Decide to Create a Meaningful Life – Part 2

In my previous post, the importance of feeling loved and belonging was discussed. It is the first condition needed to live a meaningful life. The second important condition is having goals that allow you to use your strengths to create states of flow or engagement. This is often referred to as a need for competence or mastery. Pursuing goals allows you to become competent by interacting with or controlling your environment. It is why you get more pleasure from making progress toward a goal rather than actually achieving it. When you make choices that engage your strengths as you are pursuing your goals, you will experience more meaning. For example, Ann realized she could use her strengths of creativity and love of beauty to take flowers from her garden to a shut-in-during the summer. Recently retired, Mike was not using his strengths of fairness and leadership. He joined a committee to create a handbook for new residents at his retirement facility. These choices have helped both of them experience more meaning in their lives because they are engaging their strengths. It is possible to experience meaning in your "work" or what you do. How you view your work will determine how meaningful it is to you. If you feel your work is a calling rather than a job or career, you will feel more fulfilled. It might be having a career, volunteering, being a student or a full-time parent. Whatever you call "work" gives you the opportunity to meet the basic drive of "making things happen" or achieving your goals. If it allows you to use some of your strengths, it will make your life even more meaningful. Action Step: Discover your strengths if you do not already know them. You can ask people you trust what they think your strengths are. You can take the VIA Signature Strengths Inventory at no cost here. What strengths can you use to create more meaning in your life? Choose to use several of your strengths every day. My next post will give you the third condition necessary to have a meaningful life. Comment below on what happens for you when you use one or more of your strengths. To your success, Maurine

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