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How to find meaning in life when all feels lost

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How to find meaning in life when all feels lost
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We all at some point find ourselves with no meaning in life. Have you reached a point in life where you have begun asking yourself what’s the point of your life? Why am I here? What have I actually achieved? Have I ever done anything significant? Have I improved the world in any way by being here?

These questions and the conversation it brings up is probably what keeps you awake at night and steals your focus during the day. Is that what you’ve found. You can’t stop your inner voice bringing everything into question, bringing you down.

This is a reflection that you’re at a place where life has lost its meaning. But why? What causes this?

Simply meaning has drained from your world and has been replaced with a sense of inner emptiness, a feeling that some vital ingredient has gone missing from life. Maybe you just don’t know what this is, but its not a good place to be.

The cause though, why is this happening? Knowing this maybe then you can deal with it.

We know what having a meaning to our life really means, don’t we? I remember experiencing the overwhelming meaning to life as my wife gave birth to our first-born daughter, twenty eight years ago today. It charged me completely and I was determined to build a legacy to pass on to her. It excited me, and I could feel it reside in every cell of my body.

Then when at the bedside of my mother as she was slowly passing from life. At this moment reflecting on her life brought to me the thought of how she reinvented her life many times over and this then led me to begin writing the Compass for Life and reinvigorated me and made me determined to help others find their path.

But there have been times where I experienced what it felt like when life has lost its meaning.  The pain and the void were unbearable. My mission is to help others find their path, to find inspiration in having meaning in life. That is one of the main reasons I’m a Life Coach.

So, what has made you lose all meaning?

The death of a loved one?

A break up of a Relationship?

A business failure?

Your children leaving home?

Reaching a landmark birthday?

Recovering from an illness?

Often when something or someone you have dedicated yourself to is gone forever, your life falls apart.

It is beyond comprehension. The pain is excruciating, and all you can do is just try to survive it and to cope with it somehow.

You have lost your very reason to live.

Under this kind of emotional, mental and practical strain that you’re experiencing, it’s nearly impossible to see the real reason why your loss led you to meaninglessness.

Worse still your shame of having led a life so meaningless is hard to recover from.

But recover you can. I’m here today to show you that your situation is not as hopeless as it feels, and that answers can be found after all.

Let me share with you the teaching of Viktor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor, psychiatrist and author of Man’s Search for Meaning. He writes about the “existential vacuum,” the inability to find meaning in life and the feelings of emptiness and aimlessness that it brings.

“People who live with this existential crisis “lack the awareness of a meaning worth living for. They are haunted by the experience of their inner emptiness, a void within themselves; they are caught in that situation which I have called the ‘existential vacuum.’”

Viktor Frankl

He teaches that there are three main ways to infuse life with meaning.

  • Getting involved with a project by “creating a work or doing a deed.” Frankl had the manuscript of a book he had written confiscated. He used this as a spur to re-write the book, using every scrap of paper he could find. So, what could you create, what project that you could work on would bring meaning in life?
  • Experiencing something or encountering someone – be it nature, art, or loving another human being. Frankl himself used his love of his wife to keep up his spirits and also noticed how other prisoners used their connection with others to stay positive in the face of extremely negative circumstances. Who do you love? What connections do you have, or could you have that will bring meaning in life?
  • The attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering. Frankl’s concentration camp experiences were no doubt fraught with unbelievable unavoidable suffering and it is remarkable that he could find meaning. What calling or cause could you find from your despair or difficulties in life?

Nietzsche claimed that the “meaning and morality of one’s life come from within oneself”, do you do something that you feel brings value to the world? If you don’t could you? How best could you contribute. Writing a poem and sharing it. Helping a neighbour in trouble. Volunteering for a good cause.

Your starting point often has to be turning the switch off from the negative thoughts. When you are grateful, even for a few things a day, you’re going to find that happiness starts to creep in. That will take the place of feeling pity, and loathing. Give yourself a few days or weeks of doing this, and you’ll never go back to feeling sad about your lot in life, that’s for sure.

Remember you cannot succeed at anything if you are miserable with yourself and your work.

It’s difficult to move when you are crippled by negativities and impossibilities.

Let me share a quote with you:

“Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.”

Helen Keller

So, it is time you began to take action!

Not sure whether life’s lost meaning or you just feeling sorry for yourself for some other reason. Well do this Meaning in Life Questionnaire and find out.

Meaning in Life Questionnaire

Take a moment to think about what makes your life and existence feel important and significant to you. Please respond to the following statements as truthfully and accurately as you can, and also please remember that these are very subjective questions and that there are no right or wrong answers. Please answer according to the scale below:

Scale

Absolutely Untrue           1

Mostly Untrue                  2

Somewhat Untrue           3

Can’t Say True or False   4       

Somewhat True                 5

Mostly True                       6

Absolutely True                7

_____1. I understand my life’s meaning.

 _____2. I am looking for something that makes my life feel meaningful.

 _____3. I am always looking to find my life’s purpose.

 _____4. My life has a clear sense of purpose.

 _____5. I have a good sense of what makes my life meaningful.

 _____6. I have discovered a satisfying life purpose.

 _____7. I am always searching for something that makes my life feel significant.

 _____8. I am seeking a purpose or mission for my life.

 _____9. My life has no clear purpose.

 _____10. I am searching for meaning in my life.

Scoring 

To determine the current level of meaning in your life, calculate your average score for questions 1, 4, 5, 6, and 9. For item 9, reverse your score first (so a 1 is switched to a 7, a 2 is switched to a 6, and so on).

To determine the degree to which you are searching for meaning in your life, calculate your average score for questions 2, 3, 7, 8, and 10. • For each subscale, a score of 7 indicates the highest possible level of meaning, and a score of 1 indicates the lowest possible level.

That’s it. How much meaning in life do you have?

“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.”

Roy T. Bennett f

Ask yourself how you want people to remember you. Consider how you can leave lasting impacts on the people in your life. You don’t need to have a monument in your honor to leave a lasting legacy. From teaching someone a lesson or skill to helping a loved one through tough times, you can make a meaningful impact through positive actions.

What do you love?

What are you good at?

What excites you?

What difference do you want to make?

If things are tough for you right now, life feels empty, you feel worthless, take the time to find meaning in life, and believe you can find it.

Take the time and Identify your ‘thing’.

What gives you meaning in life? Let us know in the comments and start a conversation!.

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About the author: Larry Lewis
I'm Larry. As an Executive Life Coach, entrepreneur and writer, I am an unshakable optimist dedicated to helping you become the person you most want to be. I am devoted to sharing ideas, tools and resources that will help you create a better, stress free, well balanced life.
2 Comments
  1. Maggie April 8, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    I am but one of the masses. Realising that we are all but a passing indent on this planet, understanding that meaning is what our neurological receptors try to create to give us raison d’etre to give us emotional satisfaction. We need to go beyond this level of thinking and emotional response and appreciate the reality of our fragile existence. I am an optimistic seeker of truth. Stress free and interested in observing others.

    • Larry Lewis April 9, 2019 at 11:06 am

      Maggie. Thank you so much for the comment. This has given me much thought. Fundamentally, what excites me is the search for our meaning, and this journey helps me to contribute positively to the lives of others, while negatively alas to others. I am someone who believes we should always strive to be more, do more, to create a legacy of some kind, even though yes ultimately ‘we are all but a passing indent on this planet.’ Would love to continue this conversation.

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