Identifying our meaning and purpose lies at the core of all that we do. It helps us make sense of our experiences and the world around us by answering the question, “why are we here?” Furthermore, it guides us in how we choose to live our lives and what we strive for, providing a framework for the goals we set.
Neglecting our purpose for our tasks
Life is wonderful when we can say that our life is significant and purposeful. When we can be confident and feel a sense of worth and value along with clarity around our goals and overall direction. Sadly, for most people, the days are packed as we shuffle from one obligation to the next. On this hamster wheel, if we have the time to reflect and feel, our lives are often substantially empty, task-oriented over meaningful, and lacking in connection and joy.
Yet research shows that having meaning in our lives is essential to contributing to a happy and successful life. Experiencing a meaningful life is associated with a decreased risk of depression and increased overall positivity. Additionally, our sense of purpose motivates healthier habits (eating better and exercising), improved sleep, and stronger relationships. Increased wealth and higher incomes have also been linked to having meaning in life.
Identifying What Already Exists
The good news is that it can be different. The key concept to remember is that meaning and purpose don’t result from having or doing more. Instead, it is about making what we have and do count for something. This means connecting to our values and what is truly important to us and focusing on those things. Finding meaning in our lives is very subjective and will vary from person to person. It can be found in relationships, at work, listening to music, enjoying personal hobbies, connecting with nature, appreciating art, reading, etc. Some people experience meaning in their lives through helping others, volunteering in the community or supporting a cause they believe in. Others go camping or take long hikes in nature, appreciating the vastness and beauty. Challenging ourselves to do things we have not yet done can also provide a sense of purpose. This can be traveling somewhere new, participating in a race, or performing on stage.
Finding meaning and purpose doesn’t have to involve doing anything at all. Sometimes it can live just in being in the moment. Taking time to reflect on where we are, appreciating what we like and are grateful for while noting what we don’t enjoy and might wish to let go of. Thinking about the dreams and goals we hope to achieve and the small, or big, steps that can get us there. The more we can incorporate into our daily lives as positive habits, the greater our sense of meaning and purpose will be. Again, these can be incremental and set at a comfortable pace for you. Maybe it starts with incorporating a meditation, journaling post reflection, spending a half hour helping a neighbor or friend, trying a new recipe, taking a walk around the block, listening to an inspiring song or podcast?
Meaning & Purpose Live Within Us
Whether it lives in our consciousness or remains subconsciously hidden, we all desire meaning and purpose in our lives. We want to be remembered for more than the daily tasks and obligations we checked off our list. For those of you already connected to your meaning and purpose, I celebrate with you and hope you continue to enjoy your journey. And for those of you still searching, I celebrate with you too. Meaning and purpose live within us. The first step to identifying them is to have awareness around a desire to do so. You have already taken that first step and now it is about continuing to discover and uncover who you are and who you want to be. The choices available to you are abundant and limited by your imagination. Should you find yourself in need of additional support, the WeHeal team is ready and here to help guide you on your path.