Meaning. What gives meaning to our lives? As adults, I think it’s something we often search for, whether consciously or not. Some find meaning in religion, relationships, learning, challenging ourselves. By listing these, I don’t mean to minimize them. Each of them can be a profound source of meaning for individuals. Some of them are for me too.
I think that these items, though, are all related to one word: Values. I think that if we are clear about our values, we will be more likely to live according to them and to find our lives have meaning.
Have you ever taken the time to write out your values? I did this and it was not as easy as it may sound. Some values, of course, are easy to spot. Others, however, are so deeply ingrained in our culture or in our psyche that they aren’t as obvious. If you are able to identify three or four key values and feel them very deeply, you may be on your way to enhancing your life by infusing it with meaning.
According to an article by James Clear (“One Research-Backed Way to Effectively Manage Your Stressful and Busy Schedule”) if we reflect in writing at the end of any given day how our activities or thoughts or actions that day were indicative of our values (or if they weren’t, why not and what should I have done differently?), something profound will happen. We will experience more joy, less depression, more health, less sickness, more meaning in our lives; and this effect can last years, even after doing this exercise only once. That’s pretty powerful.
I love the idea of knowing that what I do in the world and how I show up is reflective of my values in a very intentional way. When I realize that, I know that my life has meaning. Always.