BY SIMONE SMITH
Toronto; stand up! I am so proud of the readers of The Toronto Caribbean Newspaper. You have been loyal to the newspaper and all of the writers and I am very thankful that many of you have begun to work on yourselves. It is hard! I know; believe I know, but the end result of all of this work is amazing. I will continue to do my best, by providing you with the insights needed to access your self- developmental tools. The moment that we realize that we can create our lives, we begin to actually live. This week, I promised that I would focus on strategies that can be utilized to find meaning and purpose. Your job was to do some soul searching; you were to take a look at yourself and figure out how you have become stuck in your life. Did you do your homework? I have a feeling that some may not have, so I am prepared. WE are going to do a crash course on YOU! Yep! That’s right. You forced my hand, but I promise, it will be good for you.
We are going to start by asking ourselves some questions. These Eight Enduring Existential Questions, which were presented at the Summer Institute, 2013 Lecture 5: The Double Vision Strategy for Becoming Unstuck. It was presented by Dr. Paul T. P. Wong, one of the main contributors to Meaning Therapy and Positive Psychology. For those who are interested, you can find Dr. Paul Wong’s ideas and philosophies at www.meaning.ca. Let us first get an understanding about what “existential” means. Merriam Webster defines existential as relating or affirming existence. So when you hear the word existential, know that it means existence. One of the most common existential questions is, who am I? This question is just the beginning of your search. This allows you to start taking off the layers of who you are. This can answer questions about one’s original cultural background; it can clarify aspects of your personality; it allows you to reconsider the nature vs nurture argument. Very simply, this question allows you to finally consider who you are and what you are about.
The second question to consider is how and where do I find happiness? This is important, because if you do not know what makes you happy, you will never be happy.
Question number three is one that is asked of students all over the world. It is a question that students have to ask themselves and it is a question that many still do not have an answer to; what should I do with my life? I was fortunate to have had a pretty good idea about what I wanted to do. I tried many other jobs and gathered plenty of experience, but I always felt moved to help others. I just had to find my niche. This unfortunately is not the same for everyone. It takes shedding everything that your parents did or did not want for you. It takes courage because what you want to do might look crazy to others. It takes determination to stick to what you say and do it. Lots of work my friends!
Question four is tricky; how can I avoid making the wrong choices in the major areas of my life? Why is this tricky? Well, you can never know if you are going to make a mistake; if we did, we wouldn’t make them. This is where a person will need to get in tune with their spiritual selves. Our spiritual selves are intuitive and intuition is the key to making great decisions.
Where do I belong? This angst for acceptance is established during our elementary, amplified during high school and accepted in later life. As we change, the people we hang around change. We can belong to many different groups throughout our lifetimes; each molding us and challenging us to experience something about ourselves. We belong where we feel the most like ourselves.
What is the point of all my striving? You may ask yourself, why bother? Why work this hard to just pay bills and then eventually die? Hmmmm! This is where meaning comes in. If you are striving without meaning, it will become tedious and stressful. Working with meaning is essential.
What will happen to me after I die? I wish that I had the answer to this. It is the answer that many religious believers are still asking. Some of us are actually concerned about our afterlife; we believe that if we live a good life here, we will reap the rewards in the hereafter. Those who don’t live a good life will have to deal with the hell that they created.
Finally, the most important question; what would make my life more meaningful and significant? What is meaningful is authentic to you; it is your decision on what is significant.
Time to start asking some serious questions.