I don’t need to be an artist of self-help to know that meaning is important in everyone’s life. Meaning is defined by the dictionary as “full of significance”. (Does that mean my love of shoes is meaningful?)

I recently did a self-assessment to see if I had meaning in my life (which I think says a lot about having so-called meaning if you have to do a quiz to see if it’s there) and found out that I am always on the quest for meaning…and this quest might actually stand in the way of me appreciating meaning in my life.

I feel like, having meaning in your life means you don’t think about it and/or you actively seek out what is meaningful to you and appreciate its presence. I think lack of appreciation leads to a path where you are on a constant quest to find something that you may already have but don’t realize it. (In my case, this might refer to having a million pairs of shoes but still searching for the most perfect pair anyway.)

To me, having a sense of meaning is like having a certain mindset. When I am depressed or sad I think meaning is more important than anything in the world, but when I am feeling good I recognize the things that are contributing to me leading a meaningful life and sometimes take this for granted.

If meaning is a type of mindset then is it possible to switch your mindset from feeling like you’re just swimming in life, trying to keep up, to feeling like you’re exploring your world, trying to learn more?

Absolutely.

Ask yourself:

  1. Is my work meaningful?
  2. Are my relationships meaningful?
  3. Are my experiences meaningful?

And most importantly, WHY are these things meaningful to you? What does meaning represent in your life? Because I can tell you it will be different in comparison to everyone else. We all have different mindsets, different interpretations of meaning, and different appreciation of meaning.

My quest for meaning is driven from uncertainty of both the world and myself, I am sure. I can read all of the self-help books on how to find meaning but only when I sit down and recognize what meaning is to me can I truly decipher meaning in my unique life and use it to push me ahead into the world with purpose, aim, and dedication.

About the Author

Tara Richardson is a Peer Support Specialist at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences in Whitby, Ontario. Her own personal journey through mental illness has led her to be a passionate and dedicated advocate for mental health recovery. Tara is an aspiring author who is in the (long) process of writing and editing her memoir compiled from journal entries beginning at age 11. Tara has a B.A. in Psychology, a diploma in Social Service Work, and a certificate in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Tara can be contacted at: tara_richardson913@hotmail.com Non-creepy fan mail gladly welcomed.