Is happiness the purpose of life?
Human-beings are meaning seeking creatures. If we are building a foundation on happiness, it will be quick to sink.
One must practice the thing which produces happiness, since if that is present we have everything and if it is absent we do everything in order to have it. — Epicurus
While happiness is an emotion felt in the here and now, it ultimately fades away, just as all emotions do: positive affect and feelings of pleasure are fleeting. The amount of time people report feeling good or bad correlates with happiness, but not at all with meaning. Meaning, on the other hand is enduring. It connects the past to the present to the future. — Emily Esfahani Smith
All of the intense pressure to feel bliss is making us chase the wrong thing, Smith argues in her book “The power of meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters” Studies show that the pursuit of happiness actually makes people unhappy, as we seem to be yearning for something deeper. “When you’re on your death bed and reflecting back on your life, what you are going to be proudest of are the things that made your life meaningful. You won’t necessarily regret not being happy, but you’ll regret if you don’t lead a meaningful life.”
Meaning often comes from doing hard things. There are so many ways to add meaning and significance in our daily lives, if we only look for them.
How do you create a meaningful life?
Focus on the relationships.
Look for moments of connection with everyone around you. That means romantic relationships, friends, colleagues, children, even the guy you makes your coffee in the morning at the local coffee shop. Spend a few minutes and actively connect – human to human. Try to make someone else smile. We all need to feel like we belong.
Don’t look to money for happiness.
I don’t think we can say it any better than His Holiness the Daili Lama: “The ultimate source of meaning is within us. Not money, not power, not status Some of my friends are billionaires, but they are very unhappy people. Power and money fail to bring inner peach. Outward attainment will not bring real inner joyfulness. We must look inside.”
Finding your “why” in life is key. Purpose is meaning. If you don’t know what your strengths are, try taking an online personality test. Purpose can simply be a shift in perception. Purpose is an opportunity for growth, a way to help others. What truly makes life worth living is meaning. Your purpose is why you get out of bed everyday, and that can be as simple as “I am grateful to be alive because I get to support my family in creating a life they love.”
Create a routine that is just for you. Don’t reach for your phone for 30 minutes after you wake up. Don’t go straight into action and reaction mode. Allow. Be. Take a walk in nature. Sip peacefully on your morning tea. Wake up even 15 minutes early and set an intention for your day. Try to create a daily routine that you can stick to — and do it. Every singe day. Create meaning in the simple things. Find joy in your natural passions.
Do what you can today to create a meaningful life. Happiness will be an automatic by-product!
We wish you joy on your journey!
We would love to hear your ideas for creating a meaningful life. Let’s create more connections! Leave a comment below that may help spark an idea for someone else.