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The Meaning of Life

Beliefs about the meaning of life cover a broad range of views. It’s not just religious beliefs that drive us but beliefs about why we do things in life. We often behave in life based on what we believe or expect will come from our actions. If life fails to deliver on our expectations, then we question those beliefs. We question why we should continue to behave that way. This becomes the basis for our relationship with life overall and how we approach it from one situation to another.

When a person has worked so hard to be successful in life and then everything has been taken away from them, they can wonder what the point of all that effort was for. They expected to be able to work to achieve a certain lifestyle. They expected that if they put out the effort, nothing would take their achievement away. They believed they were protected or otherwise would be treated fairly based on their effort. Then, it all fell apart for one reason or another.

When a person loses someone close to them and has to ask “why did that end?”, they can wonder what the point of relationships is. Why bother having a relationship if you have to face the grief of losing that relationship at some point? If the end of the relationship came from choices made, then why make those same choices over again? If the end came, because someone died, especially when they died sooner than expected, why bother getting close to someone, knowing that you might have to go through that grief again?

Whatever beliefs we begin with, we often change over time as we experience life directly. They can be broader beliefs that aren’t about personal success or relationships. They can be about whether or not there is a higher power or life after death. Our beliefs can be about whether or not telling the truth is important or whether or not there is such a thing as altruism. Our beliefs remain stronger where life is not able to provide more direct experience to the contrary. However, when life presents situations that do not fit our beliefs, we must face why we believe what we believe directly and often times this changes our relationship with life itself. It changes what meaning we get from it and how we continue to experience it.

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