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Following the Path to Healthy Meanings

Personality has power to uplift, power to depress, power to curse, and power to bless.
~ Paul Harris ~

Path to Healthy Meanings

This article explains what makes life meaningful by following the path to healthy meanings. It is the third article about meaning quality. The first, Measuring the Quality of Meaning (February 21, 2024), covered the four quality elements or standards of meaning according to logoteleology. These elements are meaning intelligence, health, harmony, and awareness/mindfulness. Our thesis is that meaning quality can be measured and used to help people understand and improve behavior with greater clarity and confidence.


The second article, When our “Why” is Intelligent: A Logoteleological Perspective (February 23, 2024), explains what makes a meaning intelligent and why it is relevant to human thriving. I explained that having accurate information yields an intelligent meaning. All human conflicts are the outcome of unintelligent meanings.


There is a direct correlation between intelligence and the second standard, health. I will explain how low intelligence produces unhealthy meanings and, thus, personalities. I will also describe logoteleology’s (i.e., meaningful purpose psychology) approach to a healthy personality.



Meaning Health

Operating from a healthy meaning implies meeting the meaningful path criteria.[i] A meaning is healthy when it is prosocial and promotes physical and psychological safety, well-being, exciting engagement, and prosperity (i.e., the meaningful path). In short, operating from a healthy meaning means being kind to self and to others – being meaningful in all we do.


The Meaningful Path reveals five intrinsic human yearnings. People desire to


  • Be surrounded by loving and supportive people (prosocial).

  • Live a drama-free life of peace and peace of mind (physical and psychological safety).

  • Be content, happy, and joyful (well-being).

  • Do interesting things with interesting people at interesting places for noble aims (exciting engagement).

  • Prosper spiritually, financially, experientially, and intellectually.


Two ladies speaking at the park

Fulfilling these yearnings or -- following the meaningful path – contributes to a healthy life. That explains the role of logoteleologists in helping people build the quality of their meanings through smart, accurate (i.e., intelligent), and healthy meaning-content. Individuals have a healthy mental state when they are capable of genuinely caring about others. Healthy meanings influence people to allow others to be themselves, to cooperate, and transcend in service of others. A healthy meaning is other-oriented.


Logoteleologists help people build the quality of their meanings through smart, accurate (i.e. intelligent), and healthy meaning-content.


Unhealthy Meanings and Their Consequence

On the other hand, all psychological disturbances – such as anger, strife, intolerance, hate, and division -- betray unhealthy meanings. Low-meaning intelligence causes harmful meanings and as a result, unhappy and unfulfilled lives.



The fact that 40% of adults in America feel lonely reminds us how important our mental (meaning) health is. According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers feel stress on the job, with nearly half saying they need help in learning how to manage stress. The Center for Workplace Mental Health claims, “Excessive workplace stress causes a staggering 120,000 deaths and results in nearly $190 billion in health care costs each year.” In addition, the National Institute of Mental Health reports “It is estimated that more than one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (57.8 million in 2021).” Sadly, behind these sobering facts, people are suffering needlessly.

 "Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher."
~ Surgeon General Vivek Murthy ~ [ii]

There Are Solutions

The truth is that there are solutions for these and other mental disturbances. We can reduce these issues through healthy meanings, starting with prosocial or loving and compassionate behavior.


But why, despite solutions being readily available, do these problems stubbornly persist? Unfortunately, it is not for lack of solutions. Personal and social problems endure because we mean them to persist. Actually, consciously and unconsciously, we prevent ourselves from solving problems. The sad reality is that many do not know how they prevent themselves from following the meaningful path! Which is why meaningful purpose psychology has unique approaches to problem prevention and remediation. We help people discover life’s answers in great part by helping them remove their psychological veil in order to see clearly.



Next Steps: Following the Paths to Healthy Meanings

Meaning Quality’s four components provide people with practical tools to examine the intelligence and health of their meanings and subsequent actions.

If you wish to learn more about how Meaningful Purpose Psychology can make a positive difference in your life and the lives of others, you can contact me. Please also join us in any of our free Meaningful Purpose Psychology: An Introduction for Practitioners webinars. If you are ready to start a process to do a deep dive toward a meaningful life, sign up for one of our future “The Paths We Choose” Workshops. Also, if you wish to join our next cohort to become certified as a Meaningful Purpose Psychology Practitioner, please let me know. Seats are limited.


Finally, how healthy are your meanings? How do you know?

 

Boston Institute for Meaningful Purpose: Discovering Life's Answers. ™

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-Free Webinar: Meaningful Purpose Psychology: An Introduction for Practitioners. Tuesday, March 19, 2024, 9:30 – 11:00 AM EST (2:30 PM UK and 3:30 PM Europe).


To Register



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[i] To learn about logoteleology’s meaningful path, I encourage you to read my article, Meaningful and Meaningless Meanings: What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter? I also highly recommend the series written by logoteleologist Dan Persuitte, starting with the article, 5 Ways We Strive and Thrive. You can also learn more by reading our book, Meaningful Purpose: A Primer in Logoteleology.

[ii] Vivek Murthy, Former Surgeon General of the United States, in his book "Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World" (2019).

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