If someone asked what you wanted out of life, you might answer “meaning.” But with the routine and demands of our daily lives, it’s hard to figure out where to start searching.
According to the CDC, 40 percent of Americans haven’t discovered a satisfying life purpose, leaving many to believe living in a happy-centric culture likes ours isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. In a study from the Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers discovered that while a happy life and a meaningful one often intersect through phases, they’re very different. Reports suggest that living a happy life is associated with being a “taker,” while leading a meaningful life correlates to being a “giver.”
In order to find your meaning, we must live each day with intention and aligning our lives with purpose.
Be Present and Connected
Despite technology keeping us "connected," we have a lot to work on as a society. By taking time out to help others and talk face to face, you’re providing yourself with a deep sense of being present and staying truly connected.
Not only can spending time with others or even volunteering at organizations based on interests and passions bring zest to life, but these moments help you find the meaning you seek. Through becoming socially aware and aiding others, you’re giving back to make the world a better place.
Love with Reckless Abandon
If you want to live a full life, open up your heart and love with reckless abandon. Without denoting negligence or irresponsibility, loving recklessly means opening up, abandoning judgement and offering copious quantities of love. Of course, it’s scary, but when we love this way, we push ego aside to understand our true identity through vulnerability.
In her book, Daring Greatly, beloved author Brené Brown shares that when we fear getting hurt or shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from experiences that bring immense meaning. Through openness, purpose becomes present as you lose yourself in something you love.
Every word and action defines the type of life you want to lead — and kindness is one of the more necessary steps to take when living with meaning. When you’re kind to others, the impact of your actions doesn’t stop there. By brightening our world and broadening perspective, we grow more perceptive and discover our calling through the act of compassion.
Our lives have a greater purpose than just surviving. Whether planned or random acts of kindness, they expand our comfort zones to show us how beautiful life can be by living through thoughtfulness.
Follow Your Passion
Passion is more than a job or career you love — it’s an integral piece of a fulfilling life. How many people do you personally know living out their passions? Once you embrace who you are and figure out what you love doing, the meaning you seek becomes distinctive. When we lose ourselves in something we believe in, passion helps us discover meaning through the risks we take to see such desires manifest. It might not be an easy living, but if you’re passionate about a dream, you’ll feel inspired and energized to follow through with it.
Feed Your Soul
The older we get, the more it seems our dreams start to fade. We’re so used to living in routine that we end up feeling uninspired and stuck — but the key often lies within us. As Joseph Campbell said, “Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life.” By examining ourselves and feeding our soul with things that bring us satisfaction, we increase our self-awareness.
Our souls need nurturing and we can do this by imparting our actions with positive intention, making what we do every day into practices imbued by instinct and abandon. The world is big and to live with more meaning requires you to do so with no bounds. Whether it be through travel or socializing, our life’s purpose must reflect our core beliefs.