Searching for meaning is a concept that has only recently, like in the past decade, had any meaning or sense of import to me. It seemed to me that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed, not explored and evaluated. Reading Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking about life. I started searching for my meaning.
The more time that passes, the more value I see in finding meaning, even knowing your purpose. Frankl shared the observation that it was the people who saw meaning in life who were more likely to have survived the concentration camps. That’s probably a true observation for any prisoner of war or survivor of trauma, too.
Most of us haven’t had to endure such stress to our lives as trauma, POW, or concentration camps provide. But, is it possible that the stresses life does provide are better survived when we see life having meaning?
And, if life has meaning, don’t we also have meaning? There’s a subtle difference between life having meaning and people having meaning. I see the concept of life having meaning referring to a global connection and a broad concept, an attitude. I see the concept of people having meaning referring to the unique purpose each one of us has, a gift.
For me, our purpose contributes to the meaning of life. We each have our special way of seeing the world, interacting with it and the people in our lives, and the contributions we make.
Our purpose is a constant in our life, regardless of what aspect of our life we are talking about. We express our purpose in our actions and attitudes whether at work or play, with friends or coworkers, or even at home or in public. You may be unaware of your purpose and why you interact with the world the way you do, and that’s where searching for meaning comes in.
What do you contribute to conversations, situations, and experiences? When you know your purpose, you know what meaning you bring to others. That’s when your life starts making sense to you and you can find satisfaction in all that you do — or change the situation to so that you can be more congruent or consistent with your approach to life.
If you don’t know your purpose, now is a good time to start exploring that concept and getting grounded with it. When you find it, you’ll feel a sense of understanding and appreciation for what you “bring to the table”. There’s satisfaction in your search for meaning.