Finding Meaning

finding meaning in lifeI read an article in the Wall Street Journal this weekend in which the author asked the question “What have you learned about what it means to be human?”

We’re all shaped by our past and our experiences.  We make sense of the world in different ways and find purpose in life through different means.

I know that my truth might be quite different than your truth.  But more often, I find that my truth is quite similar to yours, although my method of arriving there was different and unique to my experience.

Faith, spirituality and religion can have a significant impact on how you find meaning and make sense of the world.  But whether you find meaning in science, God, nature or your relationships to others, the ability to find that meaning is essential to making sense of the world we live in.

In DBT finding meaning is one the skills taught to help people survive crisis and overwhelming emotional pain.  The experience of crisis and trauma– whether you’ve witnessed destruction or experienced personal trauma such as bereavement, illness, injury or violence– can violate your basic assumptions about the world and how it operates.

Getting at your truth, through human experience, science, passion, knowledge or faith can give you a sense of purpose and help you make understandable a sometimes unpredictable and chaotic world.  Meaning can improve your sense of security and reduce the vulnerability that we all feel when we’re faced with uncertain and unreliable circumstances. Searching for and finding meaning can improve your ability to manage stress, trauma and crisis.

Finding meaning is both personal and vital to enduring difficult times.  So I wonder, what have you learned about what it means to be human?  Can you speak from your own personal experiences?  What have you found to be your truth, in the face of difficulty, crisis or disaster?

Do you find meaning in caring for others, being kind and compassionate?  Searching for answers and knowledge?  Being present in the moment and appreciating what life has to offer?  Being truthful and honest? Loving others?  Searching for happiness?  Searching for peace?  Enduring pain?  Understanding that there must be darkness in order to understand light? Or something else altogether?

Use the comment section below.  I would love to hear your stories and learn from how you have discovered purpose and meaning in life.

Finding Meaning

Christy Matta, MA

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APA Reference
Matta, C. (2010). Finding Meaning. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 16, 2019, from


Last updated: 23 Nov 2010
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