What I tell myself when life feels empty

To start, I’m 16 and I’m still learning English, thank you for your patience on my grammar issues. Besides, I’m still learning about life, so I maybe write different things in my texts.

I’m writing this text as a future meditation for myself and maybe you, whenever I feel empty, without meaning and motivation to go on in life. Life is tough for all of us, we are facing different and deep problems each day, it’s impossible to do not face problems and not feel empty. But we can overcome it if we think on the things below:

The Real Meaning of Life

In the end of July of 2017, I wrote a text which I said I was so anxious about what would come next in my life: Physics Olympiad, projects’ presentation, and other stuff. Then, everything I wrote there I accomplished. I got a medal in the Olympiad, my social project pilot succeed and I had incredible opportunities ahead: travelling to Colombia to help build video material sharing my experience for the creation of Latin American Leadership Academy, having incredible moments on a travel with friends in Cananeia, amazing one too with my family in Bonito, discovering that I’m going next month to New York represent my country in the Youth Assembly at United Nations and being last week in the rural zone of Sao Paulo to rest my mind and work in peace.

Although I discovered I was lost, exactly a day before I’m writing this text (it is 3 am and I’m not really up to sleep). It took time to found out. Reflecting last week, I felt that I did all of those things above, but I wasn’t fulfilled. Everything I did last semester I had a true why before it, but only when I started. In the middle of the process, I forgot the meaning of those things to me ’cause I was so overwhelmed. Why were them so important. What good things it would give to the world. I was doing “to do lists”. I forgot the meaning and I felt like a robot. A week full of meetings, saying the same project’s strategy to different people, but why I was doing those things? I couldn’t find an answer, even I knowing it was very simple. Then I realized something very important:

Life has no meaning to discover. People tell ourselves that we need to find meaning to our life. That’s bullshit. There is no scientific proof that you were born to be a vlogger or a bank manager, for example. Instead of finding, we need to create. It doesn’t exist unless we create it. But, one thing that I couldn’t take off my head for just one minute is: how can we create meanings to live?

Emily Esfahani Smith, master of Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, describes life’s meaning in four pillars on her book “The Power of Meaning” and her famous TED Talk “There’s more to life than being happy”. These are: Belonging, Purpose, Transcendence and Storytelling.

Belonging

Have you already heard about being part of something bigger than yourself? So, yeah, this is belonging.

It goes from being a part of your family to belong to your high school soccer team. It’s about an union, and it can be denied too.

Sometimes we search for belonging from others and do not be accepted as asking someone to date. We need to search for belonging, but sometimes we don’t choose what answers we receive.

Purpose (s)

For me, it’s the most interesting of the four. Her definition of purpose is “using your strength to serve others”. How we contribute and feel needed. By doing that, of course not being a slave.

Ryan Holiday defines is his amazing book “Ego is the enemy” what Purpose is. “Purpose is about pursuing something outside yourself as opposed to pleasuring yourself”. Therefore, he adds that it is passion with a brain. We are more realistic and committed to others following purposes we have along life. We have a true and complete why behind it, not letting it blind and ruins ourselves.

It can be something big or simple, purpose is greater when you are authentically yourself. Your life’s purpose could be raising a child or try to change the world, no matter what it is, what matters is the why behind it and the commitment to others.

It isn’t the whole meaning of life, but it is why we want to live.

Transcendence

It is what some call “flow”. Represents a state of mind where you are out of your reality. You forget about time. She said the moments when she feels that is when she writes. Mine is playing or watching any kind of sport and e-sports, either watching series that leaves me out of problems I struggle every day.

What is yours? What you really enjoy doing that you feel disconnected from your reality and activate the rest mode of your brain?

Storytelling

The approach of it in her TED Talk is what story you tell yourself about yourself. If you complain about your life and really do not care about the things you do, you are supposed to be unfulfilled. Although, when you tell your story about how great the things you do and the person you are matters to you. Creating your own narrative for yourself, not for what others think.

Some bad things can happen to you, but it’s how you tell your story that you can overcome this situation. This pillar embraces all of those above making a union which can be defined with a greater significance: the meaning of life. With these pillars, we can create our own story and tell our life’s interpretation to ourselves.

Before you go, tame your ego

Ryan Holiday, in his bestseller “Egos is the enemy”, defines ego as an unhealthy belief in your own importance. The desire of being better than, more than and recognized for.

These words are powerful. When we are building those 4 pillars, we need to be aware of it. Sometimes our why is being recognized and it’s not good, because you don’t know if you are really going to be. Besides, it’s not with a true reason, it’s not with purpose. The same thing for wanting to be better and more than.

Ego gives a momentary pleasure. It doesn’t fulfill. And the main reason for creating a meaningful life is fulfilling yourself.

What to do next?

Are you up?

Are you up to fulfill yourself?

Are you up to follow different, deep and tough purposes in life?

Are you up to belong to something that isn’t you?

Are you up to live having breaks from difficult situations?

Are you up for you write your own story?

Are you up to create something to live for?

Are you up to discover and be yourself?

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