We all have times that we feel like life is meaningless. To find meaning, you have to take the time to make conscious decisions that work for you.
There are days when I feel like I am the only one who is struggling with feeling like life is meaningless. I have undoubtedly seen and watched things that have changed me irreparably, but what I have finally come to terms with is that I am not the only one. No one makes it through this life unscathed or unscarred, that is for sure. Many people, at times, feel like life is meaningless.
Every time that I go to an estate sale and look around as people are perusing through a person’s entire life and estate of all that meant something to them with such callousness, I think to myself, is this it? When we are gone, is this all that we have left in our wake?
I lost my father very early in life, my husband even earlier, and have had to watch my daughter suffer through a genetic condition only to be followed by having cancer that required her to go through almost 40 surgeries.
But, alongside the horrible things that have happened in my life, I have those moments that will forever be imprinted in my head. Like the times when you are sitting on the beach, or you are out doing something fun, taking in a deep breath, looking around and thinking… things can’t get any better than this.
That moment, right there, is what makes life worth living. Of course, they are typically followed by my children screaming at each other and the whole thing falling apart.
If you think that life is meaningless, you might be misinterpreting what “meaning” is. Everyone you touch, you touch forever. Every memory you have, good or bad, has meaning. And, everything that you do while you are here, makes life meaningful. If you feel as if life is meaningless, then it might just be you looking in the wrong places. [Read: 17 ways to relax, sit back and find more satisfaction in life]
Here’s how to stop thinking that life is meaningless.
#1 Volunteer. One of the best ways to get yourself out of a rut or to show you that life is not as meaningless as you feel right now, is to volunteer. Seeing other people who are worse off than you can snap you back into reality and make you see that there is a silver lining, no matter how bad things get. Something as little as making someone smile can show you the true meaning of life.
#2 Spend the day with your kids… or any kids. Kids are like little balls of discovery. Don’t you sometimes wish that you could have that imagination, that forgiveness in your heart, and that simplicity? If you want to remember what life is all about, spend some time with a kid.
Kids see all the things that we fail to in our lives. Breaking it all down for us, they remind us what life is really about – not the house, the car, or the bills, but the small wonderment that we have floating around us everywhere.
#3 Spend time at a nursing home. Who better to explain the meaning of life than those who have lived theirs and are nearing the end? If you want to stop thinking that life is meaningless, spend the day talking to someone who has nothing but their memories and a full life to retell.
I can guarantee you that the things they talk about aren’t their 401k, their new BMW, or their corner office. They will tell you times from when they were young, times they spent with their family, and the little memories that hold a grand space in their heads and their hearts. [Read: How to feel better about life – 16 small steps feel great again]
#4 Call an old friend just to catch up. When you start to think that life is meaningless, it is probably because you haven’t found much joy in your life lately. It is super easy to get caught up in mundane things in life, be distracted by social media, or staring a computer screen.
One thing that will jolt you back to a time when you had the world in the palm of your hand is finding that best friend who always brought out the best in you. Reconnecting with people who mean the most is what life is all about.
#5 Play hooky. One of the biggest reasons that you might feel as if life is meaningless is because it is like Groundhog Day every day. You are working to live and living to work. There really are better things out there than getting enough to get by.
#6 Say “no” to something. It is hard to find meaning in life when it is just one obligation after another without ever doing anything fun or that you want to do. If you want to remember what life is about, then stop saying yes to everyone and everything.
If you are trying to make yourself happy by making everyone else around you happy, that is a surefire way to make sure that you lose yourself and your meaning. The only obligation you have is to yourself. So, stop putting everyone else ahead of yourself and find out what makes you happy… then do it.
#7 Go on vacation alone. Vacation is great, but sometimes it is just another distraction to keep us from discovering what it is that we want in life. If you want to find the meaning in life again, it might behoove you to spend some time with yourself.
Learning to like yourself, finding out what you want to do, and spending quality time really considering your decisions and where you want to go in the future, is a great way to find meaning in life again and put you back on course.
#8 Do what you have always wanted to do but always put off. I can’t stand the phrase life is too short, but the truth is that it is too short. If you want to find meaning in life, then you have to stop postponing your life and start doing what you want now.
Stop kicking your wants and needs down the hall waiting for your life to begin. Only you can change things to find peace and happiness, so stop putting the things you want by the wayside, and create change today.
#9 Put away the social media. It is hard to find meaning in life when nothing is real. You are the first generation to grow up with social media, which I can imagine makes it difficult to know what is real life and what is make believe.
So many Millennials I know spend more time creating their fake life and showing people how happy they are on their social media page than living their real life. If you want to find meaning in life, you aren’t going to find it on the internet. Put down the computer and smartphone and enjoy the life you are missing. [Read: Dangers of social media and why it makes everyone so insecure]
#10 Figure out what makes you happy. You might be feeling like life is meaningless because you haven’t figured out what it is that you want to do in life or what will make you feel fulfilled. Sometimes we follow a path because someone has convinced us that it is what we want, or we decided too young and stuck with it.
Sometimes it is difficult to find meaning in life. You are born, you die. That is pretty meaningless when you think about it. But, where is the meaning that is found in between the major events?
Stop looking for the grand scheme behind the meaning of life and take the time to find out what it is that makes you feel fulfilled, loved, and gives life purpose. Once you figure out what it is that makes you happy and feels right, the rest will fall into line.
Life is meant to be lived to the fullest. That means making conscious choices based on your own thoughts, doing what makes you happy, and not looking for happiness from things or people outside of you.
I hope you’ve now stopped thinking that life is meaningless. You just have to take the time to stop, look around, and find what is missing… and then fill it.
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