What to Do if You Feel Your Life Has No Meaning

26 February, 2020
Meaning in life refers to the significance every person gives to their way of living, intentions, and goals. It varies from person to person, as each individual needs to embark on an inner journey to find their own meaning.
 

“My life has no purpose. I feel adrift with no direction. I don’t know what I want, nothing motivates me enough, and I can’t find my path in life.” It’s quite possible that you’ve identified with these words before; everyone has. Existential crises are inevitable during certain life stages, during which finding your meaning in life can feel impossible.

Existential crises generally arise from certain painful situations, such as a break-up, the loss of a loved one, a disappointment, or the loss of a job, among others.

All those situations that cause you pain and despair can definitely precipitate an existential crisis. While some people only suffer temporarily, other people may fall into a void of pain.

In the middle of an existential crisis, you might feel incredibly lost. You might not know who you are and look to the future with insecurity. “I feel so lost that I feel my life has no purpose and I can’t find a way out.”

A woman with her head on her arms and eyes closed.

What’s the meaning of life?

Many writers, scientists, and philosophers have argued about the meaning of life. But no one has been able to convince the rest of humanity to adopt their own as the universal truth.

 

The meaning of life references the meaning that each person gives it, to the intentions and goals that they personally have in mind. It varies from person to person, as each individual needs to find their own meaning by embarking on an inner journey.

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl in his work Man’s Search for Meaning stated that life has meaning in any and all circumstances. If a person is capable of finding meaning in situations of suffering and adversity, then they can overcome them by turning their tragedies into successes.

For Frankl, each person’s meaning of life already exists and is just waiting to be found. Each person writes their own story. They decide how to feel when they face certain situations.

My life has no meaning and sadness takes over

In those time when you feel your life has no meaning, you might experience certain emotions associated with this state. It’s important to pay attention to the alarms that are going off, as they’re symptoms that indicate that something isn’t right. You may also need professional help, as this may lead to:

  • Feelings of sadness. You may feel apathetic or sadness invades you without knowing exactly why. Some people think they don’t have any reason to feel that way since they have a good job, family, and friends. Even so, they feel a sadness they can’t explain.
  • You don’t know who you are. This is due to a lack of awareness about yourself. You might think, “My life is meaningless and I feel lost. I don’t know who I am or what I want.”
 
  • Anhedonia. You lose interest in activities that you used to like. You don’t enjoy anything, and nothing seems satisfying. This makes you feel constantly bored.
  • Social isolation. Sadness, lack of interest, and frustration in the face of the absence of satisfaction in your life lead to greater social isolation. You don’t even feel like hanging out with others.
A sad woman leaning against the wall on a stairwell.

When faced with an existential crisis, embark on an inner journey

Take some time to look inside yourself by embarking on an inner journey. Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself during this journey: “Do I need to make changes in my life?” “What do I feel, what do I think, and what do I want?” “Do I prioritize myself?” “Am I who I really want to be?”

Looking for answers to these questions can guide you on your path to self-knowledge. Behind the loss of your sense of purpose in life is probably a low level of self-knowledge regarding who you are and what you want. Thus, it’s probably necessary for you to find your purpose and connect with yourself, giving yourself the courage and time that you need.

Can you really find purpose and meaning in your life if you don’t know who you are? An existential emptiness is synonymous with a loss of touch with yourself, as if you were disconnecting from your own being, opting to be a spectator instead.

 

What may have happened is that you were so focused on another object or person that you didn’t pay attention to what was going on inside of you. Thus, when you face the thought “My life has no meaning”, look inside and connect with yourself.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

-Viktor Frankl-