Most people, at some point in their life, will find that they desire some form of meaning. They find that they want to make a difference in the world, or at least understand their place in it. This desire to find meaning in life often comes from a sense that something isn’t right – that they are discontent with where they are, and looking for a way to make their lives more fulfilling.
But how important is it to find meaning? What is the relationship with finding meaning and happiness?
Does Meaning Matter?
The answer is often “yes.” We do only have one life to live, and it helps to know that the time you have here isn’t wasted – that somehow, some way, you’ve found a way to make sure this brief time on earth matters.
But HOW you find meaning isn’t necessarily as important. That opens the door for so many ways for you to find some form of meaning in your life. For example, you can find meaning through:
- Religion – You can find meaning through a relationship with your religion/God.
- Spirituality – You can find meaning through existentialism or feeling one with the planet.
- Relationships – You can find meaning through marriage, friends, and family.
- Community/Volunteering – You can find meaning through serving the underprivileged.
- Work – You can find meaning through committing yourself to your job or the work you do.
- Child Rearing – You can find meaning through your children and how you raise them.
- Politics – you can find meaning by becoming political or an activist for causes important to you.
It doesn’t really matter what you use to find meaning. What matters is that you find something that engages you in a way that takes you beyond the “self” and enables you to invest your energy into something that brings you joy, satisfaction, and purpose.
So while it does seem as though finding meaning is something that can improve your happiness, it doesn’t seem to matter how you find that meaning for yourself. It just has to be something that is fulfilling to you. You should try to find meaning in your life. But, like many things related to your mental health and happiness, that meaning should come from inside you and not from what you think you need to feel from others.