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Living Like You Mean It: The Existential Life

amy bernstein connection mindfulness retirement Nov 17, 2011
binoculars lookout

by  Amy Bernstein

photo by STVIOD

To be fully alive, your search for personal meaning must be never-ending

John Tsilimparis, a regular therapist on the A&E TV show, “Obsessed,” says that to be fully alive, each person’s search for personal meaning should be never-ending.  “We are constantly asking, experiencing and transforming ourselves as we adapt to life’s circumstance and as we relate to others.”  In other words, he says, we must be alive to ourselves, others and the world around us.  In his blog post on HuffingtonPost, Tsilimparis discusses a number of elements that go into this search for personal meaning:


Self-awareness is what makes us fully human. We must be able to think for ourselves, to know who we are and to understand our limitations and be able to adapt in situations we cannot control.

Personal Responsibility

Taking responsibility for our own behavior is paramount in determining who we are. In other words, our choices define who we are.

Meaningful Relationships

An important part of our humanness is to be able to enter fully into loving relationships with others while at the same time retaining the sense of a separate identity. As Tsilimparis observes, ‘The self understands where “I” ends and “you” begins.’

Accepting Death As Inevitable

If we are able to accept the fact that we all will die, it allows us to be fully alive. Because we understand the fragility of life, we value it even more.

Making the Most Out of Life

Tsilimparis compares life to a poker game. You get dealt a hand of cards, which is really a matter of luck.  The key to winning, however, is how you play them. You may have the “good health” card for instance, or you may not.  You may be born poor or rich.  Your opportunities may not be the same as someone else’s. There are other players with their own cards who will alter the course of the game.  It all depends on what you do with what you have. 

To read the full blog, click on Huffington Post


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