No matter what we want, everyone succeeds. We set-up our lives in ways that accomplish our intentions. We believe in receiving the experiences we favor. We ask for the kind of trouble that gets us what we want. We name the game we're playing and routinely win.
Those seeking sympathy or superiority aren't interested in freedom and meaning. The search for meaning involves too much responsibility for one's own reactions to what happens. It disentangles freedom seekers from captivity by pity parties or power trippers. Freedom and meaning fail to get sympathy or superior recognition. Finding freedom and meaning only seems like a success to those who really want those experiences. They're not for everyone.
Today I'm launching a new series of posts on this blog, inspired by an email I received recently from a kindred spirit:
"I have many friends in creative, marketing, and still-in-search-of-meaning jobs who are not satisfied and seek freedom in so many ways... even from themselves. (Of course I'm one of them.)"In my experience, finding meaning in our lives provides profound experiences of freedom from taking things literally, over-reacting to setbacks, or getting stuck resisting incidents that persist. Likewise, seeking freedom amidst misery, frustration or boredom yields new meaning, depth and significance to current situations. The combination of freedom and meaning takes shape slowly as personal changes in identity, intentions, projects and relationships. Knowing what to expect and which processes to trust -- is some of what I am about to explore here.
People with meaningful lives are inner directed. We've found within our minds a different identity from the contrived ones the world gave us. We've re-conceptualized who we are in larger contexts and why we're here right now. We take things in a different light than our fears or social obligations dictate. We've found what is intrinsically rewarding and pursue those particular avenues with tremendous self-motivation. Our setbacks then call for more meaning and awareness of previous hidden freedoms. Our accomplishments are neither superior or inferior - they are rewarding in their own right.
Succeeding at finding freedom and meaning calls for rethinking lots of assumptions used by successful seekers of sympathy or superiority. It calls for playing with the rules that others play by. The game of finding freedom and meaning goes for goals on the inside of you.