For many years now I was under the impression that man lived to be happy and on this subject I have written a few articles both from my personal point of view and the experiences of others, including psychologists because this is what I always believed in.
A recent book I read shows when we make our goal in life to be happy and strive for happiness; we may end up feeling lonely and unhappy, so it is worth making our lives more ‘meaningful’.
Looking for happiness by focusing on satisfying our desires will only lead to emptiness. If we live a meaningful life by serving and helping others, by giving rather than taking, this will make a difference.
One of the differences between seeking happiness and living a meaningful life lies in the second type of difficulty because it includes sacrifice either in the monetary form or passion and therefore what we should opt for is not a happy but meaningful life because after all it is the meaningful life that can bring happiness.
If we study the reasons which have led many to commit suicide, we will find that most of them did not complain of unhappiness but they suffered from emptiness, and their lives had no meaning.
A book written by US researcher Emily Esfahani Smith says meaning to life can be found even in the most difficult circumstances and that gives us the motivation to continue to live, while pursuing happiness, which satisfies all our whims and desires and shuns emptiness.
Happiness is usually associated with a sense of health, activity, and this does not usually give meaning to our lives because we do not give something to others.
She said that the millennium generation has become more interested in having a meaningful life, and thus, when looking for the right job, they look for what the job meant to them, and what would add to their lives, meanings and goals, in addition to other material advantages.
This meaning of life may vary from person to person. Some people need relationships that give them a sense of belonging, and they are needed, and that what they do is meaningful.
Therefore, if we want to make those who do not want to live, or those who live miserable lives, we must give meaning to their existence and not to work for their happiness.
I can say here, from my personal experience with dozens of people whom I have interviewed for employment, especially those who were sent by the Manpower and Government Restructuring Program, and who had been jobless for years: most of them have no aim or purpose in life and are often unhappy, so they have been less of job-seekers category, more disgusted of life for lack of meaning or purpose to work for.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf