Meaningful Is In The Mind Of The Beholder - Grasshopper
If something doesn't mean something to you, it isn't meaningful, no matter how meaningful it is to me.
How often do we negate what's important to another because it holds no meaning for us?
Our values, religions, traditions, points of view are just a sampling of the things we fill with meaning.
Just because they don't mean anything to us doesn't mean they're not meaningful.
Here's how we get caught up in this dilemma. We mistakenly deem that if it's meaningful to us, it's meaningful. It's not. On the other hand, if we dismiss what's meaningful to another, we set up a wall between us.
There is no such thing as meaning. It's an intangible, yet if you ignore it, it will hit you like a ton of bricks.
Meaning is something we ascribe to a piece of reality. It's an emotional label.
We label our experiences of reality and when others don't label them the same, there is a disconnect.
We may never have the same meaning for something that another does, but that doesn't prevent us from recognizing and respecting that it's meaningful to them.
Let's pretend you label yourself as an atheist. God has no meaning to you. If you treat everyone you meet who believes in God without recognition and respect of their reality, you'll wind up in the dog house. Remember: Dog is "God" spelled backwards.
The same is true for them when, as a God fearing person, they want to save you by ignoring your atheist meaning.
To start the process of recognition and respect, it's helpful to start adding a phrase to the words "Meaning" and "Meaningful." That phrase is "To me."
Just try it on for size. Say the following statement aloud: "My (fill in the blank) is meaningful to me."
The "To me" addition will remind you that what's meaningful to you is not universal dogma - meaning it's not meaningful to everybody. It will also let other people know what's important to you.
When you recognize and respect the meaning in "meaningless to you," it's easier to step across the divide and give meaning to another's view.
All the best,
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