What is the meaning of life? This question is notoriously complex to approach. Could it be the simple answer is that there is no meaning other than living life for its simple pleasures, surrounded by people providing endless love and kindness towards one another? To me, a meaningful life requires a consistent selfless balance between happiness, suffering, and success. It is achieved through the experiences that provide us with the opportunity to feel valuable, purposeful, and impactful.
"There is no one meaning of life, but rather, many sources of meaning, that we all experience day to day, moment to moment, in the form of these connections."
Smith, E. E., & Aeker, J. L. (2013, November 30). Millennial Searchers. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/opinion/sunday/millennial-searchers.html?_r=0
Happiness is a feeling of contentment, that life is just as it should be. Happiness is self-oriented, a personal internal emotion. It can be considered selfish if it is not shared with others. Happiness should be spread like a contagion, assisting others in becoming the best person they can be. Happiness cultivates creativity, self-expression, compassion, energy, and love. Truly sharing and expressing your purest happiness with others is essential to achieving a meaningful life. To me, happiness is feeling loved, respected, and understood. I achieve happiness through my relationships, my interactions with strangers, and my connection with the environment. I spread my happiness through my smile, laughter, and optimistic presence.
Many correlate success with superficial power; a fancy house, a powerful career, a superior paycheck. To me, success is defined by a collection of small, yet important, personal accomplishments. Communicating with my immediate family on a daily basis demonstrates I am a successful daughter and sister. Being able to make mistakes and learn from them means that I am a successful disciple. Continuously increasing my knowledge and actively learning new perspectives illustrates success as a scholar. Being able to change my attitude when confronted with situations in which I cannot change is success. Overall, every experience that provides me with an opportunity to grow is success.
It is a common misconception that suffering should be avoided in its entirety and when it does occur, it needs to be brought to an immediate halt. However, suffering is a necessary and honest emotion. It helps remind us that we are alive and allows us to further tune in to our emotions. It can help us understand our limitations and depths of our being. Experiencing pain and suffering can allow us truly appreciate happiness and success. Everyone experiences suffering in their own unique manner. Being there for others in their time of suffering can help ease the hardship they are enduring. Although we may wish to rid their suffering entirely, this learning process will benefit them in the end. It will help mold them into a stronger individual, providing them with new, life changing prospectives.
This video illustrates that being able to accept the things that we can cannot change and understanding our limits is the first step towards overcoming suffering. Even the smallest gesture, such as dancing with a friend, can help in the most powerful ways. It can provide a temporary scapegoat, allowing a momentary relief.
All life is purposeful. A meaningful life is one in which their is a selfless balance between happiness, suffering, success, love, and respect. To be able to provide love towards others, we must first love ourselves. Therefore, a meaningful life requires being both a taker and a giver. To live a meaningful life is more than just obtaining material riches, achieving your dreams, and attaining success. Living a meaningful life means being content with your decisions at the end of every day, being able to smile because you are loved and love others abundantly, and being able to look back on your life with pride.