23 Aug Finding Meaning
Have you lost your sense of meaning? Existential crises are internal conflicts that are defined by the sense that life is meaningless in psychology and psychotherapy. This existential dread includes persistent thoughts about the purpose of existence, our place in the universe, and our impending death. Existential dread or anxiety is frequently brought on by uncertainty about how to go in life, worry about the state of the world, or having recently undergone a significant change. Even when we aren’t aware of them, the strains and pains of existence, the anxieties and fears linked with merely living, press upon all of us.
There are advantages and disadvantages to meaning quest in modern culture. Convenience is valued more highly in modern secular culture than meaning-seeking. As a result, meaning seekers can experience a sense of alienation from those around them who do not care about meaning. Additionally, meaning seekers can be a hassle for those who don’t care about them because they tend to make decisions more difficult by introducing moral issues into the equation.
Existential therapy and the quest for meaning
Existential therapy is a type of counselling and psychotherapy with a long history in psychology, psychiatry, and existential phenomenology philosophy. The goal of existential therapy is to help people understand what it means to be human so they may deal with life’s challenges in a creative, active, and thoughtful way to discover new meaning and purpose.
Existential therapy strive to take a phenomenological, all-encompassing approach to a person’s discomfort or suffering. Rather of being viewed as the defining feature of a person’s problems, symptoms are more often perceived as a manifestation of that person’s separation from reality or altered reality.
Therefore, symptoms are viewed by existential therapists as a means of coping with a challenge, a dilemma, or an existential crisis. At all levels, a person’s experience will be taken into account. The history, present, and future of a person will all receive equal consideration. An individual’s increased awareness of their mode of being in the world is facilitated by existential therapists, who also assist them in being more in touch with their concrete physicality, their interactions and relationships, their engagement with their own identity or lack thereof, and their concept of what grounds them.
How people derive meaning from their experience
A perceived lack of meaning can seem crippling, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Be sure to check in with yourself and share your struggles with close friends and family who you can trust. If you’re still experiencing an anxious feedback loop, a therapist can help you figure out how to deal with your feelings and move on.
Existential psychology studies “life’s grand questions” and identifies three major ways that people derive meaning from their experiences.
Long-term goals and a sense of purpose
When behaviour is goal-directed, it takes on meaning, which helps people understand the meaning of life. Additionally, a disciplined approach towards goals encourages people’s capacity for structuring and organizing their lives, thereby fostering the sense of comprehension and order that appears to be essential for appreciating life as meaningful.
A sense that we matter as individuals
This sense of mattering may become more significant to people as they age, maybe as a way to allay mortality fears in addition to other age-related worries.
A perception of life as coherent, and that it makes sense
Life’s coherence is easily challenged. For instance, trauma has the ability to reduce life’s purpose because the experience is frequently at odds with our worldviews, such as the idea that bad things shouldn’t happen to good people. This can subsequently interfere with our sense of coherence. Therefore, maintaining coherence at these moments may be crucial.
Practical steps towards a sense of meaning
- Don’t compare yourself to others
Do you frequently catch yourself evaluating yourself against others? Maybe to a relative, a close friend, or a social media celebrity? Welcome to the club if the response is affirmative. It’s a sad fact that far too many of us must live with it.
Social comparison begins at a very young age. Children immediately learn that not everyone has the same opportunities or experiences as them. They observe how some of their friends have more toys, nicer clothes, or nicer homes. The comparing continues as these kids get older and become teenagers. It frequently becomes worse and develops into negative self-talk. I’ll never amount to it, I’m not good enough, or I can’t do anything right.
- Set some achievable goals
How frequently do you make goals? How frequently do you go back to your list? We all know that setting goals is vital, yet as we go through life, we frequently underestimate their significance. Setting goals doesn’t have to be tedious. Having a set of objectives to strive for has a lot of advantages. Setting objectives enables you to develop new habits, direct your attention, and maintain your momentum in life. A sense of self-mastery and concentration alignment are two additional benefits of goals. In the end, you can’t measure what you can’t manage, and you can’t improve what you can’t manage well.
- Consider your prior achievements
The building blocks that help someone create a sense of success in oneself are accomplishments. The accomplishments that matter the most come together to create a definition of success that is meaningful and substantial to the person. Achievements further offer observable proof that co-workers, rivals, and the general public use to assess a person’s level of accomplishment.
- Deal with conflict within yourself
“Talking with the inner “alter ego” that resides in every one of us may be a very enlightening experience. The aspect of ourselves that protects us is known as our alter ego. It is the inner voice that objects when a person is considering a goal that challenges them. Although both voices have served a protective purpose and have good intentions, you can only learn, develop, and grow if you listen to one of them. Reminding yourself that discomfort is necessary for progress can be a new message to the mind that, with regular repetition, can become very potent.
- Make a connection to a reality greater than yourself
Do you consider yourself to be a part of something bigger than yourself? This is a significant query that most people find challenging to respond to. Many individuals will automatically turn to religion or spirituality when they hear this, which can or cannot be a divisive idea. However, we will need to provide a response to this issue because it may be one of the most significant in your life. People can get stuck in a tough situation with no obvious way out if they don’t believe in something bigger than themselves. They could become disoriented, perplexed, and preoccupied with finding solutions.
You may have also heard people refer to their beliefs as having a source. In some ways, source is comparable to nature; it is an intellect or spark that permeates everything. It gives off the impression that everything originates from it and that it is always aware of what is best. Many people may claim that sounds like a definition of God, and in many ways they are right. However, using the source is more comfortable for those who are uncomfortable referring to what they believe in as God.