“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.” – Dalai Lama XIV

Meaning refers to importance or value. It is how we understand the nature of our personal existence and feel it is significant and purposeful. Pursuing a meaningful life leads to thriving.

Some say nothing good will ever come from their loss, although that can change if they embrace healing.  Those who stay open may have their lives touched in the most unexpected loving ways. Closing the heart can increase and extend suffering. 

Those in profound grief often feel absolutely nothing good could ever come from loss and death. They feel angry if meaning-making is mentioned, and that’s OK. It makes sense that anyone could feel this way, and there was a time when I did too.

I hope this is useful now, but if you feel resistance, I encourage you to tuck the information in the back of your mind as you may find it useful later. After whatever time it takes to process the unimaginable, you may come to a place where you deeply desire peace. You may then allow yourself to consider life in a way that expands your views. 

People around the world report discovering profound experiences they never expected after loss.  Some embrace only one word to describe their experience, and others can relate to more or all words used. Perspectives greatly vary by person and situation. You decide what makes sense for you.


Meaning-making is the process of how people reflect, understand, or make sense of life events, relationships, and the self. It refers to re-defining human existence in a constructive way. Grief can shatter assumptions about any part of life, but a new worldview can be created along with a life that works. Meaning can’t be imposed. It emerges as we process loss.

Growth involves a positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning.

Lessons are the truths about us and life we may not have seen without our loss experience. 

Gifts refer to the positive ways loss affects your life after grieving. Experiences you receive without expectation of anything in return.

Blessings in disguise refer to experiences that first appears to be bad or unlucky but is good and seen as God’s favor.

Value or wisdom from suffering means painful emotions may motivate or even make us feel forced to focus on areas where we need improvement resulting in feeling empowered and experiencing a more meaningful life.  


  • Developing an education program
  • Establishing a scholarship
  • Founding a goodwill movement like paying it forward
  • Fundraising
  • Getting a law passed
  • Making a documentary or movie
  • Participating in research
  • Publishing a book
  • Starting a charity or foundation

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