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Chapter 5. Distinguishing Purpose from M... > Assigning Meaning to Life Events

Assigning Meaning to Life Events

To a large extent the meaning you ascribe to events determines the quality of your life. You have no doubt heard the expressions, “things happen for a reason” and “there are no accidents in life.” If you subscribe to either of these statements, then you are in the meaning-making business. If you get laid off from your job, you can decide that it happened because there is something better waiting for you. You can decide that this is a blessing in disguise because you had been working too many hours and your health was suffering.

You can just as easily take being laid off as proof that you are being treated unfairly. You can decide it means you will never get ahead. There is no right or wrong to meaning-making. As human beings we all do it. But there is an emotional charge to meaning-making. We feel good when we give a situation positive meaning (there is a better job waiting). We feel bad when we give a situation negative meaning (I am being treated unfairly).


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