Previously invulnerable in the fight ring. Undefeated in 18 bouts. Champion. Rhonda Rousey had it all, until Holly Holm knocked her out in late 2015, not only stealing her crown but her identity: "I was sitting in my corner and was like, 'What am I if I'm not this? I was literally thinking about killing myself...I'm nothing. What do I do anymore and no one gives a (rip) about me anymore without this.'"
Rousey yields a great example of logotherapy, developed by psychiatrist Viktor Frankl. He suggests "our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life" (Viktor Frankl Institute). Her meaning was to be an undefeated champion, and when that failed she had no meaning left. Fortunately, shefound another, to come back and defeat Holm and to have babies with her man, Travis Browne.
But do we face an endless series of chasing a changing meaning in a world filled with dreams defeated? We may find meaning in economic success, until the next recession. Or our marriage and family, until ended by death or divorce or separation. Our good looks may be our bedrock, until age becomes the sledgehammer.
What a huge risk, to place the primary significance of our lives on temporary tools. Of course, you know I'll next present a solution. :) Maybe we should build the main meaning of our lives on what won't change. On knowing God--he'll always be here and love us with grace. On growing in godliness--a goal we'll never fully meet, but can always improve in. On using the energy and resources of our lives to improve the world--Lord knows it will always need that.
That must be the central essence of who we are. If our identity lies within our job, or success, or anything else, it can desert us. It may stay, but we can't control that. Only when we focus on our identity with God, our value he sets upon us regardless of our achievements, can we craft the stability we need to hang in tough through all the defeats and difficulties we all face in life.
Of course, we do get value and meaning and satisfaction from the others. But let's make them secondary, not primary. Viktor would be proud.
Kick Starting the Application
Think carefully. What matrix defines you and gives you value? Don't focus on what you think that should be, but go deeper. What, if lost, would most devastate you? That may perhaps be your primary source of meaning. Where does a connection to God fit in? Does it?
Right now, is that connection the central force of your identity and meaning? What can you do this week to increase it?