Viktor Frankl spent three years in concentration camps. Both by observing the other inmates and through his own experiences, he discovered that those who created meaning for themselves were the ones who kept their sanity.
As he said in his book Man’s Search for Meaning,
We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our question must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.
We create our own meaning in life through doing what must be done in each moment, whether it is through raising a child, making a contribution to society or just making someone smile.
Each person finds their own meaning and expresses it in a unique way. One approach is by doing. As a doer, you contribute your time and energy to causes, charities, family, etc. Sometimes you approach meaning by thinking, questioning and introspection. You share your ideas to the marketplace of ideas.
To be continued
©2016 Stephen L. Martin