A Meaningful Life: Self-Actualizing, Purpose-Driven, a Meaningful Life—How they Work Together

https://pixabay.com/en/clasped-hands-comfort-hands-people-541849/
https://pixabay.com/en/clasped-hands-comfort-hands-people-541849/

 

We’ve talked a little bit about self-actualizing versus a purpose-driven live versus a meaningful life. I discovered a book that does a good job of explaining their relationship to one another: The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith.

According to the author, purpose is what you’re driven to do—your mission in life. Meaning is the reason why it’s important to you, why you must do it. Self-actualization is fully using your talents, skills, and abilities, as well as delving deeper to discover the hidden treasures within. It’s by these attributes working together that one builds a life that matters, where the person feels that he/she is making a difference in the world.

This thought of leading a purpose-driven and meaningful life seems daunting. We think of Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., and other notable and famous people involved in great humanitarian works.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=25734&picture=child-and-books
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=25734&picture=child-and-books

One of the librarians at the town library is well past retirement age yet she’s compelled to keep working at the library. She delights in introducing patrons to new authors or book genres; it makes her feel good to help patrons select books that can comfort them or increase their knowledge or improve their lives. She derives a lot of satisfaction from her job.

It isn’t always easy for her. Sometimes patrons can be a pain in the neck, other times it’s the library board and the hair-brained ideas they want implemented, and then there’s the town with their unending pressure to reduce expenses…. In spite of these challenges and annoyances, she’s happy. She feels useful and that her life matters because she’s helping others enrich their lives. She has a purpose—a reason to get out of bed in the morning; she’s making a difference.

The librarian’s renown is nowhere near that of Mother Teresa’s, however, the librarian is living as rich, as rewarding, and as meaningful of a life as Mother Teresa did.

Copyright 2014 Artisans Workshop Designs
Copyright 2014 Artisans Workshop Designs

I also know of a woman who has a lovely garden every year. She derives a lot of satisfaction and happiness from selecting the right plants for a particular area, coordinating the colors and the blooming times of the flowers she plants so that there’s always something blooming in her garden. It’s only her family and a few neighbors seem to benefit from the results of her labors—she isn’t a member of the garden club, she doesn’t participate in competitions or enter her garden into the annual house and garden tours. But she’s fulfilled and content—her life has meaning and direction. And joy.

Every year, a local father-daughter team has a booth at our local Village Fair Days where they sell their handcrafted birdhouses. Their little business started out as the father’s desire to reconnect with his daughter who was grown with a family of her own. He remembered times he and his daughter fed the birds at home when she was a child and, one thing led to another, and they now have this little business of making delightfully whimsical birdhouses.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Sialia_sialis
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Sialia_sialis

Whether they make a lot of money or not is beside the point. The point is that they’ve reconnected by rekindling their love of birding. And, they now get to share that interest and love with other fathers, daughters, sons, and mothers. They have meaning, direction, sharing, enjoyment, and lots of love in their lives.

When you think of your own life and how to make it meaningful, don’t think you have to “go big or go home”. You can be like the librarian, my friend the gardener, and the father-daughter team and keep your efforts local.

Are there small ways you can add meaning and purpose to your life? Feel free to share in the comments below. Thanks! Tomorrow we’ll talk a little more about ways to add meaning into your life right here and right now.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

A Meaningful Life: What Does That Mean?!

 

As I mentioned in my first ever video (!!) , this week we’re going to be talking about A Meaningful Life.

You might remember a few months ago we talked about self-actualization as described by Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need. According to Maslow, humans have needs that can be pictured as a pyramid with the wide bottom level being concerned with fulfilling survival needs such as adequate shelter and enough food to eat, and the top level being all about self-actualization.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit and, while I didn’t do any kind of scientific study, my observations have indicated that no matter how successful we are or are not, no matter how old or young, and no matter where we live in the world, everyone is always interested in self-actualization. I’ve come to believe that we’re hard-wired to self-actualize regardless of our life situation, condition, or location. It seems to me that this urge is part and parcel of our survival instinct, which makes it just as important to us as finding enough food to eat, having adequate shelter, and keeping ourselves warm and safe.

https://pixabay.com/en/i-love-myself-text-words-love-me-417267/
https://pixabay.com/en/i-love-myself-text-words-love-me-417267/

All of us, from the moment we’re born until the time we leave this earth, want to live life on our own terms. We want to be individuals—unique, one-of-a-kind, and irreplaceable. When we’re young, we feel ourselves brimming with untapped potential and each one of us wants to go to our grave totally spent—our gifts and talents completely used up—but, oh the experiences…the memories! The depth and richness of them will last us through eternity.

With our ever-present drive to self-actualize, I’ve wondered why Maslow put it at the top of the pyramid. Perhaps he did so because once the “lower” instincts are reasonably satisfied, we don’t have any distractions from this urge. Especially when we get to “a certain age”, typically once we enter the empty nest years, this need becomes nearly a force of nature—we can’t stop ourselves from thinking about it and striving for it, at least on some level.

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=65126&picture=background-647 & Artisan Workshop Designs
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=65126&picture=background-647 & Artisan Workshop Designs

This is why it’s so important that we figure out what self-actualization, being purpose-driven, and living a meaningful life signifies to us.

As I said at the beginning of this post—and in my first ever video!—this is what we’ll be talking about all week. Come back and join the conversation!

As always, feel free to pass this post along to a friend. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

A Hundred Ripples

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michael_Melgar_LiquidArt_resize_droplet.jpg

 

Today is Sunday and, most likely, a lot of us will spend at least part of the day with family and/or friends. We all have high hopes that our time with our loved ones will be uplifting, refreshing, and fun. Sometimes it isn’t. On those occasions when the experience is less than we expected, here’s a poem to keep in mind:

 

A Hundred Ripples

 

Drop a stone into the water

In a moment it is gone

But there are a hundred ripples

Circling on and on and on.

Say an unkind word this moment

In a moment it is gone

But there are a hundred ripples

Circling on and on and on.

Say a word of cheer and splendor

In a moment it is gone

But there are a hundred ripples

Circling on and on and on.

~ Author Unknown

 

 

This poem is a good reminder that our words can live on in the hearts and minds of others long after the sound of the words has faded away. We all struggle with the careless words that others have said to us that still reverberate in our lives today, even years later. We also know how an encouraging word, even in passing, has buoyed us all these years.

Today and this week, let’s make a pact to choose our words carefully. I hope you join me!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Be True to You – A Poem

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http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=1961&picture=pot-of-gold and Artisans Workshop Designs

 

Be True To You 

As you set out on life’s road
unsure of the path you’ll go,
the most important thing you can do
is to always be true to “you”

Always remember who you are
in moments of struggle or fear.
Never forget or give up on
the hopes and dreams you hold dear

There will be setbacks and rejection
and moments of failure too,
but you must overcome any frustration
to achieve the potential of you.

Don’t forget to smile, or laugh,
or to live in the present;
no matter where life takes you
make every memory pleasant.

As you travel along your journey,
know that you’re never alone
and I’ll always be here for you
should you need the comfort of home.

~Unknown

 

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Finally Friday! Review Your Week

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https://pixabay.com/en/resolutions-ideas-intentions-plan-1143319/

 

This is the last weekend in February. We’re heading into March, which is the last month of the first quarter of 2017.

How are you doing on your goals and resolutions for 2017?

Whether you abandoned them after the first few days of January, or if you find yourself going in another direction, it’s never too late to pause, re-evaluate, and begin anew.

If you aren’t pursuing your goals and resolutions, is it because “you’re eyes are bigger than your stomach” –you’ve bitten off more than you can chew? If so, is this because you haven’t broken the steps into small enough baby steps so that they can easily fit into your busy schedule?

Do you need to be more realistic and to choose one primary goal and, perhaps, one or two lesser goals for the year? Do you need to slow down and take the steps at a more reasonable pace?

Have you abandoned your goals because either they are someone else’s goals you’re trying to achieve or you’ve watered your goals down so as not to offend or upset others, but now you’re left with goals and “dreams” that you couldn’t care less about?

Are you too intimidated by your goals and resolutions? Will they cause you re-evaluate how you view yourself, requiring you to update your narrative about yourself, and you find this terrifying?

What are other reasons that are stopping you from moving toward your goals and dreams in baby steps?

Let me know in the comments below and we’ll talk about it. We’ll brainstorm and come up with strategies, tips, and techniques that we all can use to help ourselves.

Thanks for your help with this!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Quotes to Inspire You

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https://pixabay.com/en/dust-doorway-door-window-sunlight-1523106/

 

Need some inspiration? Here are a few more quotes:

 

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. ~Confucius

 

Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it. ~David Star Jordan

 

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ~Helen Keller

 

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. ~Stephen King

 

In essence, if we want to direct our lies, we mist take control of our consistent actions. It isn’t what we do once in a while tat shapes our lives, but what we do consistently. ~Tony Robbins

 

Defeat my serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out. ~Edwin Markham

 

Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do. ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

 

Use what talent you possess; the woods would be very quiet if no birds sang except those that sang best. ~Henry van Dyke

 

Why should you continue to go after your dreams? Because seeing the look on the faces of the people who said you couldn’t do it, will be…priceless! ~Kevin Ngo

 

Which quote(s) did you like best?

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Quotes to Boost You Beyond Hesitation!

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_080823-N-9818V-375_Runners_take_off_from_the_start_line_of_the_fourth_annual.jpg

 

Perhaps in the following quotes, there is one that resonates deeply with you and boosts you past your hesitation so you take the next step.

 

It is even better to act quickly and err than to hesitate until the time of action is past. ~Karl von Clausewitz

 

It’s all right to hesitate if you then go ahead. ~Bertolt Brecht

 

You can hesitate before deciding, but not once the decision is made. ~Jose Bergamin

 

The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls. – Elizabeth Cady Stanton

 

He who hesitates is a damned fool. ~Mae West

 

Make up your mind to act decidedly and take the consequences. No good is ever done in this world by hesitation. ~Thomas Huxley

 

To the timid and hesitating, everything is impossible because it seems so. ~Sir Walter Scott

 

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren