This should be our main goal in life: to find meaning...
Chuck Gallozzi wrote: "What then is meaning? It's a personal reason for our existence. It's a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It is not a matter of searching for some ethereal, profound, and mysterious meaning, but merely of choosing what to dedicate our life to, for the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose. In other words, the meaning of life is to live a meaningful life. We create ourselves with the power of thought, and we create our meaning with the power of choice.
The meaning of a word is its role in a sentence, and the meaning of a person is their role in society. When we take on a role and contribute to society, we become meaningful by being useful. Our role gives us value and significance. No role is too small; all roles are vital, and every role is an opportunity for someone to find meaning." (http://www.personal-development.com/chuck/meaning.htm)
Our purpose is to become "useful". Useful to others, useful to our world... To contribute our talents and gifts in some positive way. In order to have meaning in our lives we must learn to make the right choices and decisions for our lives; fill our lives with "positive" actions. So see yourself as an important "contributor" for the betterment of this world and learn to act appropriately to fulfill your goal of finding meaning in your life. Your actions will create your life - your positive and negative experiences. If you act with kindness, compassion, patience, tolerance, respect, understanding and love - you will receive all that in return and accomplish your greatest dreams and goals. When you cause great pain to others by your negative and destructive actions, you will only hurt yourself (and your loved ones); you will only create negative effects.
"When you know that you and your contributions are crucial, it infuses ALL that you do with a compelling sense of urgency. I believe that this simple, clear message is preventive medicine for much of the tragedy and suffering that plague our world today -the shootings, the hatred, the suicides, the wars. We need to reach to every person, to every child, every parent, every educator, every leader, with the message: You matter. Your life and what you do with it matters. You are indispensable to this world!" Simon Jacobson
Whatever you do, your main goal should be to find "meaning" in your life, every day, every moment... We are all needed.
How do we find meaning? By learning to love others, to love ourselves, to love what we do and to remember that even painful experiences teach us lessons. We have to appreciate our life lessons and learn from them to become better individuals (better loving persons). We have to keep an open mind and an open heart at all times. Let's learn from others, from their experiences and our experiences and be grateful for what we have. If we are not happy with our present situation, let's remember that it's up to us to change our circumstances. We have the power and inner resources to overcome our problems, our challenges, our set-backs; to change our life! Determination, hard work, perseverance, a positive attitude and belief can all work together to create a great life for us and our loved ones. Don't give up! Never give up! You can change your world...
Try to avoid "negative thinking" and "complaining". Of course, we all complain once in a while; but when your complaining is out of control: if you are always filled with pessimistic and negative thoughts and believe that nothing will work to change your situation, to improve your life, your work, your relationship with others, etc. then you're kind of saying that "you are doomed", because that's what you believe. You become what you believe, you create the life that you believe you deserve. So, stop those negative and defeating thinking patterns; start truly believing that you can change and that you deserve the best in your life - stop feeling like a victim. Why? because you do MATTER! You are an important person, full of potential and full of love (believe it or not!) - YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!
Start feeling good about yourself, stop being afraid, and remember: you can choose love, you can choose peace, harmony and kindness... IT'S ALL UP TO YOU! Inspire yourself!
"Concentrate in the beauty of this world, in the beauty of people (their true inner beauty and goodness)..."
"Defeating thoughts only defeat your life".
Viktor Frankl, the author of Man's Search for Meaning - psychiatrist, psychologist and philosopher - developed a system of therapy called logotherapy * (Logos is a Greek word for "meaning"). He wrote the following about "meaning":
"One should not search for an abstract meaning of life. 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 as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it. The question is not 'what is the meaning of life?' but rather 'what am I being asked by life?', I believe we can only answer this question by being fully responsive to our life as a unique gift and responsibility. To find meaning in life, we must be in a process of responding to life."
Mr. Frankl believed that although we cannot necessarily choose the conditions we encounter in life, we can choose how to respond to those conditions. For him, meaning is experienced by responding to the demands of the situation at hand, discovering and committing oneself to one's own unique task in life, and by allowing oneself to experience or trust in an ultimate meaning - which one may or may not call God.
Let's remember that WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR LIVES; let's try our best to make the right choices, to embrace positive and healthy attitudes, to be grateful, to choose HAPPINESS, PEACE, LOVE, PATIENCE, PERSEVERANCE, and above all, MEANING in our lives...
Amy Betit, a great lady and a teacher at Atlantic University in Virginia Beach, VA (please check: http://www.atlanticuniv.edu/main.aspx?id=144) recommends creating a "collage" in order to explore visually what might bring meaning into your life. You can discover what gives meaning to your life by creating a picture of your ideal life, filled with the things you'd like to do and the things you'd like to have - the things that are important to you.
She wrote: "making a collage bypasses the left-brain, or rational, logical, functions and takes you directly to the right brain, or intuitive, functions of the brain. Gather up magazines that have pictures you like, get out scissors, glue stick and paper, and begin to cut and paste." For an example of a collage, go to: http://www.intercom.net/~joebetit/amy_harmony. I love this idea, and I will adapt it -with Mrs. Betit's permission- to create a similar exercise using computers in my Digital Applications Class, when my students work on "The Story of My Life" exercise. You may e-mail Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Try it and have fun doing it!
Also check: http://www.lifechallenges.org/index.html, http://www.LivingLifeFully.com and http://meaningfullife.com - other great websites!
"Only when we see ourselves in our true human context, as members of a race which is intended to be one organism and 'one body,' will we begin to understand the positive importance not only of the successes but of the failures and accidents in our lives. My successes are not my own. The way to them was prepared by others. The fruit of my labors is not my own: for I am preparing the way for the achievements of another. Nor are my failures my own. They may spring from failure of another, but they are also compensated for by another's achievement. Therefore the meaning of my life is not to be looked for merely in the sum total of my own achievements. It is seen only in the complete integration of my achievements and failures with the achievements and failures of my own generation, and society, and time." (From "No Man is an Island" by Thomas Merton - please check: http://www.mertoninstitute.org).
* The main objective of logotherapy was to facilitate clients' quest for meaning and empower them to live meaningfully, responsibly, regardless of their life circumstances.