This is based on my coaching workbooks I'm A Man, That's My Job and I'm A Woman, It's My Time.
The Meaning of your Relationships
Starts With The Meaning Of Your Life
By Frank Kermit
Contemplate your death. No seriously. In order to make meanings of your relationships past, present and those you will have in the future, you must understand how to make meaning of your life. The way to start understanding the meaning of your life is to contemplate your death.
Until you come to grips with the cold fact that your time in this life is finite, and that at some point, you and everyone you know will be dead, the meaning of your life may forever elude you.
We cannot predict how and when we will die, but we do have a measure of control on how we choose to live day-to-day. It is not always easy to take action day-to-day making meaning of your life, especially if you have not decided on the end goal. The end goal of course is not to plan your death, nor is it to hope to live forever. The end goal is to have lived your life with the meanings you have assigned to it during the earlier stages of your life.
Envision the epitaph on your gravesite. What does it say? Great parent and spouse? Beloved Companion? A friend to everyone? Of the biggest heart? Forever remembered? In making the decision of your epitaph, you are in fact setting the goal for how you will live your life. It is the motivation source to make certain that many of your day-to-day actions reflect the way you want to be remembered.
Next step is to consider what you would want stated in your eulogy. Whatever it is that you want mentioned in your eulogy is synonymous with your life’s goals. The benefit of thinking about it today, is that you have the rest of your life to ensure that you live up to that eulogy.
One of the more fun exercises to find the meaning of your life is to contemplate the movie of your life. What would be the title of the movie? What part of your life would be presented in the film script? What songs and music will make up the sound track? What is your story arch, and how did you turn out at the end of your hero’s journey? What actor would play you? (Personally, I always thought that actor Jack Black would make a great Frank Kermit). The movie of your life is about the core of your life story. In imagining your movie, you find how you want your story to unfold.
Some people have a hard time trying to pinpoint these elements, as they have never thought about their impending deaths in the ways I describe. For those people, I also suggest other writing exercises. These include to make a list of the most influential books and songs in your life, a list of the people and characters you most admire and why, a list of your most important base life philosophies, and a list of ways you would like to see the world change.
These lists are designed to help to identify and acknowledge your core values and to help you decide what actions you can take day-to-day to follow through. Most people do already have an idea of what is really important to them, but as human beings are, a little reminder in the form of a writing exercise can be just what is required to act on those important values.
So, how can a person use any of this information to make meanings of relationships? Relationships can be our teachers. Relationships teach people about their core values, what they can and cannot handle, and also help people develop and grow as individuals.
With each relationship you experience, you learn more about yourself, how your life is, and you can pick out areas of your life that need more attention. If you want to be remembered as a good provider, do your current relationships reflect that? If you claim to be a person that values forgiveness, do your relationships behaviors reflect that? If you believe that protecting your children from potential harm is your highest calling, do you reflect that in the relationships you tolerate? If you claim to admire a character known for being a great lover, do your relationship skills reflect that?
If you answer “no” to any of those testing statements, you have found out where you need to start developing a meaning for the relationships you are involved in, so that all your relationships reflect your core being.
There is no room for personal hypocrisies in finding ultimate peace and happiness. Sometimes the only meaning you may find in a past or present relationship is to teach you what a mistake you are capable of making and you making meaning by learning the lesson you need to learn in order not to make that same (relationship) error again.
Sometimes we choose the meanings of our lives, and sometimes those meanings choose us. Some of us have a calling in life, such that regardless of what we pursue, life has other plans for us. There is meaning in that too. Even when life has other plans in store for you, you still have a choice. You can fight it, or you can embrace it.
To check out more on my coaching workbooks, visit I'm A Man, That's My Job and I'm A Woman, It's My Time.