Meaning Over Happiness
Meaning is not something out there that we can find. It’s an experience that we have internally… when my soul is in right relationship to whatever is happening in my life at that moment. ~ James Hollis
I have pondered the terms "happiness", "contentment", "fulfillment" and "meaning" for quite some time. The conclusion I've reached is I would rather aim for meaning in my life than happiness. It's a term that is deeply embedded in my professional identity. In occupational therapy, we assist our clients in their capacity to perform the occupations (activities) that are meaningful to them. Meaning is tied with our values and passions. It exists at a deeper level than happiness. When we are doing or being in a way that is personally meaningful, the byproducts are fulfillment, happiness, and an overall sense of contentment.
That's me with my grandson - delighting in a meaningful occupation!
Sometime around midlife I became more conscious about my values, my Truth, the impact I wanted to have. I opened myself up to new possibilities and my life shifted dramatically. Before long I was travelling to Rwanda regularly to participate in a health training project that had a major impact, saving lives and improving care. I experienced more fulfillment than I had felt in decades.
Ponder for a moment your level of fulfillment. Where in your life are there opportunities for you to create more meaning?
Focusing on what you love, associates passion with what you enjoy and what makes you happy, whereas focusing on what you care about aligns passion with your values and the impact you want to have. ~ Jon M. Jachimowicz Meaningfully yours, Mary Beth