Choose a Meaningful Life
Updated: Aug 8, 2020
Sometimes we may feel like we don’t have much, however we always have two things. The first being ‘choice’. We always have an element of choice, if perhaps it may not look like what we want or what we expect. The second factor around choice is ‘meaning’, being what we choose to believe about a thing/situation. Let’s further explore these life factors.
Often it can be difficult to grasp the concept that options are available. When all appears against you, when the bottom of the hole is deep, and you feel there are no choices to have. We have all been to this place more than once and when looking up from the bottom of this hole you may well question what choice you have.
I’m here to let you know that although there are likely factors outside of your control, you do indeed have at least one choice. Let me say that again. We do ALWAYS have choice. If all options are truly completely non-existent, then let’s take a look at what choices are available:
a) You can choose how you think about the situation and what your beliefs are;
I. You can believe that you are at the bottom of the hole and there is no climbing out, or
II. you can consider that the bottom is the furthest you can go; therefore, the only way is up.
b) You can consider that this is a life lesson for you and contemplate what that lesson(s) may be. More often than not once the lesson is realized, the simplicity of options becomes very clear.
Let us look at a couple of examples:
According to CNN, Stephen Hawking was 21 years old when he was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease. “The disease left him paralyzed and completely dependent on others and/or technology for everything: bathing, dressing, eating, mobility and speech. He was able to move only a few fingers on one hand.” (https://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/29/world/europe/stephen-hawking-fast-facts/index.html) Stephen chose to continue his studies, investigations and discoveries, writing/co-writing a total of 15 books. At age 43, Stephen lost his ability to speak due to damage to his larynx from a tracheotomy. In March 2018, Stephen passed on at age 76, surviving the debilitating disease for 55 years. By the time Stephen passed, he had made ground breaking theories/discoveries earning himself a net worth of $20M. (https:/finance.yahoo.com/news/look-physicist-stephen-hawking-net-181045028.html). Stephen Hawking had a choice. Upon diagnosis who could have blamed him if he had given up – in which case we would never have known his name never mind his story. Every day would have been a massive struggle; however, Stephen chose a positive attitude, chose to not only live, to also make a difference.
My own story - 10 years ago, at the very edge of my relationship and ready to walk away, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting an incredible lady called Alison Mooney (www.allisonmooney.co.nz). Allies parting advice to me that night was to “go home and choose to love that man of yours.” I chose to heed her advice and that choice to ‘love’ not only instantly saved my relationship, it created an incredible journey which took my now husband and I to entirely new levels – together. I will always feel indebted to Allison for so much more than I could ever express.
So now that you know you always have choice, what do you choose today?
Nothing has any meaning but the meaning we choose to give it. Tony Robbins
As human beings doing human, we tend to put an emotional meaning to everything. What people say, what people do, natural happenings of Mother Earth and so on. By putting an emotional meaning to everything, we then limit ourselves, our partners, our family and our relationships. We are so often guilty (especially us female of the species) of putting an emotional meaning to an off-hand remark made by our partner, parent, boss… therefore making an incorrect judgement and assumption about what that person feels, thinks or believes. That meaning is carried through life, a historical event which then has the potential to place strain on any relationship. For example; growing up with parents who display high standards and expectations would lead many to believe they are not good enough. “I can’t do that thing”, “I’m not good enough for that” ... you get the picture. So then in older years, its likely you find yourself in a situation where a partner could make a passing comment, one which in their mind is an honest remark… “the potatoes are burnt”, “there is dust on the tv”, “your bum looks big in that”!
Now let’s get this very clear, the intention of the above comments are not to offend. The person who said them simply has made an observation and voiced that observation, the intention was not to insult or wound any person, only to speak the truth as they see it. However; on the receiving end, the meaning ogre comes along and whispers in your ears “you can’t cook”, “you can’t even keep the house clean, can you do anything?” “You’re fat, you’re not good enough”… Are you getting my drift here?
We all have our own story. It is from our own story that we create our very own meaning. Change the meaning and you can change your world.
I leave you with a meditation from Positive Psychology Program. “Meaning is a bag of stones, waiting for us to put it down. Waiting for us to put down the load of expectations, of aspirations, of better times ahead.”