Jacques Lecomte

Giving Your Life Meaning Publication date : October 4, 2007

“What is most important for me? For what purpose am I on this Earth? What should I do? What are the life projects that I feel strongly about? Is my life of any value, and, if it is, why?”

All these questions have one aspect in common: they make us enquire into the meaning we give our lives. Of course, the answers vary from one person to the next, just as they vary throughout the course of the same person's life.

And yet, whether you are a passionate birdwatcher or an activist in an anti-racist organization, whether you are crazy about your children or interested in accounting — or maybe all of the above — certain elements seem to be present in most lives that are considered meaningful, i.e. a high regard for emotional relationships, a lively intellectual or spiritual life, and a deep commitment to action.

Jacques Lecomte presents a clear thesis. He argues that finding the meaning of life, which lies in equilibrium, is an essential ingredient for happiness — that elusive goal we all seek. His aim is to help readers question the lives they have been leading, to assist them in giving their lives meaning and to show them how to go about this.

He offers a subtle analysis of the three essential aspects that make life meaningful: loving and being loved, understanding and believing, and taking action.

Jacques Lecomte, a psychologist specialising in resilience, is the author of Guérir de son enfance. He teaches at the University of Paris-X and at the Institut Catholique, in Paris.