by Catherine Pratt
What is it?
A Life Theme is the idea or motivation that drives you throughout your life. It is the answer that you are always “searching” for. Basically, it is your quest for the “meaning of life”.
Why do I want to know this?
You may know your life theme or you may not. The advantage of understanding your life theme is that can provide you with great insight into why you react to certain situations the way you do or why you even do particular things. Once you know what your life’s search is for then it’s far easier to actually work on attaining your goal.
The advantage of figuring out other people's life themes is that you will then have a much better understanding of why they may be behaving in a certain way. Once you figure this out, you suddenly know an incredible amount about the inner workings of that person.
One useful application of this could be that you are having problems working with a co-worker. So you figure out that their life theme is the quest for acceptance. If you know this then you can make huge strides by being aware that you need to invite them to coffee as well when you go so that they feel like they’re part of the group. You’ll also be more conscious not to make certain comments or to just encourage them more in a certain area than you normally might not. Soon, you’ll find that not only are you no longer having problems working with them that you’re actually getting along really well.
How can you figure it out?
Think of the names of two of your favorite books of all time. You may not have read them in a long time but you still feel that they are your all-time favorite. Fiction is the easiest to get a life theme out of but it can be non fiction as well. Now, what was the main moral or theme of the books? Were the characters trying to figure out: their purpose in life, where they belong in the world, how to overcome shyness, etc? Now think about your own life? Is this something you’ve consciously or unconsciously been trying to figure out for yourself?
At first you may not know exactly what your (or someone else’s) Life Theme is but you’ll get a pretty good idea of where it lies.
Do most people have the same life theme?
Everyone is completely unique so therefore their life theme will be unique as well. Most likely it will also be affected by situations they’ve been through in the past.
There are lots of different ones but a common one is related to the idea of being accepted by society.
There can also be sub-categories of life themes in that the books that strike a special chord within you may involve characters involved in certain types of work. For example, you find that you tend to really enjoy books where the lead character is a struggling actor. This may be because being an actor is the one secret desire you truly have. More than anything in the world, this is what you want to do with your life but for whatever reason, you're not pursuing this dream.
Can you only ever have one life theme?
Life Themes can change over time. The answer you seek at 20 and single most likely will be significantly different by the time you are 40 with 3 kids but not always. For example, if you are always trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do with your life, this may continue until you discover the answer. Once you do figure it out, you may find that your life theme changes in relation to this new knowledge. For example, if your life theme is “how do I feel accepted?” then once you realize the answer to this and start to live a life of feeling that you’re truly accepted then your life theme may change to become “how do I help others to feel accepted?”.
Power of Knowledge
The wonderful aspect of figuring out your own or someone else’s life theme is the incredible insight it provides you with. Used properly, it can enable you with the tools to achieve your greatest dreams or even to just get along with that certain relative or co-worker. It’s up to you.