This is the second entry in a short blog series describing my current thinking about meaning. (Phew, tricky sentence!)
These blogs might help you select a meaning to guide your life. Or fake meaning if you’re in an “in between” period, like me. Or not.
Yet I wrote these to share my thoughts with you, which feels meaningful in itself.
This is not meant to be definitive. In fact, it’s meant to be playful, to spark a conversation inside yourself or with others.
As I see it today, the sources of a life’s meaning might be sorted into:
Perspective Category 2: Self-Based Life of Meaning
I define “self” as a relationship – what I think about myself, what you think about you.
But it’s a unique relationship, so I sorted it out from the other categories of perspectives.
Self as meaning might look like:
- Inward-directed thinking: What you value
- Externally-directed thinking: Who you think others think you are or should be
- Action: What you think you want to and/or should do
In other words, a person might derive meaning from their value system (thinking) or their behaviors (action).
Now, again, these blogs are just one person’s thoughts at a point in time. Yet I have personally found that people tend to show up on a spectrum between thinking and doing.
How might a self-based meaning for life look?
A person might get meaning from their internal decisions such as what they value, how they identify, what they prefer.
They might gain the most meaning from external indicators like feedback, group identity, hierarchies or social systems.
Or they might feel the most meaning when they are behaving in certain ways such as how they spend their hours, money, and time.
I think self-as-motivator or source of meaning is quite common in individualized societies.
I feel like I see this orientation for a life’s meaning more and more. People are centering themselves on themselves as a source of passion or purpose.
No judgment – this is simply my observation.
After all, one’s source of meaning for life is incredibly personal.
Whether it’s a net “positive” or net “negative” impact on a person or a group is in the eye of the beholder.
We have always been humans who form opinions of ourselves. Now certain companies encourage us to broadcast our opinions of ourselves as the product to generate revenue.
Ask these questions to reflect on self as meaning for life:
- Is my identity the fuel for what I think, feel, and do?
- Am I driven largely by the role I individually play in a group (team/family/industry, etc.)?
- Do I agree with the statement “I am the sum of my actions/choices.”?
Compare this blog to the previous entry on having a time-based source of meaning for your life. Ask yourself if you identify your meaning as being more related to time or self.
If neither strikes a chord with you, you might consider what I have to share in the final series about meaning created through relationships.
P.S. I invite you to fall in love with the “Less Stress, More Fun” podcast. Subscribe today! Each week’s episodes offer smart, fun ideas to reduce stress and boost your sense of playfulness.