We are all going to die, eventually. That is not a secret, isn’t it? But have you ever thought about why we live this long, sometimes tragic, life? Is there a meaning to all that is happening around us?

This existential problem has puzzled great minds ever since humans began to think. Philosophers have long thought about the meaning and meaninglessness of our existence. Many proposed compelling ideas. Religions came up with transcendental explanations for our life on earth.

As a result, several doctrines and ways of life have evolved. Many live with the aim of a better afterlife, as they believe achieving paradise is the purpose of life. Some think of life as absurd and try to celebrate each moment. A few are less interested in any existing doctrines and more focused on seeking meaning on their own.

The Purpose of Life

However, no one is convinced that their belief is the ultimate truth, except maybe fanatics. Hence, at best, beliefs are safety vests that prevent us from drowning in the sea of negativity. So rather than philosophizing about this elusive truth, we can think about what we can do.  ‘How to live?’ is a more pressing concern for us than ‘What is life?’

Life is difficult. It is the one thing that we can be sure about it. Everyone — from rich to poor, young to old, from people born in the West to those born in the East — suffers. Diseases, lay-offs, stress, social and political instabilities, climate change, and so on visit us one after the other, sometimes at once, and make our existence challenging, even miserable.

Though many feel that life is less painful for others, nothing can be farther from the truth. In fact, people are crushed by the weight of their sorrows, but they keep a smiling face valiantly.

What can I Do?

If so, what should we aspire to? I think that our efforts should be to make life less miserable for someone. If we can lighten the burden for someone, it is the greatest good. When everyone tries to put a smile on the person next to him, the world will be full of smiles.

As a matter of fact, researchers have proven that happiness is reciprocal; that is, we will become happier when we try to make others happy. Here are a few things that you can do to make life better for someone:

Be charitable

You do not have to give away large sums of money to be charitable. Charity is an attitude. Sometimes simple gestures, as helping out at a local homeless shelter, or helping kids cross the street, can go a long way.

Forgive

Grudges and resentments can eat you from inside. If you care to admit that no one is flawless, you can forgive and reconcile. Imagine the relief it can bring to you and the other.

Be selfless

A self-serving attitude can do more harm than good. Studies have proven that those who work to make life better for others are happier than those who do not. It does not mean you have to be the next Gandhi. But focusing on the greater good can do wonders.

Do your work

Your job, if done with dedication, is the best service to society. First, understand the social impact of your work. Then you will be motivated to serve better. If you feel that your job only serves the interest of a corporate giant, do a freelance job so that your skill directly or indirectly influences lives. 

Reaching the Ultimate Truth

“This life is short, vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.”

Swami Vivekananda

It is more or less certain that a quest for the meaning of life will get you nowhere. Contrarily, it is almost certain that any effort to spread happiness in the world will make our life fulfilled and happy.

When we are on the path of life, let us try to do something to relieve the burden of our fellow travelers. Maybe our efforts will give us insights into the elusive meaning of life. Who knows!

Thank you for reading. Please post your valuable comments below.

5 thoughts on “Why should I live?”

  1. Good points. But one thing I’ll beg to differ with you as the some are very sure in their beliefs/ faith and are contented with life.

    1. I agree. They are surely content as long as nothing questions their faith. But unfortunately no faith is impenetrable and has flaws. Hence their contentment, I believe, is temporary.

      1. I think that faith acquired after going through life and tough circumstances, is not temporary. It comes after seeing the truth, not just verbal teachings.

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