Excerpt About Goals

The Drive for Meaning by Pursuing Goals May Numb the Drive Itself

Those who deal with the drive for meaning by pursuing various goals and activities are actually also numbing the drive, by believing that they are fulfilling it or engaged in fulfilling it. The activities through which we seek meaning are usually very hard to let go of, because our deep need to have something to think about, something to do, becomes as intense as the drive itself. Some people worry all the time, because they can’t stand the feeling that they wouldn’t know what to do if the activity stopped. As long as we have a goal, even something like wanting to heal an ache in the body, there is meaning in our lives. The meaning of my life might consist of trying to fix my hurt knee. Some people look for the meaning of their lives in their children. Many mothers can’t find meaning in their own lives so they try to live through their children. You see how pervasive this issue is. Even when we are engaged in activities that give us real pleasure and joy, we are always hoping that they will also give meaning and importance to our lives. You believe that if you live in a certain way, your life will not be empty. Perhaps you feel that if you really confront the meaninglessness and emptiness, it might be too much to bear. And it is true that we cannot live without meaning in our lives, without a sense of significance, of worth, value, and importance. So we try to find substitutes
for it.

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