Many things motivate us as people. Living with meaning is a crucial component that helps us to enjoy a fully operational and gratifying life. Like having air in one’s sails, the possession of what matters uniquely to each of us fuels us in many ways. As human beings we need connection to our ideals and to one another. We also need to connect introspectively within ourselves so we can connect to our inner truth, deeper wisdom, and core ideals that drive us in the world.
For some, meaning is attached to the creation of a happy, healthy, and enduring family life. For others, it is the quest for rich and meaningful relationships in our associations and social circles. Some individuals’ driving force lies in their desire to make a difference in their work life, political, environmental or social causes that affect the world stage.
Many folks are content meeting their basic needs and living simply, paced by a natural, organic rhythm. Others find meaning by seeking spiritual fulfillment and live life as a transcendent journey moving forward toward personal evolution.
Some people are focused on tangible tasks such as accomplishing specific personal goals and derive meaning as they continue to reach for more. There are also those who seek meaning based on moments in time in their lives and search for new possibilities outside of their own perception of reality or experience. There are innumerable options that resonate with people as they move through life and find meaning beyond their known lives.
Sometimes we face moments of truth and “insight moments — which are the opportunities that present themselves to teach, guide, and enlighten when the time is right and the person is ready. Insight moments teach and invite great clarity and meaning …” (Sidell, 2015). We become aware by practicing a mindful approach to life that allows us to adjust ourselves and our priorities to reflect the greatest meaning to the moments of our lives.
Viktor Frankl, in his book Man’s Search for Meaning said, “Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.” He went on to say, “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.”
The brilliance of Frankl’s inner light during the dark days of the Holocaust shines for us when he adds, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
The quest for freedom of choice and the expression of our choices are powerful motivators in our own lives and affect our self-esteem and the relationships that we share. Whatever moves us and provides an authentic sense of meaning is worthy of ongoing attention and periodic reevaluation. Life is made most meaningful when it holds specific and personal importance to each of us. Whether we explore our life’s purpose, parenting goals, business work mission, or follow the code of our core values, it is an individual pursuit and an expedition worth pursuing.
by Nina Sidell For PsychCentral