*There may be affiliate links in this post. (Please see our legal pages, link in the footer, for more information.)
There have been a lot of speculations and theories trying to explain how life came to be. Nobody can say which of these theories is correct, but life nonetheless persists with or without an explanation.
Nobody on this planet was born with their permission. Our parents came together and out we came. However, now that we have been brought into this world, it is our responsibility to take care of ourselves and make the best of it.
There is a lot of pressure on us to achieve something during the course of our lifespan. The world can be a challenging place–how will you make your life more meaningful in a world of hardships and inequality? Let’s look at some ways that you can build a meaningful life.
What Is A Meaningful Life?
Right from childhood, we come to know the common goal of all people to live a meaningful life. We are told to live our lives meaningfully in school, at home, in church, from our parents, in movies, and almost everywhere we go. However, what exactly is a meaningful life?
There is no textbook answer to what a meaningful life is. The definition of a meaningful life is strictly dependent on you, and only you can best answer what makes your life meaningful.
To some, the definition of a meaningful life is wealth. To others, it could be health or academic excellence. However, keep in mind that other peoples’ standards shouldn’t determine what is meaningful in your life.
Take the example of some of the inventors and geniuses like Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and others. It is easy to assume that they lived a meaningful life because they achieved feats that have gone down in history. Even so, who can say that they felt they lived a meaningful life?
You don’t need to come up with the next history-worthy invention or the cure for AIDs before you can live a meaningful life. Of course, if accomplishing much will help you feel fulfilled, then go for it, but the point is that living a meaningful life is up to you and doesn’t require heroic feats of genius.
At the root of it, you’ll know you’ve lived a meaningful life when you’re satisfied and proud of what you’ve done. Remember that it is your life, and you’re the only one that can measure how pleased you are with it.
How Will You Make Your Life More Meaningful?
Sometimes it feels like we just exist and are counting the days in our lives without impact. That feeling of being alive but not living causes depression and negatively affects our mental health.
It is sad when we hear news of people committing suicide. If you’ve had a loved one commit suicide, you know how painful it can be. Most times, victims of suicide find themselves at that point because they don’t see the meaning of their lives or the relevance they have in this world.
If you’re reading this and you feel your life doesn’t have any meaning, we want to let you know that is not true. Your life is worth more than you know, and there is still time to make a lot out of it.
To live a meaningful life, you first need to realize that it is your life, and you owe it to yourself to make the best out of it.
Focus On The Present
Up to this point, you might be feeling that your life is not worth anything and that you’ve been wasting your time. It’s okay to have felt this way up to this point, but now that you’re reading this, you need to let go of that thought.
You need to realize that you’re not the only one who feels they’re not living a meaningful life. However, focusing on the past will not help your future. You might have made some mistakes in the past or allowed some opportunities to slip past you, but dwelling on it is not going to solve anything.
Many people don’t know how to look ahead. Instead, they spend a lot of time thinking back to what could have been done. Time has gone, and it is in the past now. Overthinking it won’t make it come back, and you end up needlessly punishing yourself mentally and emotionally.
If you’re reading this, then this is a sign that you need to wake up from the past and work towards your future by focusing on the present.
So let’s agree that you’re wiping the slate clean right now, and you’re about to begin a new journey to find meaning and happiness in your life. So let us be the first to congratulate you on moving forward.
Face What Is Important To You
Now that you’ve decided to let go of the past, the next step is to focus on what is important to you. The world we live in is vast, and many things are calling our attention.
It’s unfortunate that the news we hear can seem more bad than good. However, not everything is what it seems, and this outlook can cause depressive tendencies. To counter this, try embracing what is immediate and essential to you in your life. To embrace what is important to you, you’ll first need to identify the things that matter in your life.
When we say you should embrace what is essential to you, it can be an individual or a group of people like your family and friends. It can be your job, your pet, a movement, your religion, or many other things.
Once you’ve identified the essential components of your life, screen out the rest of the world and create a filter. The point is to limit the amount of negative energy that gets to you. It’s easy to fall victim to negative events that don’t directly impact your life, and part of your job is to sort through these emotionally taxing thoughts to determine what is actually relevant to you.
By creating a filter and limiting your exposure to the outside world, you will have more time to build relationships with those who are important to you. You can also reflect on your life and think of constructive ideas to improve your self-worth.
We are often too hung up on the bad that we forget there is still some good.
Identify Your Purpose
“Purpose” is another word we’ve been hearing for a long time. We’re always told to “find our purpose” or “follow our purpose in life,” and so on–but what exactly is our purpose?
People make it sound like our purpose in life is written in an instruction manual when we are born, and we’re supposed to know what it is. This is a misconception, and it does more harm than good.
Your purpose is a goal you wish to achieve with your life, and it is the primary component of living a meaningful life. Living a meaningful life means you’re living your life in a way that accomplishes your purpose.
Our purpose in life doesn’t have to be the same as the next person. In fact, your purpose in life is meant just for you. Some people have their purpose in life from a very young age, but this doesn’t mean it will be the same for everybody.
It can take longer for you to find your purpose, but this doesn’t make you less than others. It can also take a lifetime to find one’s purpose, and the pursuit of a purpose is part of the journey itself. Try as many different things as you can and test the waters for what feels right to you.
The point to remember is that your purpose in life is distinctly tailored for you and by you. If you already know your purpose, good for you, and you can start working to achieve it. Working towards your purpose in life is part of living a meaningful life.
If you find it challenging to identify your purpose, take time to reflect on yourself. You most likely already have a purpose but don’t realize it yet.
You’ve probably already recognized your purpose if you’ve noticed something that you keep thinking about or find yourself working towards. Try embracing this and pursuing it fully. It is likely to bring you joy.
Living a meaningful life is about you, but it isn’t the same as being selfish. Sometimes, what you need to make your life more meaningful is not always contingent on an accumulation of wealth or bettering your own self-worth. It could be the simple act of helping others.
Helping others improve and find meaning in their own lives will also help you build your life.
When people are told to help others, the first thing that comes to mind is financial assistance. However, that is not the only way you can help other people. You can offer several other humanitarian services, and these will go a longer way than money.
An excellent example of non-monetary assistance is your time. You can use your time to help those around you. You can also offer advice and insight to people going through problems you have already experienced. Money can be lost and gained, but lost time cannot be recovered.
While helping others does not require you to give money, money is also an excellent way to impact lives, and you can give if you have the money to give. The point is to leave a positive impact on the lives around you without asking for the same in return. Giving without asking is a gift in and of itself, and the favor is sure to come back to you somewhere down the line.
To give to others and to witness the impact your gift has on their lives is an incredibly gratifying experience that can endow your own life with meaning, with or without praise.
Mind Your Actions
The way those around us view us, especially our loved ones and friends, can affect the meaning we find in our lives. You may have the whole world to yourself, but you can’t claim that your life is very meaningful if you make life more challenging for those around you.
If you want to add more meaning to your life, watch how you treat those around you. You can’t be a grinch and expect people to appreciate you. No matter how much you want to act like it doesn’t matter, the way people view you will always affect you in some way.
Of course, there are many bitter people in the world, and some people will dislike you no matter what you do. However, their opinion shouldn’t affect how you view your life and the meaningfulness of your life.
On the other hand, those who are important to you and are ready to do anything for you are the ones that we talked about in the second point, and you should be mindful of how you treat them. Don’t intentionally do things to hurt people, and if you do, be ready to accept responsibility and apologize.
“One tree doesn’t make a forest.” This quote means that no matter how independent you are, you will still need people around you to thrive. You can tell you’re living a meaningful life when those around you want to be with you and love your company and attitude.
Let Things Go
This point goes hand in hand with the point we discussed above, and you must know how to forgive. Remember that we are all humans, and nobody is without their shortcomings. We all make mistakes, and we’ll inevitably offend each other.
If you’re fond of holding on to offenses and keeping grudges, it won’t take long before you’ve pushed everybody you care about away. You may find yourself alone, desiring the company of others no matter how accomplished you are.
Pushing everybody you care about away is not the only danger of holding onto malice and resentment. Research has shown that harboring anger is not great for your health, and can have long term effects on your bodily and mental wellness.
This life is too short to be focused on little things. Live, love, and let live, and you’ll see your life becoming more meaningful.
Come Out Of Your Shell
Most times, we live our lives in a guarded shell and follow the plans that have been set out for us or what society expects from us. These plans can add meaning to your life.
However, if you’ve been sticking to the plans that were laid out for you and you’re still feeling unhappy, this is a sign that you should follow your own plans.
Humans have a basic instinct to follow the safest route and avoid taking risks. That mentality is mainly for survival, and doesn’t mean you’ll be happy with your life.
If you want to add meaning to your life, you need to come out of your shell. Try following goals you thought were impossible, traveling to places you’ve never been, starting businesses you want to see thrive.
The fact is you will never know if you don’t try. However, if you take the risk, you now stand a chance of achieving something that will make you happy and bring you a step closer to achieving your goals. Don’t worry about failing. Failing is also normal, and will equip you better to succeed in the future.
It’s time to stop wishing and start acting.
Take Out The Trash
When we say to take out the trash, we mean it literally and metaphorically. We mentioned earlier that there are a lot of distractions in the world that we live in, and it is easy to lose sight of our goals and priorities.
If you want to add meaning to your life, you need to eliminate the distractions around you and focus on the activities that will add value. You can start by writing a list of what you need and a different list of things you want.
Keep the list of things you want to a minimum, and arrange them in order of importance. The list of things that you need should only contain the essential things, and this is what you should give priority to. The other list should contain what you want but can do without.
Now that you have both lists, try to consolidate them by finding overlap. Aim to get all you want on the list of things you need. Wanting only what you need will help unburden your life of inconsequential pursuits that distract from your purpose.
Using the list system will help you focus on the important stuff, and you can quickly get rid of the cravings you don’t need.
There is something about having a clear living area that makes it easier for you to think, and clearing out your house is a good way of improving your life. Endeavor to take out the trash and other junk crowding up your living space.
This same principle applies to people. There are some people that you don’t need in your life. We’ll still talk about this at a different point later in the article.
Chase Your Passion
This point sounds like being ready to take risks, but that is not all there is. We often feel we’re not living a meaningful life, even when we do well for ourselves. If you still have this feeling, it is because you’re not doing what you love.
The fact that you have a well-paying job or are living a comfortable life doesn’t necessarily mean that your life is what you want it to be, and there will still be this gaping hole waiting to be filled. If you want to add meaning to your life, find something passionate about and invest your time doing it.
If you don’t know what you’re passionate about, try different things until you find one that gives you joy. You can tell you’re passionate about something when you don’t get tired of doing it.
Also, for those that already know what they are passionate about, don’t let your passion die. Even if you can’t leave your job, school, or current position to pursue your passion, you can use your time off to work on what you love.
We often feel our life doesn’t have meaning because we don’t have plans to follow. Having a sense of responsibility gives meaning to our lives, and we can do that by setting goals.
We recommend that you start with simple tasks. You can start with a workout routine, self-improving habits, or this self-care checklist that you can accomplish every day. Jogging and reading a book are good places to start. The point is to have something that you can look forward to daily that will add value to your life.
Don’t just keep a mental list of these goals: write them out and have a physical copy of the list. Keeping a physical copy of your goals makes them more real, and will provide you with the drive to accomplish them.
You will progressively develop and add more challenging tasks to your list by performing and accomplishing these simple goals. As you continue, you will realize that your life is becoming more meaningful, giving you more things to look forward to.
Allow Yourself To Be Loved
We brought this quote to your attention earlier: “a tree doesn’t make a forest.”
It is easy to feel that our lives lack meaning when we don’t have people around us that can make us feel otherwise. We must let people love us and also help us.
Sometimes, talking to others about how we feel and the dilemmas we’re facing is an excellent way of overcoming a sense of worthlessness.
Watch The Friends You Keep
You need to be careful of the type of people you allow into your life. You don’t need friends that make you feel your life is meaningless, and you really can’t call those people your friends.
Instead, surround yourself with people that love you for who you are and who you can also love for who they are.
We are all in this life together, and we understand that there are innumerable ways to live and find meaning in our lives. No matter how difficult or easy our conditions might be, we still have a responsibility to make the best out of our lives.
We all wish for a meaningful life, and here we’ve given you some practical tips on how to make your life more meaningful. Remember that you’re the one who will determine what constitutes a meaningful life for you, and you owe it to yourself to do that. Take your time, test the waters, respect others, and don’t be afraid of taking risks.