The Meaning of Life

It is amazing what life can throw at us. When it seemed that we have reached the highest point in our lives, something tragic happens, like a death of a loved one or the loss of a career. To some, it might mean that that is the end for them for they will no longer have a purpose to their lives. They no longer have something to look forward to, something that gives their lives meaning. In their despair, some might resort to suicide or self-harm whereas some might experience depression or an emotional breakdown. They could no longer cope with the emotional burden that befalls them. However, the good news is that these people are not beyond help.

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

– Nietzsche

The ‘why’ of these people have been lost and therefore, they no longer have the ability to pick themselves up and cope with the troubles of life. These people are to be given reasons to live. It is not easy to give someone a reason to live for they have to find that reason on their own. It has to be something that excites them and pushes them forward, something that will do even if they are not paid for it.

However, what is important is that all of us need to know that suffering is the part and parcel of life. Suffering will happen to everybody as long as someone is living. There is no such thing as someone living without suffering. Suffering can take many forms from being burdened by debt, a failed business or even in an extreme case, wrongfully accused of a crime. Great leaders and successful people have all experienced suffering one way or another but the important thing is that they persevere and bounced back stronger than before. Viktor E. Frankl in his book, ‘A Man’s Search for Meaning’ discussed the idea that suffering is defined by our own perspective and if we were to change our perspective, suffering can instead be a platform for us to grow and benefit from. I quote from ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor E. Frankl,

“… emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it.”

Once we understand why we are suffering and change our perspective of suffering from being a negative thing to a positive one can we begin to grow.

I have come into contact with people who were suicidal and most of the time they felt hopeless and as if life is against them. They felt that whatever they do, life will always have a way to worsen their current condition. However, all of us should instead treat life as an opportunity and a challenge. I quote from ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor E. Frankl,

“One could make victory of those experiences, turning life into an inner triumph, or one could ignore the challenge and simply vegetate…”

Sometimes, it becomes hard to accept the fact that life is a challenge and it is true that some will not take it positively but know that life these challenges are just life’s way of testing us. There will always be someone looking down on us be it God or whoever you believe in, in our difficult times and they will not expect us to disappoint them by giving up.

It is never easy to deal with depression and the thoughts of suicide but know that it is never the end. Life has so much more for you and if you do not stay around, you will not find it out.

There was a video that I had watched recently about the high suicide rates amongst firefighters and a fiancee of a deceased said that killing yourself is like grabbing a rifle and shoot everyone you love. It is a selfish act that will hurt everyone around you.

Life might throw some seemingly improbable challenges but learn to deal with it the right way and know that you can always overcome it.

Life is not meaningless for, in the words of Viktor E. Frankl,

“Life ultimately means taking responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks constantly set for each individual.”