Meaning Making

By Sheila White, MFTC

verified by Psychology Today

Meaning Making: the process of how people understand or make sense of life events, relationships, and the self.  We see our life and the events that occur in our life through the lens of our beliefs and values.  Our first set of beliefs and values are learned from our family of origin.  As we move through our journey, we add to and change these beliefs through our experiences and interactions with people and our environment.

How Do You React to Disappointments?

  • What do you tell yourself when life doesn’t go the way you expected?
  • Why did this happen to me?
  • Why didn’t I get the job? I worked so hard, I bought a new suit and I had the best interview I’ve ever had.
  • Get angry? Feel Depressed? Or, ask yourself, what did I do wrong?

Or, think about – when one door closes another door opens

Since this didn’t work out, I know this isn’t where I am meant to be.

I may not know right now why this happened, but I know every experience becomes a growth experience.

Changing Perspectives

  • We can also slow down and look at “What is my lens? What does my lens look like? Do I like this lens, does it feel good?” Do I want to keep this lens?
  • We can change our lens so life events will have a different meeting for us. Or become more meaningful. Whatever that may be for you. It’s about you, and what works or fits for you. What lens works for you?
  • What is meaningful for you?
  • And, if, you haven’t asked yourself this question, you can explore and discover and decide what you want your values and beliefs to be.
  • Try a values clarification exercise

See my reading recommendations


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