Even if we live in conditions and enjoy a quality of life that our parents would never have imagined, we all face the obstacles of daily life, our limitations and the difficulties inherent in the condition human. Our era characterizes a society forced to live in a more open and thoughtful way, depersonalized by various technologies, which every day faces risks and uncertainties and is made up of social and cultural forms that offer little emotional containment and personal stability, unlike ours ancestors.
Many authors have been interested in the meaning of life and our work and the significant effect it has on people’s well-being, their resilience and psychotherapy.
In other words, the human being must endow his personal and working life with meaning, endow it with meaning. The fact of living without it, without goals, objectives, values and ideals, seems to cause many disturbances. Having a clear sense of meaning and purpose alone cannot get us out of depression, misery or anxiety, but it will give us the motivation, optimism and strength we need to thrive, which is why it is so important in our life.
Table of Contents
The meaning of life: what is it?
What is the meaning of life? Is there a purpose? Often there is an inner nostalgia, of a life that still has to find a reason and a purpose: these are common questions to which everyone tries to give an answer, albeit personal and unique, and thus find his way, his path to follow.
Each man is, in fact, unique and unrepeatable and his life has an immensely great value. In the sacred texts we read of “eternal life”, but what does this expression mean? Does it refer exclusively to the attainment of the afterlife? No, it is this and much more. It indicates a will to live that reflects what God has thought for each of us: an intense and full life.
In fact, each of us feels the need to reach a fullness of life, a high goal. In the Christian faith this culmination finds correspondence in holiness. However, it does not refer to a holiness for a few, but to a sincere way of living the ordinary Christian existence: a holiness that looks to people who have a life made up of simple things, but full of devotion, generosity and brotherhood towards others, that is, which constitute the very structure of the existence of all of us.
The value of life: an existence with a purpose
According to the Christian faith, life, which always reaches out to the Lord as its ultimate end, contains in itself a very high value and dignity. For the spirit that animates him, every man is endowed with those intellectual qualities, of will and of heart, which allow him to carry out the project that the Lord has designed for him.
In the Gospel according to Mark, there is a significant passage: one day a rich young man stops Jesus on his way with his disciples and asks him: “ What must I do to have eternal life?”. Like the boy, we too go through moments of confusion and turmoil, which lead us to aspire to a more satisfying life, to an existence with a purpose.
Jesus’ answer was clear: to abandon riches and follow him. The choice of pursuing the path remained with the young man, but he did not have the courage. Without calculation, without fear, but with disinterest and trust in the Lord: only in this way is it possible to understand what meaning our life has. Only by not putting ourselves at the center, but being ready and open to listen to what God has reserved for us, will we be able to understand the authentic meaning of existence.
Those who live closed in on themselves and in the slavery of the material things of this world will never be able to understand the value of their existence and fully experience the grandeur and beauty of that divine gift, which is life.
8 questions to understand what your life purpose is
If you haven’t found the meaning yet and this fact wears you down and makes you feel bad, I would like to give you some advice: read these 8 questions and answer honestly. These are questions you should ask yourself at different moments in your life and it will help you find the coordinates of your happiness and maintain your mental health.
What do you love to do?
I think the very first question you should ask yourself if you want to understand what your life purpose is to somehow be about what you love. Love is the basis of everything, true love is happiness. What do you like to do? What makes you smile? What activities do you do without feeling any discomfort, boredom or pain?
Think about what you love to do, compile a list of activities you enjoy and study it for a while in silence and solitude. Chances are your life, your life purpose, is on that list.
If you had a choice, what job would you like to do?
This is a key question, because work, whether you like it or not, will take up a large part of your life. Work is what you will be doing for several hours a day for several decades of your life. Very little support is given to young people in choosing a job ( choice , not looking for the first job that happens!) When in reality it would be essential to teach them that finding the right job means getting very close to their happiness.
What are the happiest memories you have?
Stop and take a minute to think about the best moments of your life. Bring out the memories and dive into the past to relive those fragments of happiness. Watch that short mental clip and realize that your life purpose is right there, in the midst of those memories. On the other hand, think about how nice it would be to live only moments like those that you consider the happiest of your existence … doesn’t that mean that you have found your purpose in life?
When did you feel at home?
We grow up convinced that ” home ” is the place where we were born but the concept of ” home ” goes beyond what is written on our identity card. But feeling at home is not just a matter of places. “Home” is a mix of sensations you receive when you are in a certain place, but especially when you are with certain people. Think about it: when did you really feel at home? Who or what gave you that feeling? You can find the purpose of your life by answering these two questions, because you can have many goals in your existential journey but you certainly want to be able to feel at home.
Think about the people you respect: why do you admire them?
In this hyper-competitive society we are pushed more and more towards isolation and loneliness, a situation that leads us to become slaves to our ego. Traveling is the cure for this disease, because it teaches us first of all the importance of humility and then makes us understand that people are a value and not an obstacle. More: people are a source of inspiration who can help you find the coordinates of your happiness.
Think about the people you respect: why do you look at them with admiration? What are the features you appreciate? Why would you want to look like them (while still being yourself)?
Answer these questions and you will easily find your life purpose. Don’t be ashamed to take a cue from those you respect, or even ask them for life and professional advice: people are an amazing resource. Put your ego aside and humbly analyze the success stories around you. It will be much easier to understand the right direction to take in your life.
What are you good at?
There are people with a natural talent. There is little to do, some things they know how to do just fine. I am against all kinds of labels, so I will never tell you that if you have a talent you have to materialize it even if it will make you hate life. But I want you to think about it for a moment and if you find something you’re really good at, you should consider dedicating yourself body and soul.
Because if you find something that comes easy and natural to you, you will have a less tiring life and you will almost certainly have a lot of free time for yourself. The formula is this: if it doesn’t make you unhappy and if you can do it well, then it could be your life purpose.
If no one judged you, what would you do with your life?
A question that few answer honestly. Imagine that you have moved to the other side of the world. You are alone and nobody knows you. They don’t even know your name. How would you reprogram your life? Would you look for work in the same field you work in now? Would you have the same hobbies? Would you organize your days the same way?
If you answer the initial question by imagining a completely different life from the one you have now, then there is a problem. The purpose of your existence lies not in what you do now but in what you would like to do if no one judged you. If so, ask yourself another question: do you want to live as “right”, that is to say as someone who has always kept the expectations of others, or do you want to live simply “happy “?
What are the changes you would like to see in the world?
Happiness is not a one-way street. Happiness is an exchange: you can’t get it if you don’t learn to give some. From my point of view, this discourse also applies very well to the pursuit of one’s purpose in life : do not think unilaterally, thinking only of your personal fulfillment.
Think broadly and universally: do you want to make sense of your journey on this Earth? Then try to think about what you could do to concretely leave it in a better state than the one in which you found it.
There are those who find their purpose in helping others, those who want to save the Planet from pollution, those who live to reduce waste, those to save people who are lost, those to share positivity and bring a few more smiles. ride … The purpose of your life is also and above all in what you can give, not only in what you can receive.
Simple ways to find meaning
Making the world a better place, serving others, or volunteering are activities that give meaning to many people’s lives. We can see the effect of altruism on the meaning of life for cancer patients in their final stage. Yalom noted that patients who have a deep sense of meaning live more fully and face death with less desperation than those whose lives are insignificant.
Consecration to a cause
There are many types of causes: the family, the state, a political or religious cause, etc., which provide meaning to the human being. Many causes have altruistic grounds, but others don’t. However, for an activity to have meaning it is important that the individual be elevated above their level, even if it is not an explicitly altruistic activity.
The fact of creating something new, original or beautiful, constitutes a powerful antidote to the lack of vital meaning. We can see it in one of the most recognized musicians in the world. Beethoven, when he was 32, clearly stated that his art alone prevented him from committing suicide: “There is little that holds me back from ending my life. Only art. Oh my! It seems impossible to me to leave this world without having realized all that I feel inclined to; that’s why I agree to drag this miserable existence “. Furthermore, creativity can also be equated with altruism, in the sense that many strive to be creative to improve the conditions of the world and discover beauty not only for their own benefit, but also to offer pleasure to others.
Another source of personal meaning is the belief that human beings must strive for realization and take time to put all their potential qualities into practice. We have seen this concept in theories such as the famous Maslow pyramid. This theory is mainly based on the hierarchy of human needs. The most basic (physiological) needs, which are at the base of the pyramid, must be satisfied to make way for higher needs (protection, belonging, security, etc.).
The last step for Maslow is self-realization. This would be the motivation of our personal growth thanks to which we can find meaning in life. Maslow says it “The human being is constructed in such a way as to strive to reach an ever more complete being; which means striving for what most people call positive values, namely serenity, kindness, courage, honesty, love and selflessness. ” We live implicitly to fulfill our potential capacity. When the person is fully realized, one does not is concerned more than “self-expression” and is concerned with caring for others or committing to goals that transcend one’s self.
Observe the way you spend your free time
What do you do when no one is watching? And don’t say “I’m watching TV!” “. Think about how you spend your free time and what you feel like doing when you have free time. Maybe you like to draw, write, or even make videos? Are you a gamer? Pay attention to these things, for they are precise indications that indicate your purpose in life. Many people are here on Earth to create or to support others in some way. The healthy habits you choose to adopt tend to get you closer to your main goal in life.
Make a list of what you want to do & take action
The biggest common challenge I noticed in the people I worked with was that they tended to stray from their life purpose and hardly ever ventured into it unknown. Simplify it. Think about what you want to do and write a list. Figure out what you really want and start taking action. Think about things that could make a real difference in your daily life, and make it a priority.
Give importance to the little things in life
When we think about our purpose in life, we often think that we have to become the next Richard Branson, or the next Oprah. Keep it simple. It is the very meaning of life. Don’t dwell on glitz and glamor, you don’t have to fixate on an extravagant role to change the world. There are some very great anonymous heroes who work miracles every day, and we need these kinds of people more than ever. Good things happen to those who do good things.
Don’t give up and don’t get frustrated with the discovery process
Keep up with what you set out to do! The challenges contain many lessons of life. If the path you are thinking of is not clear, then focus instead on what is clear right now. This is the wisest thing to do. The people who achieve their goals are the ones who are willing to go a step further and beyond the wall of frustration, because on the other side of that wall there is a whole lot of possibilities.
Listen to your intuition
Follow the path of wisdom. Live your life by listening to your instincts, and your intuition. In truth, the quickest way to discover your life purpose is to listen to your needs. That’s all it takes.
Pay attention to what your friends say about you
Your friends are your thoughts and have very valuable information about you. Friends usually have a different perspective on how they see us compared to how we see ourselves. Ask your friends what they see in you and what they think about how you should make certain decisions. You might be pleasantly surprised to hear what they have to say about you.
Did you know that you are already living your life purpose in some form?
Once a wise friend said to me, “My purpose in life is something I do so naturally, I neglected this statement for many years. It’s funny how the most obvious and simple things can sometimes be the most elusive to us. I promise you, at some point you are already living your purpose in life. Stay aware, be generous, and take action every day to help others do what they love too, and you can be sure that you have a fulfilling and meaningful life in return. It is simply a universal law.
Imagine living your last moments
Are you happy with the way you have lived your life? If the answer is no, what would you have changed? If you died tomorrow and had to give advice based on your regrets, what would you have changed? It might mean thinking outside the box or revisiting your priorities. There is something about death that helps awareness of life, and it is an exercise that should be done on a regular basis. We might not all be footballers or famous star dancers, but we all have a life ahead of us, a purpose we were made for, and once we found it, nothing could make us more happy.
Decide to have a purpose in life
In fact, when it comes to happiness, everything is always a matter of decision. How to find a purpose in your life? It starts with a decision! Yes, this is about deciding to become who we want to be, to live the life we want to live and to embody the values that inspire us the most.
Finding purpose in life means being free to be who we are. In other words, it is taking back this freedom and this responsibility from our parents, our teachers, society and our friends.
It can be scary, of course. This fear is quite normal.
Decide it, this is the first step. Decide that you have the right to live this dreamy life and be the person you want to be. Get rid of your beliefs, your fears and the weight of the gaze of others.
Understand the importance of having a goal in your life
To have a goal in your life is to have the feeling of moving forward in a direction that we have chosen. A direction that will give both meaning to our life, but also to all the small daily actions. Indeed, doing sport for the sake of sport does not have as much impact as doing sport, because in our ideal life we want a healthy body.
Or, going to family reunions to go to family reunions does not have as much of an impact as going there, because in our ideal life we have a warm relationship with our family. In other words, a purpose in his life gives a much deeper meaning to all our daily actions. In fact, every day we lay small bricks. How to find a purpose in your life? By understanding that we are the architect of our life.
Have an intermediate goal
Finding a purpose in your life is pretty easy. In fact, all we need to do is let ourselves be inspired by models and embody their values. But of course, it is an ideal. In other words, we will not embody it right away. Also, we need small goals to move towards our ideal! And above all to have the feeling of moving forward.
These short and medium term goals, I call them my heart goals. These are the things that make our hearts beat and give meaning to our life. Where to find them? Take the sheet on which you listed at least 50 things you want to do before you die, and choose one! The one you prefer or the one that you think is the most interesting to achieve at the moment. How to find a purpose in your life? By having smaller goals that lead us to achieve our ideal, and especially to taste its flavor, day after day.