May 24, 2023

What is a Life worth Living?

We’ve all been there. That place where you wonder what the point of life is, anyway. It usually comes when we’ve suffered. When we’ve lost someone, we weren’t ready to say goodbye too. When tragedy senselessly strikes. 

Sometimes it’s not even a single incident that puts us in this state of feeling beatdown beyond repair. It can be a compilation of bad days, hurt feelings, and the gnawing sensation that things are never going to get better.

It might last an hour. It might last a day. It might last a month, or it might feel like it’s here to stay. It is a feeling like no other; one that makes us feel weary no matter how much sleep we get, how many times we go to the doctor, or how much our friends and family try to cheer us up.

How do we rediscover a life worth living when it feels like we’ve lost our way?

It is a hard question to answer, particularly when you consider we are all very different people. Yet, we all started in the same place and we all start off with the same basic needs. When we are struggling to find purpose and meaning in life, it’s best to start as we once were: Small.

Small things matter

Life is not a soap opera. We might feel like things get dramatic a lot, but we aren’t finding out our adopted mother is an international jewel thief one day and that we were drugged, and someone swapped our brain with that of our secret twin brother the next. Our lives have lots and lots of small, quiet moments; way greater in number than the big, loud events that often cause us sorrow and grief.

Finding things that make life worth living happens in those small moments. They happen when we remember how to love ourselves and how to pay that love forward to other people, be they friends, family, or even complete strangers.

They happen when we share things with another person – a smile, a hug, a laugh, a kiss, a quiet moment, anything that strengthens our bonds of connection as social beings.

But they also can happen when we are totally alone. When we are reading a book. When we are meditating or enjoying a quiet moment. When we are exercising. When we watch the sunrise or sunset in solitude. 

There are more than 86,000 seconds in a day. An incredible amount of time to find things that make life worth living. To better understand how to create or recreate that sort of feeling in yourself, you can start by asking three big questions.

What is Important to Me in Life?

The part of that question that you must focus on the most is “to me”. This isn’t asking you what’s most important to your parents or your spouse or your peer group or your boss or anyone else. What’s most important to you? There is not a wrong answer, only dishonest ones. Take time and think about your life and what things matter the most to you. Family, friends, the freedom to do what you want? The answer can be anything, as long as you can look yourself in the mirror and know that it’s the truth. Knowing what’s most important in your life is the foundation for how you start to create that life. If you are living for someone else or living to live up to someone else’s ideal of what type of person you should be, you will struggle to be happy and you will constantly feel like you are being dragged down by the weight of trying to be perfect in someone else’s eyes.

What Type of Person Do I Want to Be for the Rest of My Life?

Make sure you understand that this is a very different question than defining what you think of yourself right now. If you are in this head space, you are probably not happy with your life and often that unhappiness stems from what we think about yourselves.  Put those negative views of yourself to the side. They are in the past. You are living in this moment right here. Shut out all other distractions and consider what type of person you would like to be going forward in your life. Remember, don’t worry about making other people happy, this is about you and you alone. Again, there are no wrong answers, only dishonest ones. Do you want to be rich? Physically fit? Successful? Loved? Respected? Someone who gives to charity? Someone who creates? Define the version of yourself you want to be. Write it down. Put the words on paper and put the paper somewhere you can see it every day. Start believing in the power of those words and start envisioning how you’re going to make them come true.

How Do I Want to Spend My Energy On for the Rest of My Life?

Life is a struggle for all of us. We make bad choices. We get into bad relationships. We feel pulled down by the weight of childhood trauma. We fall into addictions and feel like we’re never going to get out. We don’t like our jobs, or we can’t find a job. If you’re here, you know very distinctly what things make you unhappy and that you don’t want to waste anymore of your time being a part of. In order to get those negatives out of your life, you have to find something to replace them with. Otherwise, you’ll fall right back into your old habits. So instead of spending an hour obsessing about what your former partner is posting on their social media page, take a walk through your neighborhood and enjoy the sensations of sunlight and fresh air and the natural high that exercise brings. The next time you feel compelled to have a drink or a smoke or some other behavior that you associate with feeling bad about yourself, call a friend, call a relative, spend time with a pet, or do whatever it is that you find joy in. Build on that feeling. Practice habits that make you feel good, not that you want others to notice that you’re doing. When you engage in positive behaviors that give you satisfaction, you start creating good habits that have you looking forward to each new day, rather than dreading what might be coming next.

In Conclusion

Life can get hard in a hurry. There are times in all of our lives when we question all of it, and in those times, we need a plan to help us take care of ourselves, love ourselves, and find ways to find a light in the darkness and remember all the good things about ourselves.