Almost always when we feel low, stressed, and disillusioned, there is an element of the meaning of life not being pronounced either in the moment or in totality in our lives. Interestingly, the state of meaninglessness affects not just people who lack purpose, but even those with purpose, depending on certain contexts.
When we live without answering this question: “What’s the meaning of life?”, we invariably get to the state of disillusionment where we are not fulfilled. This is notwithstanding what we have done, what we have amassed, and whom we have related with. As it is, the meaning of life is what makes life worth living.
Somewhere around 2020, a young Ugandan girl took her life in bizarre circumstances. Exam results were out and apparently, she didn’t perform well. Either her parents or her friends and relatives made fun of her performance. She took her life.
It is probably safe to say that this girl felt like meaning in life revolved around her academics and her performance therein. When this ‘meaning’ was taken away from her or when she couldn’t attain it, life became meaningless to her.
Have you ever considered how deep it is for someone to embrace death and take their own life? I have never really considered taking my life, but many times, I have wanted ‘not to be alive’. At each of those moments, I didn’t see meaning in my life at all.
At times, you want to live in a bubble where there are no struggles, no pressure, no effort needed, and yet all is well. 100% of the people who feel this way at one point in their lives or another are those who have issues with their ‘meaning’ in life. As already mentioned, such a circumstance could just be that—at a point in time, or it could be that life in its entirety lacks meaning.
We, therefore, need to learn how to start to inject meaning into our lives. Life is not consistent with activities that lack meaning. Life has been structured in such a way that the things we do, the people we relate with, the things we accomplish, and the persons we become, all are driven by meaning.
We also need to realize that this meaning will come with responsibility, pressure, demands, accountability, and the need for us to expend effort. I am sure we do not have a problem with the above. Daily, we are under pressure, we are taking responsibility for things, we are in motion trying to make a living or to survive.
Where the rubber meets the road is when we are doing all these things devoid of meaning. We have to be special in all the species available on earth. There has to be meaning for the human being within the activities that he is doing daily.
However, if all we are doing is to take action and there is no “worthy cause” or meaning attached to our actions, what we gain from that way of life is only momentary. Soon enough, the ‘high’ wanes off and we are back to questioning our very existence.
To be honest, questioning the reason for our existence is a good thing and I am going to talk about that at some point in this mini-series. You will also find that even when you have meaning and you are pursuing it in life, you are not necessarily exempt from the feelings of disillusionment and emptiness. We shall talk about that later.
The silent epidemic that is making people stressed, depressed, disillusioned, unmotivated, and uninspired is perhaps the lack of meaning in life. It is the emptiness of the spirit. The interesting thing is that you can have your house, bans, car fuel tank, bank account, and all our ‘containers’ in life full but still our hearts are empty. The culprit is the lack of meaning.
Frankly, I do not know what is worse: An empty spirit/heart but full ‘containers’ or empty or no containers and an empty spirit? People would prefer to have things at face value even if their hearts are empty. Somehow, things tend to temporarily fill the void of meaning in life.
That’s why you see people attached so much to their things than to meaningful relationships, their things than a worthy cause, and their things than a life of meaning. Chances are that as we speak today, most people would rather get ‘containers’ and fill them than live a life of meaning. It appears that that is all we are doing in life. However, a day of reckoning is always forthcoming. Even as that day approaches, our hearts are always whispering to us to course-correct, to get our feet on the road of meaning. In the next five articles.