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Is life worth living


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I've discussed this a lot here and elsewhere in life.

Unless you are religious, then a consensus many come to is that life doesn't have an "inherent" point/ meaning, you have to "give" it one.

The point/ meaning you give your life ist the point/ meaning it will have.

What do you think the meaning of (your) life should be?

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I was just thinking about your question a lot and there's a few things I'd like to say, but I'm having trouble concentrating today, so I may have to write several shorter posts and it may come out muddled - sorry!

The first thing is this: I think the meaning/ point of life is often quite "arbitrary".

When we are young, often we kind of "adopt" whatever point/ meaning our parents/ family/ society has given us.

Often, we'll just happily bumble along, following that meaning/ point, until we run into trouble.

So for many of us, initially we'll have the point/ meaning to do okay at school, to get a job we like and that we are good at, to do well at life, to be a decent person, maybe to start a family of our own.

Usually, we'll just follow some arbitrary point/ meaning/ goal like that - until we run into trouble.

That could be health reasons, mental health reasons, financial, job-related, relationship problems, whatever.

And then suddenly, our previous point/ meaning/ goal isn't achievable anymore or isn't relevant anymore or doesn't feel right anymore.

I think the thing is this: the meaning/ point/ goal in life is a moving target. It's never just "one thing" for life, and that's it.

I think as we grow as human beings, the meaning/ point/ goal has to evolve.

And I sometimes wonder whether people realise that. Or whether they think just having one meaning/ point/ goal is normal and they can just follow that for the rest of their life.

I think in life we naturally "out-grow" our previous meaning/ point/ goal.

For example, if someone's goal/ meaning/ point has been to raise their children, then when their children move out and start their own lives, there's a big "hole" left, which needs to be filled with new meaning.

Or when people whose meaning/ point/ goal was their job - when they retire, they need to define a new life meaning for themselves.

Those kind of (non-traumatic) transitions are really challenging!

So the kind of traumatic transitions we are faced with when dealing with physical or mental illness and financial or job-related crises or relationship breakups - they are sooooo much harder to deal with!

The loss of your previous meaning/ point/ goal in life can feel very traumatic and empty.

And depression/ anxiety can make it so much harder to sculpt and create a new meaning/ point.

But I think that that is exactly what you have to do.

Give your life a new meaning/ point that now incorporates where you are at.

Mental health and illness has now become a defining force in your life, so any new meaning/ point is probably going to play a role... for example your new meaning/ point might be "overcoming mental illness" and learning to live in equilibrium and learning to like yourself.

I'll reply to the meaning you named in your post, in my next post...

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24 minutes ago, lackluster said:

I guess to give as much as I can and make other people happy. But at this point I'm kind of done. I'm not suicidal but I just don't feel like being in life anymore if that makes sense 

So, I think that's a very admirable meaning/ point/ goal.

But I'd like to suggest an amendment:

How about saying instead: The meaing/ point of life should be that we all give as much as we can and that we all contribute to making each other happy. And that whoever is feeling strong right now should be helping to look after whoever is feeling fragile right now.

I think life is never just about "giving". It's about "receiving" too.

Sometimes we are strong and can give to others.

Sometimes we are fragile and need to receive from others.

Seeing as you are fragile right now, maybe you could look at the developmental growth step of learning to "receive" when you are in need. And learning to spend your time with people who give to those who are fragile (including to you at the moment).

Maybe the point/ meaning right now is to learn that you (or anyone else) can't ALWAYS be strong. Sometimes we are in need and we are fragile.

Maybe the point/ meaning is learning that we are still valuable human beings when that happens.

Maybe the meaning/ point is learning to live with the balance of give-and-receive.

Maybe the meaning/ point right now is that you learn a bit about what "suffering" in life is about, so you can understand everyone else on the planet who has suffered and who is suffering. Maybe this will make you a more compassionate person, who knows suffering is incredibly difficult.

Maybe the meaning/ point is learning how to find help and support when you need it.

Maybe the meaning/ point is receiving good stuff so you can pay it forward to others, later on.

There are so many possibilities.

But they will in all likelihood be NEW.

IMO you will have to create wholly NEW meaning for your life.

It probably won't relate much to the meaning you had in your life, before you got depression.

Like a snake shedding its skin, we can't cling onto the past developmental stages we have gone through.

We have to let go of the past a bit, to move on in the present and into our future.

Creating new meaning is a challenge, but also an adventure.

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So - this is my last post for now ... ; )

I'd like to add/ express where I'm standing right now re meaning.

As described above, I've gone through several stages of meaning/ point in my life.

There have been common themes, that interconnect them, but they have been quite distinct phases.

I am 40 now, and I would definitely say that each decade of my life so far has had a very different "guiding star" which has been the theme of that stage of my life.

Currently, I'm in a bit of a weird phase (I'll explain why)...

In my mid 30's, I could feel my "mid-life" phase starting. I knew I wanted to make deep and profound changes.

I could feel the first chapter of my life drawing to a close and the second big chapter of my life starting.

I did make all those changes (and it's been an amazing, intense, unexpected and wonderful journey).

On this journey, I met the person who I thought was the love of my life.

I've never, ever, ever been in love like I was with this man.

This relationship changed my life and we were both sure we'd spend the rest of our lives together.

I changed everything in my life to fit with this relationship. I left no stone unturned.

I knew he was "the one" and my entire life melted with his and it became "our life".

The thing is, he has mental illness too (depression, anxiety, BPD, trauma, agoraphobia, BDD, etc) and he refused to seek treatment for any of it - and to make a long story short - it smashed our relationship into a million pieces.

It's the most spectacularly painful thing I have gone through in my entire life, other than childhood trauma.

The last 2 years, I've just been trying to survive the breakup. I was sobbing daily, just trying to survive, survive, survive.

I couldn't believe any of what had happened and didn't know how to keep existing.

In that phase, the only meaning/ point to my life was "I will not let a relationship with a broken man ruin my life."

I just figured that I had not done 20 years of therapy (including trauma therapy) to fix my life, only to have it smashed to pieces by a crappy relationship.

I'm a fighter and I can be very determined and determination is what got me through that phase.

I just REFUSED to have a broken relationship break my life.

Now I am over that relationship, but there's still a weird "vacuum" as regards meaning/ point/ purpose/ goal/ etc.

My meaning/ point of "surviving the breakup" has now dwindled away, as I have recovered and healed.

But NOW, I have no idea what I want to "do" with the rest of my life!

I have a job I like, I am doing a big non-profit project for stuff I love and believe in...

But none of it currently *feels* like "this is it". Like "this is the meaning/ point of my life".

That was robbed when my ex tore apart "our life" and now I need to find/ rebuild something new.

From scratch.

And I think that's normal.

That's what we all need to do, in life, at different times.

Is it hard? Yup

Is it daunting? Absolutely

And as you said, maybe you just don't have the energy/ strength right now, to create meaning/ purpose that is about you being "active" or "strong" or "giving".

Maybe right now "healing" is all you can do, and that's okay IMO.

Maybe right now "healing and then coming to a new phase that will have a new sense of meaning/ purpose again" is where you need to be at, and to be patient with that.

As for myself, your question has made me be more aware that it's time for me to give serious thought to the question "what will be the meaning/ purpose of my life in the next 10 - 20 years" now that the love of my life no longer exists and "my life" is no longer part of "our life".

I truly have NO idea right now.

But I have to prod my soul, so that my soul gives me some answers.

I have to ask my soul "where do you want to journey to next in this weird and wonderful universe?"

I have to ask my soul "what are you hungering for? what should I seek?"

I have to ask my soul "what are you dreaming of? what are you yearning for? how can I get as close to that dream as possible?"

I believe the things our soul dreams of/ yearns for has MEANING.

I think our soul is kind of "poetic" tho - so we can't necessarily reach those things LITERALLY in life - we have to be smart at deciphering the poetic metaphors of our soul and then finding real-life, pragmatic, workable ways of attaining those poetic metaphors.

I like listening to my soul, to hear what it is whispering to me.

It always has interesting things to say.

Sometimes I think "OMG that is IMPOSSIBLE"

But if I get creative/ flexible/ smart,  I usually find a way of helping my soul reach its dreams in a way that makes my soul feel at peace.

Edited by Sophy
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Thank you Sophy. I'm def trying to be more positive in my life. I'm 25 about to be 26 soon and I'm just not feeling that great about life you know. If I fail then I'm done. I  most likely gonna end up a homeless guy on the street. I dont really have much family I can call on cause a lot of them are pretty selfish. I'm just tired of living ya know. I hurt my best friend with my actions recently and I'm feel like an failure. 

Just feeling low all the time sucks. I'm literally drinking as I type this

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Yeah, I get it.

I think this sounds like an amazing time to search for new meaning then.

Maybe seeking non-selfish people to share your life with would be a good start.

And finding a place that truly feels like "home", so you don't end up being homeless.

It took me til 40 to find a place that feels like home. Previously, I just had an apartment where I lived, but it wasn't home.

Learning to accept your flaws (we all have them!!) and to love yourself regardless might also be a pretty good goal.

When our life stops "working" it often forces us to search *deeper* and *wider* for meaning.

Often what we find there is so much more valuable than what we had to start with.

These painful phases in life can *truly* make us better and stronger and wiser and deeper people than we were before, even if it seems like senseless pain and struggling at the time.

Keep asking your soul where it wants to go.

And make sure you listen. Cos in my experience, souls usually whisper, so it's easy to miss what they have to say.

And, yeah, I've used alcohol to numb pain too at times.

I wasn't drinking heavily last year - but drinking for stress relief just a bit too often.... : /

So 2018 is alcohol-free for me!

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Yeah. I'm just doing it for a while (12 months) to force myself to come up with other/ healthier stress-management techniques.

I dunno about you, but I find "being nice to others" much easier than "being nice to myself".

So with things like low-self esteem, I try to approach it like this:

I think every living being on the planet has an inherent worth.

I want every living being to be as happy/ pain-free as possible.

Every living being on the planet includes "me".

If I care about the welfare of chickens in mass-farming (which I do) then I have to care about me too.

Because I'm a living, sentient being just like they are.

Tuning into that "self-compassion" has been very challenging for me.

But I knew if I didn't do it, I'd never get anywhere.

There's some beautiful work by Kristin Neff on self-compassion - including guided meditations.

Learning to like ourselves - even with our flaws - can be one of the biggest challenges of all.

And a life changing experience.

I'm still learning it too - I don't get it right all the time.

But I have learned to love myself as much as I love my dog - and I love him lots.

And to laugh about my flaws, at least on most days.

I'm sure you'll get there too.

Listen to your soul.

Your soul knows that drinking is only a bandaid solution to feeling better about yourself.

Yah, sometimes bandaids help for a bit.

But only for a bit.

And then you need to do the heavy lifting that makes your life be about what you care about.

I definitely think you can do it and I believe in you.

If your energy is low right now, that's okay.

Try and find enough peace so you can re-charge your batteries a bit.

Sometimes we need to be in a cocoon for a while and to grow on the inside and to ignore the world for a while.

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