As a counsellor, I have had the privilege of helping people give meaning to their experiences and understand their lives better. As I work with children, I often question the direction of our society and race. We all have certain limitations on our personal freedom, such as the time we live in, our context, and the fact that we are finite. Therefore, my question is, What is the purpose of all being? I do not have an answer at a cosmic or universal level, but I believe that each individual needs to create their own meaning morally and ethically to live authentically.
Some aspects to consider when trying to reach meaning in life:
1. Being Authentic.
To be authentic means becoming aware of our assumptions that may impact how we interpret life experiences and rationalise them. We should not judge or criticise, but understand where we come from and how it impacts our present and future. While my work emphasises personal choice, we must also consider present natural and self-imposed limitations. For example, natural limitations can include physical or mental disabilities, while self-imposed limitations can include fear of failure or self-doubt.
2. Being Free and Responsible.
The flip side of limitations is freedom and the responsibility that comes with it. We may decide to express our personal freedom by behaving in a certain way, but we must be aware of how it may affect others. Conflict can also be experienced internally and externally, resulting from our interactions with certain things such as death, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness. We must become aware of these conditions to live up to our potential and take opportunities, rather than living in denial or avoidance.
The final target of my work is to become more self-actualized, which means being the version of yourself you truly are. This can be achieved through awareness, self-growth, authenticity, potential, and even resistance. We should link the meaning of life to our self-actualization by recognising that meaning can be based on the culture or group we are part of as well as our personal expectations, values, and priorities. Transcendence occurs when an individual who feels self-actualized can focus on others and contribute to something in relation to them. This person has achieved all aspects of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and is not merely focused on day-to-day living but is also thinking and understanding deeply about giving or understanding meaning at a spiritual level. When we use the word “spiritual,” we refer to profound thinking or consciousness of how we can be creative agents that are part of a greater whole.
4. Some Dilemmas.
To be human means to face several dilemmas, including giving meaning to a seemingly meaningless world, facing death and the finiteness of our being, being alone even though we are with others, being a subject and an object, having self-direction and limitations, and acting morally and ethically. Our existence is fluid and reactive to our circumstances, and our subjective experiences impact our understanding of experiences, making us biased and flawed.
5. Ikigai & Logotherapy.
Finding meaning in life is a universal human quest. It is the search for a sense of purpose and fulfilment, and the feeling that our lives matter. One popular concept is the ikigai, which originated in Japan and is a popular framework for exploring one’s purpose and finding meaning in life. The pursuit of ikigai involves deep self-reflection and an examination of one’s values and passions. It requires identifying the activities and pursuits that make us feel most alive and then finding ways to incorporate those into our daily lives. This can involve taking risks, trying new things, and stepping outside of our comfort zones.
One of the benefits of ikigai is that it can provide a sense of direction and focus in life. When we have a clear sense of purpose, we are more likely to feel motivated and engaged in our daily activities. It can also provide a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment, as we are able to use our unique skills and talents to make a positive impact on the world. Another approach to finding meaning in life is logotherapy, a type of psychotherapy developed by Viktor Frankl. Logotherapy emphasizes the importance of finding meaning in life, even in the face of suffering and adversity. Frankl believed that humans have an innate drive to find purpose and meaning in life and that this drive can help us overcome even the most challenging circumstances.
In conclusion, one can see how the importance of identifying our values and passions, in order to experience a sense of fulfilment, satisfaction, and well-being is common across several cultures and philosophical ideas. Thus, ultimately, one needs to find what works best for himself in order to arrive at the meaning of life and develop a moral and ethical internal compass that takes into account not only oneself but also others.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Abigail Church is a Humanistic Integrative Counsellor who works with adults and children through counselling with Willingness. She can be contacted on email@example.com or call us on 79291817.