Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you. – Viktor Frankl
You have something that no one, no one can take away. Choice. It’s not physical or material, it’s mental. Meaning is something you can let someone take from you.
We look for our meaning to many times in others and expect them to deliver. There is no foundation in that approach. When others disappear from your life that you’ve empowered with your sense of meaning, your meaning disappears too. We get disappointed when our friends, co-workers, and family do not deliver us to the meaning we feel entitled to. We place control in their behaviors versus taking ownership of our own behaviors that can direct us to our meaning.
In suffering we can find meaning. There is purpose in your suffering if you can just have the perspective, patience, and mindfulness to see the suffering as a means to an end. Suffering can be your personal trainer that guides you to a healthier mental state. You’re building muscle you’ve not had to build before on your own will power. You’re going to be sore for a bit.
Am I stating that suffering or set backs are great and essential to finding meaning, no. There are people that have found meaning with out taking a path through suffering or set backs. More often than not, it’s going to be uncomfortable. To most, that’s called suffering. I don’t enjoy running 33 hills for a 13.1 half marathon. But, I know the suffering up front will make me a incredible runner for a half that is flat for my next 13.1 and more than likely I’ll accomplish a personal best. See what I did there? Meaning.
Finding meaning is hard. It is suppose to be. Seeking anything grand or worthwhile is going to be tough. Or, why else seek it? When you get there and you see what it took to get there, pat yourself on the back. It doesn’t just happen or exist, you will it into existence. What’s really incredible once you understand power, you can change in an instant. On a dime. You become meaning agile.
I’ve found that meaning in love and to be loved. Agape love. Familial love. Love in friendship. Love in something bigger than me. Love as a learner in learning something new. Love gives me meaning. When you find your meaning, you will find yourself not suffering any more. That meaning is yours and no one can rob you of it. It will sharpen and focus you.
New year ahead this weekend, new you. And yes, potentially your meaning within your grasp.