Purpose, Meaning and Self-Identity Challenges

Resiliency Center of Santa BarbaraHaving purpose, meaning and self-identity in life is not given to us. In adolescence and for the remainder of our life, we confront important questions, like “What is the purpose of my life? What is the meaning of life? Who am I, really?”

With these existential questions we contemplate the universe and our place in it. Answering these challenging questions can be experienced as emotional and memorable events. Or, they can evolve into long periods of mental consternation and emotional turmoil as we struggle to come up with acceptable answers. Or, they can be insightful events that set us off into a new and unexpected direction.

We can work through these questions as teenagers or get stuck without answers. We may confront these questions periodically over time or face them continually as adults, trying to figure out the puzzle of life. Underlying this is our individual self-concept that strives for identity, certainty and security in the uncertain, insecure, unpredictable and turbulent world we live in day to day.

Overlying our personal identity is a long cultural heritage for us to adopt and adapt to individually. Meaning and purpose are given to us through our cultural beliefs and values. But still, underneath, inside of us is a desire to uncover our own individual truth and to figure it out for ourselves. This is when we struggle to make sense of our own personal purpose, meaning and identity.

This experience of wondering and wrestling with answers can jar us and set us off course. As adults, we face “passages” or natural stages of questioning in early adulthood, mid-age and old age. But, if you are struck by abandonment, losses, illness or injury, you can be thrown into turmoil and the quest for meaning once again.

To lose meaning is to lose direction. And it can become depressing, frightening and overwhelming when we are cast to sea in a boat without a rudder or paddle. It’s lonely and usually difficult to discuss these gnawing questions with others. Nevertheless, it can be worked through and we can re-solidify ourselves with more clarity about who we are and what we are doing here.

If you are struggling with this type of  “Why do I exist? What should I be doing now?” dilemma and can’t find your way to satisfying answers, then seek professional help to set a new course for a meaningful and purpose-driven life. Don’t wait or suffer too long. Don’t get buried in dread and anxiety. Start breaking free. Initiate, with courage, a new adventure of discovery.

Many people use psychotherapy for this purpose. And treatment is an effective method for uncovering and finding out who you are. Enjoy the journey of discovery toward a stronger and more powerful you.

You can find yourself and feel strong and solid. You are resilient and adaptive.

If you are stuck in an existential dilemma,

Call Dr. Miller TODAY at 805-448-5053

Print Friendly, PDF & Email