When we are young, we go through life with reckless abandon.
Everything is new and fresh. Each experience is original and an opportunity to learn.
But something changes as we grow up. We learn that the world is not our oyster. There are other people in it too, all trying to make sense of the same spinning globe we all live upon.
Soon, a different kind of thought emerges.
And it’s existential:
What does it all mean? What’s the point? Where am I heading?
The search for meaning.
It’s critical to our happiness, yet we often let it fall to the side like an errant scrap of paper, a library card that we momentarily wrote on to locate our books but then gave little thought to after it served it’s minuscule purpose.
Finding meaning is a core part of finding good mental health. They are one and the same.
Think about how you learn.
If you’re not motivated–if you can’t see meaning in it–it’s almost impossible to take in new knowledge.
If you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing, it’s so hard to feel happy.
I’m not saying it’s impossible; I’m saying it’s pretty darn difficult.
So now that I threw this curveball at you, what are you supposed to do?
It’s not like finding meaning is something that can be as easily packaged as “meditate for 5 minutes” or “do deep breathing.”
Those are simple concepts that are deceptive in their seeming capability to improve your mental health once and all.
But without meaning, it all falls apart.
Meaning is the glue that holds it all together.
It’s a also a deeply personal journey into the inner self.
Although the journey is personal there are things that might help.
Here are some questions for you:
What did you enjoy doing as a child? What would you spend hours on without anyone asking you to do it?
Maybe there’s something in those memories that is deeply meaningful to you.
I believe that each of us has a driving force, something that keeps us going when all seems futile.
For me, it’s removing pain by freely sharing authentic mental health information, to help others not feel as alone as I have felt at times.
What is it for you?
What keeps you up at night?
Write it down. Write for 5 minutes without lifting your pen or pencil. Doing that can help you tap into your unconscious.
What is inherently meaningful to you may not be readily apparent, and writing about it can help dredge up the sunken thoughts and bring them to the surface.