Making Meaning: A Way to Heal After Trauma and Loss

Making Meaning: A Way to Heal After Trauma and Loss

Try to find a group of like-minded individuals who enjoy the same interest that you do. Motivation is useful for activities that are considered dull (e.g., washing the dishes), whereas passion is the driving force for activities that have significance for us. These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word ‘create.’ Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors.

  • Twyla Tharp, one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of the modern era, famously champions ritual as part of the creative process.
  • You can have a series of mini purposes — a collection of goals related to the many things you care about.
  • In my work, I help people creating meaning from even the most adverse experiences by extracting and contributing what they’ve learned and fusing it into their business communication.
  • But when we cultivate meaning, it can lead to feelings of fulfillment, connection, and improved mental and physical health.
  • Dr. Weir created a linguistic technique, originally called Percept, which is now known as ReSpeak.
  • All content on this website, including dictionary, thesaurus, literature, geography, and other reference data is for informational purposes only.
  • At some stage of our time on Earth, we might wonder about the meaning of our life.

Plus, amid climate change and social issues in the globalised world, firms face increased scrutiny around their business practices. Whether companies eschew or lean into the ESG terminology, their investors are increasingly putting pressure on them to act with environmental, social and governance considerations at the forefront ­– no matter what they choose to call it. Dr. John Gottman suggests that couples create shared meaning through the use of rituals, roles, goals, and symbols.

Existentialism and the struggle for meaning

The current fragmented regulatory landscape has also led to lower standards in practice, particularly with smaller firms, according to Rebecca Campbell, global mining and metals lead at law firm White & Case. “They say, we just cannot comply with 10 or 15 different inconsistent sets of standards. So they say this is what we are going to do and this is what you can hold us accountable to” Campbell said. That is usually a lower standard than what regulatory bodies are aiming for, she said.

  • Living a meaningful life and deciding what is meaningful are age-old questions (e.g., Marcus Aurelius wrestled with this question when he was Emperor of Rome from 161 to 180 AD).
  • Simple acts such as greeting and chatting to your neighbors, talking to the vendors at your local stores and neighborhood markets, and participating in neighborhood events will help you to develop relationships with your community members.
  • And this purpose is the path through which you learn to focus your energy on what matters to you, and in doing so, induce meaning onto the bumpy journey of life.

Andrea Brandt, Ph.D, was a marriage and family therapist in Santa Monica, California who brought over 35 years of experience to her roles in family therapy, couples counseling, group therapy and anger-management classes. If you make use of the tips provided here, you really can create more meaning in your life. Regardless of the strategy you choose, kindness is a great way to create more meaning in your life. Here are some examples of meaningful situations that many people experience.

Download 3 Meaning & Valued Living Exercises (PDF)

Simple acts such as greeting and chatting to your neighbors, talking to the vendors at your local stores and neighborhood markets, and participating in neighborhood events will help you to develop relationships with your community members. Centenarians greatly value their social experiences and are actively involved in social events (Wong et al., 2014). Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a “secondary rationalization” of instinctual drives. This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone; only then does it achieve a significance that will satisfy his own will to meaning.

These questions are easily repurposed for other spheres of our lives. Given that the universe is infinite and continually expanding, finding the meaning of life is a comically tall order. But finding the meaning of your life, specifically, can help you remain resilient through illness, trauma, and loss. Meaning acts as an internal compass on the twisting journey of life.

About GoodTherapy

Most important is to find a meaning that makes sense to you and recognize that this meaning might change as you go through different stages of your life. I believe that I am not responsible for the meaningfulness or meaninglessness of life, but that I am responsible for what I do with the life I’ve got. Try to find people who are also learning this language and watch a film in that language together. If you’re in the early stages of developing a new hobby, it might help to express what you enjoy about the hobby. Consider writing a journal entry about what you enjoyed or tell your partner/friends/family members about your new hobby. Embodying the activity into your understanding of your self-concept is one of the first steps toward laying habits (Clear, 2018).

Values represent what we consider essential and what we live for in life. They combine both the core psychological needs of the self and society’s norms. Recent research suggests that people with increased meaning are better off – they appear happier, exhibit increased life satisfaction, and report lowered depression (Huo et al., 2019; Ivtzan, Lomas, Hefferon, & Worth, 2016; Steger, 2009). In The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus (1975), when faced with what he saw as the meaninglessness of existence, suggested we live life to its fullest rather than attempt an escape. These tunnels were once believed to hide religious fortunes deep in their chambers, but the real treasure is found in who – or what – created them. « I explain to my students that there was a time when business was politically neutral, » she says.

Why We Need To Actively Create Meaning at Work

Experiences that force individuals to engage in this critical self-reflection, or what Mezirow called « disorienting dilemmas »,[18] can be events such as loss, trauma, stressful life transitions or other interruptions. One of the many reasons this topic is worth exploring is because we don’t have all the answers. When you attempt to find or create meaning, your first job is to figure out your own perspective of what’s important to you.


Comments are closed.