One of the important themes I hear women talk about is the desire to make a difference in the world or in the lives of other people. There are times in each of our lives when we question why we are here, what this human experience, bracketed by birth and death, is really all about. Feeling that we are making a difference is one of the most meaningful ways we can give our lives a sense of purpose and generate a personal sense of fulfillment.
The essence of our desire to make a difference is to somehow improve the world and the lives of other people. There are many ways to express this desire. Some women choose to work to end war and bring about peace in the world. Some focus on protecting the Earth and improving the quality of the environment for both humans and other species. Other women express their desire to make a difference by nurturing children, working to heal physical and emotional pain, or working to end world hunger. Some find a sense of purpose in helping advance the evolution of human consciousness. There is no limit to the ways we can make a difference in the world.
Living without a sense of purpose can lead to depression and existential anguish, but taking on too much of the world’s pain can also be detrimental to our well-being. There is a balance to be struck between giving too little and giving too much and for many of us, the greater danger is giving too much rather than too little. As we age, the limiting factors of decreased energy and health problems can curtail what we are able to give. At these junctures, we have to find peace in passing the torch to the younger generation and making a difference in our own lives and those close to us–partners, elderly parents, even ourselves. We can grow spiritually and work toward completion of various life tasks that are important to us. Making a difference means many things to many people. What does making a difference mean to you?
- Is making a difference important to you? If so, in what arenas would you most like to make a difference?
- In what arenas do you feel you have made a difference? Has the focus of your desire changed over time?
- Has your ability or motivation to engage in these efforts changed over the years?
- Sometimes stepping back is the best thing you can do to maintain your ability to make a difference over the long term. Have you given yourself breaks in having to work constantly to create change in the world?
- What other values are important in your life? Are you able to balance the need to make a difference with other needs, such as self-care, having fun, and enjoying all the good that life has to offer?