while searching for a life mission or goal.
Start With Your Values.
To start with, you have to figure out what you value. Figure out what you’re interested in and what you’re not. A lot of us have areas which fire us up, but many of us don’t. What activities do you enjoy spending your time on? Why do you enjoy those activities, what values do they lead into?
When thinking about your values, don’t confuse pleasure with purpose. Eating candy may provide pleasure, but does it drive the purpose of your life? It might, but you have to think about it. You’ll usually need to dig a little deeper into your values beyond pleasure (unless pleasure is one of your values!).
So what values should you take on? Well, there’s a lot of argument to be had here but it’s up to you. No one can tell you that but yourself. People might want you to adopt certain values, but ultimately it’s for you to digest and sift through. Let me give you an example; Playing video games 10 hours a day may bring some people pleasure but absolutely no purpose. For others, this will align with all their values and provide purpose as well. Assuming the rest of your life is in balance (you’re not starving to death to beat the last level) – this path can be just as happiness-inducing as any other path. We each have our own path to walk.
Try New Things.
If you don’t know what you value, interact with new materials and ideas. Read philosophy, religious, and personal development texts. Talk to people you admire and ask them questions about those topics. Experiment with new activities you’ve never done before. Learn and try new things. Keep taking action and values will likely tumble out. It’s all about gaining new experience to compare against!
These values may not be the same throughout your life, and likely they will change. This can be a difficult transition as prior activities and actions no longer provide the same type of fulfillment. Don’t worry. This is the natural evolution of life, what’s important is being in touch with yourself. Start asking yourself important questions again like what do I value? Figure out what you truly care about and what your priorities are.
This isn’t about religion or even right and wrong.
I’m going to take another controversial stand here, but you don’t actually have to be a ‘good person’ (whatever that means) to be happy. Nope, you can get quite a bit of happiness just by aligning with your values and driving goals around that purpose. Are some frameworks typically more conducive to happiness than others? I’d say yes, but it’s still subjective. Happiness is dependent on your value system and that value system can take on a huge range of values – what is typically deemed ‘good’ or ‘bad’ by society have little bearing on what brings you joy. Murderers can be happy in fulfilling their life purpose (regardless of how it plays out for others) – morality is independent of individual happiness.
Now, some of you may be upset and thinking well some views of the world are clearly wrong. I’m not writing to discuss the truth of the universe or morality. There are many possible positions which can be taken, I’m merely arguing that happiness is directly tied to being in tune with your beliefs. I’m not going to argue what’s right in this article, but the majority of people need to figure out their values before they can construct a productive and happy world view.
Align goals with your values to find purpose.
Without these values it’s hard to create meaning in the world but existential truth and psychological health are not exactly the same though. You can believe in nothing, yet certain acts will still be likely to generate happiness. On a broader level, however, being in tune with your values and acting accordingly gives most people a sense of congruency which ties directly into happiness.
In closing, knowing your values is a huge leap in finding your life’s purpose. Take time to reflect on your values so you know what you believe in. If you don’t know what you believe in yet, start interacting with more resources. Eventually, pieces will come together to help show you what you believe is the point of life. From there you can make goals and move toward even greater happiness. This is a tough subject, best of luck out there!
- What do you believe your life’s purpose is? What do you want to accomplish or who do you want to be?
- If you can’t answer the first question, take some time to reflect. What are you interested in, care about, or hold to be your highest values?
- If you can’t answer the second question, pick out a few books to start reading or other materials to go over (probably in philosophy, religion, or personal development). You need exposure to new ideas to find what you believe in!