How come it's so hard to find meaning in things?


I see a lot of people in my routine - work mostly, who can so easily consider things meaningful. Things motivate them, inspire them, and very deeply fulfill them. Those same things mean absolutely nothing to me, and we work together, the goal is supposed to be the same, and yet it only works for them, this gotta be something i am doing wrong!?

Something in my mind is visualizing things the wrong way i suppose, because i can’t make sense of this. A different perspective maybe? Or perhaps i am not supposed to think that much about life and the future, and yet i do, as an instinct. This purposelesness is not maintainable. I can only wonder what is the aspect of my [or our] raising, background or simply existence that makes me be this way, i honestly do wonder, understanding it might be a way of making it better.

Yesterday i was thinking: if i happened to be Einstein, and being aware of my achievements - including the effects that would happen after my death -, i still wouldn’t feel like it’s meaningful. I still see Einstein as some abstract image of a person who existed, but not a person, an image, a concept. That is to say, he is nothing, he changed the world and became simply a concept. Same goes for anyone who made the greatest difference in the world, for the good or the bad. With this awareness, how can anyone see purpose or meaning?


I understand what you’re saying. I used to wonder the same thing about myself: Why am I not sentimental? Somewhere along the way I quit worrying about it. I’m analytical, driven by data and results. Between your writing style and your question, I gather you’re the same way :hrtjakelul:

It takes all kinds of people. People who get attached to things may not get to the bottom-line solutions. They may also become emotionally attached to certain solutions even after better solutions are presented.

Researchers say high intelligence, analytical people tend to have worse mental health because they see things as they are, not as they want them to be. Practicing positivity does help, but you can’t completely “positive” your way out of seeing when things just aren’t as good as they can be.

I think I find positivity and meaning by extracting as much of them as I can from the world around me. “This is objectively positive, therefore assign it positivity.” It feels forced at first, but gets easier with practice. You won’t find yourself twirling in a field of daisies, but you can learn to tell yourself “This (insert whatever) is nice” and believe it. Same goes for sentimental objects. If sentimentality isn’t organic, either create it or redefine it. I’ve had a big framed picture of the moon since childhood. When we moved into our house last year, my wife asked if I wanted to keep it. My response was something like “I don’t really want to get rid of it. I mean, I don’t feel an emotional attachment to it, but I’ve had it for 30 years and I like it for that.” Her response: “Okay, so it does have sentimental value.” Can you identify any thought patterns like that?


From: ManekiNeko

its so hard when it feels like there is a pointless loop to life. Sometimes in my work i feel like “whats the point? Whats it all for?”. I had someone say to me just before they passed “thank you for making me smile”. That stuck with me and will forever because it was the only coherent thing they said in a long time. The fact this person felt in that moment that there was someone there who brought some joy to them will forever stick with me. We may not even realise what joy we bring to people because they don’t always voice it. So perhaps you will leave a greater mark on the people you meet than you realise.


What you say is completely understandable, and I think a lot of people would relate to it, to this questioning that really comes form your core, this deep search for meaning.

I don’t know if there’s really an absolute answer to find – although I respect people who do feel a strong sense a purpose, are attached to it, and feel like the meaning they found is something everyone should lean toward (although it’s dangerous, too). However I’m a firm believer that, at the very least, our perception plays indeed a huge role, if not the main one, in our sense of meaning and purpose.

Something that striked me in what you said is:

I still see Einstein as some abstract image of a person who existed, but not a person, an image, a concept. That is to say, he is nothing, he changed the world and became simply a concept. Same goes for anyone who made the greatest difference in the world, for the good or the bad.

Yes, that is true. Ultimately, we just become dust again, and as time goes on, the memory of what we did and of who we are fades away. It’s a scary reality. And honestly one that brought a lot of anxiety and existential questions to me at times.

But, what about the impact that Einstein had on the people he loved, not for what he accomplished with his great mind, but for the mark he left on others? What about (I’m inventing there), the possibility that he said “I love you” to someone, and that someone had their life changed because of it. Yes, they’re not here to testify about it and it’s not written in books, but this is something that they may filled their heart during the lifetime they had.

When we think about purpose, we think about these great accomplishments – which makes sense. I personally like to think instead that we’re all daily life heroes. Literally. That every word we say, every action we take, is going to impact others, and be this little drop in the ocean that makes a difference somewhere, somehow. It can be a matter of scale and focus: what feels big for someone can be small for another person, and vice versa. So in this chaos of possibilities, of choices and decisions that we can make, meaning could be about simply doing our best, as human beings, to not leave a damaging mark on this world.

After all, what’s the worth of a genius’ creation, if to get to this accomplishment they were actually a tyrant to people around them?


I am not sure it is the same thing. Actually, it almost seems like the opposite, i am craving for some kind of sentimentalism, since the sense of meaning could bring value into things, which in the end would simply mean attachment to this feeling, one of which is inexistent now.

Time, it seems, brings attachment (as it did for your picture), but is it the same as meaning? It’s a hard concept, being attached to people or to things and telling it from purpose.

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I completely agree with you that bringing [or showing] love to people is way more important than material and intelectual achievements, i’ve been thinking about that for a while now. I do feel better when i show affection to the people i like than when i earn some money, for example - though it wasn’t always like that.

The great problem arises when even believing that, even seeing that as a more satisfying notion than the non sentimental things, you’re still left wondering on why do you do that. Is it just because it feels satisfying? Is it just because others are satisfied? These constant ‘whys’ are very insistent, they simply won’t let you be. By living fully in the present i am certain none of this would be a problem, just like dogs won’t worry about food until they are hungry. We are humans though, beings who are aware of time and death, with that it appears to be impossible to live fully in the present, and with that impossibility i wonder how is it that so many people can live happily with what it seems to be a very insignificant life, just like mine, and being ok with it?

From what you wrote, i’m sure you also feel this way, it’s a consumptive pondering, isn’t it? Every single thing you read, a horrifying affliction one had, or a heartbreak, or a work problem, money problem, you ask yourself: “why is it this person is worried? We’re dying anyway”. And then, this exact same conclusion should make you feel more free, having nothing to lose, i can do anything! But then again, doing anything for what? An ethernal loop of questioning, a never ending contemplation that by now you already know will lead you to nowhere. All these things are absurd, literally, they’re contradictory, everything is unimportant and yet you can’t stop wondering - which could only mean it’s the only thing that matters.


I have seen another thread here where this guy wrote about making the resolution of his essential problems as the purpose of his life, if i recall he said it could be the ‘adventure of his life’. I do believe it could be a solution for some people, but it is very specific, how is it that this will mean anything in the future? Oh well, maybe i’m seeing everything with a sense of grandiosity, which is probably wrong, but it’s that deep feeling i talked about, it’s stronger than me, the need for this great purpose. You had these problems yourself, you said it. What is it that changed? How did you overcome it?

Anyway, thank you for your great response!

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Hi, welcome to Heart Support. You have a valid point - we can place so much importance on finding a meaningful and fulfilling conclusion to our actions. You say it yourself; maybe you have a different perspective. Why is that a bad thing? A hundred people could have the same experience and all take away something slightly different. None of these outcomes would be invalid or wrong.

We have so little control over the future of our lives that your approach is understandable. Trying to make sense of an uncontrollable outcome could result in disappointment and frustration when life doesn’t turn out as planned. It sounds like you are living in the moment - why not just accept and enjoy that? You will never know your existence’s impact on the world - so why dwell on it? Take all you can from life and let your legacy take care of itself.