Things That Make Us Feel Alive

Things That Make Us Feel Alive
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Do it now. Seize this day and the next. Find comfort in the small space of a hug to feel bigger. Escape now and then. Reach for that goal that you once thought was lost. Rest. Dream today like there’s no tomorrow… All these things that make us feel alive are priceless.

Living isn’t the same as feeling alive. However, it’s not always easy to reach a state of truly feeling alive. In this state, all of your nerves awaken. Your senses are fully tuned to the moment. Everything is meaningful and harmonious. It’s difficult to feel truly alive in a world that encourages us to have a passive and self-deprecating attitude.

We live in a space where we constantly feel that we lack something. This condition turns us into ravenous consumers. We’re driven to try and fill the emptiness with material things. This is because there’s always something that we long for, another product, another job, a more affectionate relationship, a trip to an exotic country… We believe that things will make us more fulfilled.

We’re like square pegs trying to fit into round spaces. The focus is the environment. We want to fit into it but we forget that happiness comes from a very specific place. It’s the place that lives just under our skin: ourselves. Our routine is to simply ignore the thing that really makes us feel alive: passion. 

Woman with a heart on her chest symbolizing things that make us feel alive.

Living means getting involved

One of the greatest risks to our happiness is living in a state of total passivity. We let ourselves be dragged along by the circumstances, limiting ourselves to simply existing but not feeling. We sink so deeply into our obligations that life itself becomes yet another obligation. Hope is then eliminated from our view and life becomes purposeless.

Let’s be clear: to live means to be involved. It means taking risks and acting even when you’re afraid. It means finding not one, but dozens of reasons to get up every day. But sometimes we choose the easy way: complacency.

We become complacent and satisfied with what we already have even if it doesn’t suit us or bring us happiness. We do this because we believe that a bird in our hand is better than two in a bush. However, when we open our hands, there’s not even a bird, only feathers. There’s only a sad glimpse of what looked like a promise but was really nothing. It was only a dream. A false security.

Woman on a boat.

We can’t find the things that make us feel alive on a path that others map out for us. We also won’t find them in the safety of our comfort zones. To experience vitality and happiness that gives everything meaning, you must have passion. Stop thinking in the conditional (If I had, If this were, If he did …). Act in the here and now. Take ownership of your steps in the immediate present. Explore your reality and become the architect of your dreams.

Those things that make us feel alive

Dare to fail. Try again one, ten, or twelve times and yes, achieve success. Walk in the middle of the afternoon to allow new ideas to come to life. Play a sport. Feel the satisfaction of a job well done. A hand extended when you need it most. A moment of solitude. The company of friends. Build something with your spouse. Your hobbies and pleasures. The laughter of a child. Close one stage and start another with more passion and more fear, but also more strength.

The things that make us feel alive are the things that ignite our souls. They lay the foundation of our being, a meaning to our projects, reasons for our behavior and energy for growth. Fundamentally, those things need to be present in our lives or else our psychological fabric begins to wear away. This makes way for a dangerous thing: the feeling of emptiness and that life has no meaning.

Feeling that emptiness is the opposite of feeling alive. Therefore, we must be able to fight the feeling of emptiness when it arises. We do this by filling every nook and cranny in our minds with meaningful things. The father of logotherapy and survivor of several concentration camps, Viktor Frankl, taught us in his books that our mission as human beings is to find purpose. We should take responsibility for ourselves and for humanity to be able to feel full, fulfilled, and free.

Woman letting go of some birds.

The things that make us feel alive are made of something invaluable: enthusiasm. Each of us will have to find our own purpose and be brave enough to fulfill it and make it our authentic daily passion. As Helen Keller once said, if you want to fly, you don’t have to keep crawling just because others do it.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.