Finding Meaning in Everyday Life
I have a client who is meeting with me because she has been betrayed by her husband. As she moves through therapy to resolve her feelings and rebuild her trust, the focus of therapy has changed. My client proclaimed that she was ready to turn the focus toward enhancing her life, but she felt directionless. She said she was looking for her passion, but she didn’t know where to find it. She confessed that maybe she was watching too much “Oprah” because this was a concept she wanted in her life.
This woman is not alone. There are millions of people who want to find the elusive “meaning” in their life. They believe they are not accomplishing their potential, and they hope that coaching will be a vehicle that guides them to that outcome.
This client was very strong. Her relationship had weathered some challenges, but she had moved through them with integrity. She had three great kids. She worked part-time as an elementary teacher so she could be home with the kids. She was a runner. She had good friends. She had a wonderful personality. With all these assets, where was the passion?
As we explored further, she described her loyalty to her family and her sincere desire to make a difference in their lives. She loved her job. She also loved her husband, even though he had hurt her deeply. She cherished the relationship and looked forward to growing old together.
Since her life was intact in so many ways, I asked her to define passion and what she was searching for. She reported that she wanted to make a difference in life and find meaning in what she did. She was befuddled and confused when I reiterated that it looked like she had found her passion. I explained that the “passion thing” was overrated. Finding meaning in one’s life doesn’t revolve around creating projects that are considered “Nobel Peace Prize winners”. Finding passion was about investing in something that makes a difference. Her desire to have a family, work with her children, create a loving relationship with her husband, and work with children at school met that criteria. Her love of running and keeping her body fit was indicative of her strength to make a difference in her own life.
I reiterated that Oprah had defined an example of a person with passion as simply her cosmetologist, who tweezed eyebrows for a living, because she loved what she was doing.
My client grinned, her face relaxed, as she sunk into the couch. She had worked so hard to find her passion that she had overlooked the meaningful moments of her life. She nodded and said, “I am lucky, aren’t I?” And I just grinned.
The obvious questions to ask yourself are:
• Where do you find meaning in your life?
• Are there ways that you are making a difference in other people’s life?
• Do you contribute to humankind in small ways?
• What sort of satisfaction does this bring you?
• What makes you feel good about yourself?
Notice these events and give meaning to them. The search is not in finding your passion. The search is finding passion in all you do. This requires that you attend to the everyday moments and meet them with enthusiasm and excitement. In today’s hectic life, this can truly be a challenge. Don’t shortchange yourself. Enjoy the moment for exactly what it is…THE MOMENT!