What does finding meaning in life mean? Do you feel lost right now? Asking yourself where you’re going and if all of this makes sense?
If so, then I have a few more questions for you:
- When was the last time you took time for yourself?
- More generally, when was the last time you listened to yourself?
Making space to spend time with ourselves and to do what we like makes us feel good mentally and emotionally. This is how we give sense to what we do and give meaning in our everyday life.
What about finding our life’s purpose?
I can’t write about meaning without mentioning life’s purpose. I’m still unsure what to think about it to be honest.
On one hand, I like to believe that we all have one, or at least, I adhere strongly to the idea. On the other hand, I feel that not finding it would mean that I failed in living my life, wasted my time, and missed the goal.
Once I heard that one’s life purpose would be to find her purpose. It reassured me. The idea itself is the same, the words used and the perspective taken is just different.
I keep thinking: if we pursue our life’s purpose our whole life, would we be missing out something like the present moment? How about being content with what we already have? Answers will come with time.
What I do know and what I have experienced is that making time for ourselves helps us find what we like to do, what brings us joy. How can you actually find it when you’re always running out of time, thinking about the next to-do?
What do you like to do during your free time? What brings you joy and puts a big smile on your face without you even noticing it at first? Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to these questions yet. It will come with some practice. 😉
Making space for some “me time”
Press pause, no one but you can do it, and no one but you know best when to do it.
We shouldn’t compare ourselves with our friends and family. Our energy level is different, we may need to recharge our batteries more often, they may also be denying their needs to have a break.
However, taking time for yourself doesn’t mean writing down a to-do list with 13 items you’d like to do and feeling overwhelmed just looking at it. Take it slow. Start by a few minutes every day or just 30 minutes once a week. One step at a time, one day at a time.
Ideally, you should take some “me time” when you feel the need to, but also, when you feel good. Don’t wait to be on the edge to explode to press pause. Prevention is key to maintain balance and wellbeing in your life.
Another thing: don’t feel guilty about taking this time to recharge. You don’t even need to justify yourself. Your loved ones should understand. Your example may even inspire them to follow your path.
Learn to “be” more than to “do”
A few weeks ago a friend of mine shared a quote that was like an epiphany. I should probably search who wrote it but for now, I’m in the flow, so here we go:
“We are human beings, not human doings”.
It says it all (edit: I had to do a quite search and it’s from the Dalai Lama – who else :p).
Looking for meaning and purpose in life won’t appear as a revelation just by doing things. Even if you have a break and do things for yourself, you have to put your mind to rest.
When I say press pause, it’s also important to “switch off” our mental and observe. (Do you see me coming with my favourite problem-solving? If you don’t, you should definitely read more of my articles 😉 )
When I first started and our teacher spoke about all the benefits meditation can bring into our lives, I was skeptical. I listened without being able to relate to the idea at all. Only recently, almost two and a half years of practice later, I understood eventually.
This is something you have to experience yourself. Observing your thoughts and not reacting to them during meditation is a good exercise to practice also in your daily life. By observing and not reacting, you’re not doing, but being. Being in the moment, putting your mind to rest, and being simply yourself.
What a beautiful experience!
Finding meaning in everyday life: practical examples
If you feel stuck and trapped in your life, put into practice at least one of the few examples of how to find meaning and purpose in your everyday life. Try it for yourself and see what works for you.
This is a non-exhaustive list of things I personally tried, experienced and realized but also things that I know worked for others.
1. Set an intention for the day
What do you want to do today? How do you want to go through that day? What quality do you want to highlight or practice? It could be “Today, I decide to be patient with everyone” or “Today, I will do my work with passion and integrity”. No matter what happens that challenges your intention, get back to it like a mantra.
2. Focus on the qualities of the people around you rather than their weaknesses
It works wonder and brings you into a virtuous circle of seeing the good in everyone and everything. Positivity helps you see the glass half-full and bring new opportunities into your life.
3. Try something different
If you feel unhappy or a lack of interest in your everyday life, it’s time to bring some changes! Try a new activity every week and see what sparkles joy. It may be just the “new” aspect of the thing rather than the activity itself.
4. Help others
If you feel you’re already struggling to find time for yourself because you always put others first, let’s delve a bit into this idea. Helping others helps us feel good about ourselves and give a sense of purpose in our life. Now, if you suffer from the “Saviour syndrome”, you’re not doing yourself any good. The point is that you should consciously decide who to help because you want it, not because you have to. I’m not saying you should let people down who need you like your kids or your parents, but set some boundaries. Make the difference between people who really need you and energy vampires who take advantage of you. Which leads us to the next point.
5. Be more assertive
Taking decisions in our life makes us feel like we are in control. If you feel overwhelmed, take control of your time and decide what you want to do with it rather than feeling obliged. Then decide what you want to do with it.
6. Follow your intuition
I often find myself negotiating with … myself. It’s tiring. I know deep inside what I should do, but I’m not ready and my mind is resisting, blocked by the conditioning I have been formatted. Still, once you manage to break free, it feels really good.
Do you still feel stuck? There are some days when whatever we do, nothing can seem to help us feel better. It doesn’t mean that we’re lost, it’s simply a day “without”. Do you have some tricks to boost your mood when this happens? What are they? Please share in the comments. I would love to know about it!