I have this problem of always searching for why. Why am I here? I understand the greater reason spiritually, but the part about making it through day by day has always seemed to me like there needs to be a purpose. I first found my purpose when I listened to Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In the end, (it might have been the 8th habit version because I think this is the 8th habit) he says, “Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.” I was like YES! But then I was stuck wondering what my voice was. Sometimes I feel like I can go around telling everyone else what they can do to live a better life but my own life is lacking purpose.
This past week I finished reading Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E Frankl. It’s a fascinating book, and I want to share with you my greatest take away. Frankl tells us that if we have a good enough why, we can endure almost any how. In other words, if you have a good enough reason you can do just about anything. Your life is about to get meaningful.
I talk a lot about being mindful, but how about living meaningful? It’s important to live a meaningful life because meaning provides purpose. It’s the reason you get out of bed in the morning. It’s the reason you do the things you do. Living meaningful helps you appreciate and love your roles and all that you have.
Today I want to inspire you to live a meaningful life so you can find purpose in your life. It can be tough, but it will be rewarding. And ultimately, it’s your responsibility to live meaningful. You are here after all.
There are three areas from Frankl that we will go over. He tells us to ask, for what, to what, and to whom am I responsible? Below you will find my interpretation of what came to me as I was reading his book. If your idea is different, that’s fine.
FOR WHAT AM I RESPONSIBLE
- think roles: cook, cleaner, shopping
- ask: what can I do to be a better _____?
- ask: how can I get there my way?
I have good times and bad times. Some weeks I am super on top of the laundry and I have the washer going before 8 in the morning. For some reason, if the washer is going before 8 that usually means that I cooked a good breakfast for the kids and the kitchen is cleaned up because I don’t do well with multitasking. I like to have my kitchen clean before I do any tasks.
But slowly, I start slipping. Especially in the summer. Everyone wakes at different times and breakfast is really drawn out and laundry might not get started before lunch. And I start feeling irritated with everyone and everything.
According to Frankl, if I choose to live meaningful, I should be able to solve this problem. I could do that by maybe starting laundry first and cooking a late breakfast for my kids so they all eat at the same time. That sounds more responsible than having cereal out at four different times and a constant mess until lunch.
Look at your own life and find ways that answer for what you are responsible.
TO WHAT AM I RESPONSIBLE
- think: house, car, property
- ask: what can I do to take better care of _____?
- ask: how can I do that my way?
I have gone through this same thing with my house. For so long it was just a place I lived. I didn’t necessarily like it. I was just here, hopefully only until we had money enough to build our dream house. I didn’t like anything about my house. But we know that isn’t a responsible way to live.
When we started making improvements, I started liking even the old parts that still need to be fixed. I changed my perception. Now I have a better appreciation for my house, and it still needs a lot of work. But I love living here now. It’s amazing what paint can do.
Think about to what you are responsible to and how you can take better care.
TO WHOM AM I RESPONSIBLE
- think: God, self, spouse, children, family, friends
- ask: what can I do to really show up?
- ask: how can I do that my way?
Well, I certainly am not the best example here. When I look at myself I can see every area I need improvement. The glorious part about this is that I know that when I am responsible and I show up for everyone in my life, I will be that much more abundant. I will feel that much more love. And isn’t that the best feeling to have?
Who are you responsible to and how can you show up for them out of love?
BEING RESPONSIBLE GIVES MEANING
If you’re just living day by day, this is going to seem like a lot of work. That’s because it is a lot of work. But here’s the thing. When you know why you get out of bed in the morning, everything is easier. It’s even easier to get out of bed! When you have a reason to get out of bed in the morning, you can deal with almost any how. The way to finding meaning is found through being responsible. It sounds like a paradox.
Meaning is found when you give meaning to life. For some reason it makes me think of that Pinterest quote, ‘If you don’t like where you are, move. You’re not a tree.’ Only, you don’t have to move. Just shake your branches a bit. Dig your roots in a little deeper. Do your job a little better.
Yeah, but what if I don’t feel like it? What if I need a break? I can tell you that after the breakfast mess this morning I was ready to trash this whole post. But if I’m really honest, the whole mess could have been avoided if I would have done things a little better. Or, not even better, just different. Consider that maybe that apathetic feeling is actually because you’re not measuring up to your own standards. Remember this when you dig in to do the work. It’s all about your feelings.
If you are grudgingly cooking dinner because you hate cooking and nobody eats it anyway, it’s probably not going to taste good and you will feel the same way about cooking the next night. So have a frozen dinner. Notice how that makes you feel. How it makes your family feel.
You have to do things your way because you are you. If you do things responsibly your way, you will find purpose. Ask yourself what being responsible will look like and how can you get there your way. Do that, and you will be living a more meaningful life.