Ever since my academic studies were disrupted by a mental breakdown went through in the middle of July this year, I have been struggling with finding meaning in life. So, to try and find a way to deal with it, I did the only thing that has kept me sane for the past couple of years: I read about it. And, like with other things I have read about in the past, when reading about finding meaning in life, I came across things I never thought about before reading about it.
For instance, one thing that I found is that, while there are a lot of people in fields like philosophy and psychology studying the meaning of life, there is a difference between trying to understand the meaning of life and finding meaning in life. The first is a study of what life in its entirety means (what we are all here for), and the second one involves people trying to find what the meaning of their individual lives is. As a result, people tend to go for the second one because of how it helps them understand the meanings of their own lives instead of trying to figure out why we are all here.
According to some of the work I read on the subject, there are multiple ways that people try to find meaning in life. But, out of the many ways that people use to find meaning in life, there are two that seem to be the most prevalent: Victor Frankl’s theory and Irvin Yalom’s theory.
Frankl’s theory suggests that finding meaning in life is a process of finding meaning in a world that is naturally meaningful. He suggests that the world is already meaningful, and our role as people is to find this meaning for ourselves. Yalom’s theory, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He suggests that finding meaning in life is a creative process that everyone needs to go through. According to his theory, the world is not meaningful, but human beings create their own meaning and need to stick to it until they reach it.
Now, having read the two theories, I have come to the realisation that most people, including myself, usually use both of them in their lives. As young people, most of us see the world as a place that is full of meaning. We learn this meaning from our parents and other people we look up to.
These people teach us what the things that happen in the world mean, and how we can use them to make our lives better. But, as we grow older, we learn to question the meaning we found in the world and try to find our own. As we grow into adults ourselves, we use what we learned as children to create our own unique meaning, which we will one day pass to our own children someday.
One example of this works is how at a young age we are all taught that education is the only key to success. Our parents tell us that in order to find true meaning in life, a person needs to get educated. As a result, we are taught that we need to go to university and become educated.
As we grow older, though, we learn that there are other ways in which we can find meaning in life. We learn that, while education is a proven successful way to find meaning in life, there are other ways that are as successful at doing the same thing as education is. As a result of this finding, some of us choose to go to university while others choose other more unique ways to find meaning.
The truth is, finding meaning in life is a very complicated thing. Some people are able to do it faster than others, but at the end of the day we all, at some point, do it. Some find it in doing art, others in being educated, and others in working with children. While we do find meaning in different ways, the one thing that unifies us all is the fact that whenever do find meaning in life, it helps us life happier and more successful lives.
Over the past few weeks I have been struggling with finding meaning in my life. But, having read a few things about it, I have come to learn that until I find a way that is unique to me and stop comparing myself to others, I will never find the meaning that I want to find. My meaning, like everyone else’s meaning, is unique to me and I need to respect the process that will help me find it just as much as I respect the processes that others took to find theirs.
Tell us: do you feel like you have found meaning in life for yourself?