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  • Writer's pictureFiona Murray

Finding Meaning

Finding Meaning

Do we really need to find meaning in life or can we just live our life without pondering on this question? Human beings are the only ones that can question their own existence and the biggest quest in an individual’s life can be to to find meaning and purpose knowing that death lies at the end of the road.

Viktor Frankl thought that a firm sense of meaning is essential for optimal human development and developed a branch of therapy known as logotherapy to help people find out what their meaning of life is. Meaning in life is not just a theoretical or philosophical construct, but it has a bearing on human health and well-being with Jung asserting that absence of meaning is related to psychopathology. More recently the esteemed psychotherapist Yalom used empirical research to confirm earlier clinical observations that to live without meaning, goals, or values provokes considerable distress. The meaning of life differs from person to person, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment. For meaning serves a number of important functions in human life. Firstly, meaning provides a purpose for our lives. Secondly, it furnishes values or standards by which to judge our actions. Thirdly, it gives us a sense of control over the events in our life. Lastly, it provides us with self-worth.

When people are unable to find meaning for any of these functions or when they lose or outgrow the meanings that they once had, they become distressed. Many emotional problems result from a failure to find meaning in life and can be resolved only through finding something to make life worth living. Faced with big questions around meaning many people find it helpful to have a few sessions with a professional and learn about existential therapy where two individuals sit together and ponder. Maybe you need to find a free space to do just that this month ?

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