Every day we’re bombarded by small (and sometimes large) threats to our experience of life as meaningful.
Maybe you get a painful rejection from a gallery. Suddenly painting (and life itself) may seem that much less meaningful. Or maybe you’ve invested meaning in a new art marketing idea. Just as you’re about to launch it you notice that someone has beaten you to the punch. You’re likely to experience that bit of bad luck as a blow to your sense of the meaningfulness of life.
The meaning repair habit to acquire is the following one.
First, you recognize that something important has happened. You admit that a blow has occurred.
Second, you feel the feeling. Emotional health isn’t helped by denial.
Third, you remind yourself that meaning, because it is a psychological experience, is a wellspring and a renewable resource and that you can make new meaning as soon as the pain subsides.
Fourth, you actually make new meaning by taking appropriate action: by approaching galleries again or by engaging in your marketing idea anyway.
Our sense of the meaningfulness of life is regularly threatened. When a meaning crisis occurs we become emotionally unwell, usually calling the experience “depression.” Rarely do we recognize that a meaning event has just occurred and that, in order to feel better, we must take action by making new meaning.
It is tremendously useful to acquire the following four-step habit: understand what’s happened; feel the feeling; pledge to make new meaning; and make some new meaning!