Olga Fotin, MA, LPCC

Thinking about the meaning of life and your purpose?

Life doesn’t always turn out the way we hoped or planned. For example, you may have worked very hard for many years to master a skill that is now no longer in demand (perhaps because of automation). Or you may have found out that something that you dreamed about all your life will not be possible (perhaps because of a serious accident or illness).

 You may be unhappy with the person you have become or the choices you have made. You may feel stuck in a relationship or job you do not like. Or you may feel that something is missing in your life but you are just not exactly sure what.

Or you were happy with your life in the past but after the loss of something that used to bring meaning to your life, you struggle to adjust. Profound losses come in many forms, such as losing a child, losing a life partner, losing a house, bankruptcy, or losing a job after working in one place for many years.

Perhaps you just realized that all your life you have been trying to be someone you are not. You may have put a lot of effort into building “a façade” and in the process you lost track of what makes you special.

There are times when life feels like a wonderful journey. However, things don’t stay the same. Every now and then life throws challenges at us that may seem impossible to overcome. There might be periods in life when we may feel that we have lost everything, that life has no purpose, and that there is nothing to look forward to. How to go on in this case?

It’s a lifelong process for all of us to learn how to make the best out of any given circumstances.

Finding your authentic self and accepting yourself for who you really are might be easier said than done. Learning to cultivate your unique talents and strengths is not an easy undertaking but it may open up new opportunities and give a greater sense of self-fulfillment.

We are constantly faced with choices in our life. There are times when we don’t appreciate what we have and are consumed with the chase of what we don’t really need. Sometimes it’s the opposite – we are afraid to leave the security of what we have and launch into a risky journey of searching for something we dream about. Oftentimes it’s not easy to decide whether it’s time to accept or dare to change.

What can help is to remind ourselves what is important for us and how we imagine and wish our life should be. Making choices that are in line with our core values and principles can minimize regrets at the end of our life – regrets about what we did or didn’t do.

What makes one person’s life feel meaningful will not fit others. Each of us has to find our own source of meaning. And finding it once may not be enough. It takes a lot of strength and courage to emerge and re-emerge over and over again despite all of the challenges and obstacles in our way.