Love Letter #92: We’re All Just Making Sh!t Up!

This morning, in a mind-bending conversation, the topic of conversation was “meaning”. What it means to each of us and how we define it in our own lives. There were lots of different flavors, but one thing that stuck with me is the concept that life is meaningless and we’re all just making shit up. 

I  loved talking about this, it’s at the heart of what I coach and teach. One of the questions I ask often is, “What are you making that mean?”. Sometimes it confuses people at first because our meaning-making is often so subconscious we think it’s the truth. 

But meaning is as individual as you and I and it’s fluid. It can change. 

I would venture to say you don’t give the same meaning to many things in your life as you did twenty years ago. As you change, so does your perspective on life and that influences meaning. Tell me where I’m wrong

I believe that everything is neutral.  In other words, life itself is meaningless. Until we give it meaning. Each one of us, all 8.1 billion of us get to choose the meaning we give to everything. To what we see, hear, feel, touch, taste, and experience. Everything. 

We’re just making shit up all the time

 How can three different people witness the same accident and see it in three different ways? Different perspectives, different meanings

 How can you and I watch the same movie and have very different ideas about it? We see it differently through our experiences in life. 

Who’s right? Everyone!  

I know how crazy this can sound because none of us has control over traffic, what others say and do, or the price of bananas at the market. These are very real experiences. 

But what they mean to me is completely individual and within my control. What I think about life, and how I respond or react to it is the only thing I control. 

Everything in life is subjective. 

I know there are many things we collectively and culturally agree upon – we give things the same meaning – but these too are subjective. When you and I look at a clear blue sky, we may agree that it is blue and clear, but we have no way of knowing what each other is seeing.

Imagine you believe family is everything. But underneath that is the meaning you give to family based on your experiences. Now imagine you come from a family where abuse was normal. Is family everything? Maybe not. 

Listen, there is nothing wrong with the meaning you make. Our brains naturally make meaning to make sense of the world and feel safe. What feels important here is that we recognize that we are the meaning makers of our lives. This has been a game-changer in my life. 

Since I make meaning of my experiences and my life, I can no longer claim to be a victim of life. Sure, life is happening all around me, but none of it means anything until I give it meaning. 

How I feel about something is the direct result of the meaning I give it. Think about that for a minute. For example; sitting in traffic is not frustrating. It is the meaning I assign to sitting in traffic that gives me the feeling of frustration. You are totally in charge of you. 

Life is the meaning we make – the stories we tell. 

Are you telling the story that supports the life you want to live? The story that supports how you want to feel? 

We’re all just making shit up…so let’s make it as beautiful and life-affirming as we can.

Ready to make new meaning in your life?

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