- Asking "What's the point?" often can be a sign that someone is not fully engaged in their life on an emotional level.
- If a person finds themselves questioning the point of many things, it may be because they are avoiding facing things in their life.
- Beginning to see this as a problem and taking certain steps to change this can make a difference in someone's outlook and happiness.
It’s a casual phrase, and some people use it often: What’s the point?
We mutter it under our breath at times of frustration. We throw it out at a person who is refusing to cooperate. We use it as a way to express hopelessness and helplessness. In these times, it can actually be quite useful as a way to vent some steam and stress.
But some people use it more often than others. For them, it becomes almost a mantra. It starts to run deeper than the current situation, reflecting not just momentary feelings but an overall philosophy of life.
What’s the point of doing this?
What’s the point of trying?
I’ve observed that many people who frequently question “The Point” are doing so because they feel adrift in their lives. Why are they adrift? Because they are not listening to their greatest source of connection and richness in life. They are disconnected from their most valuable anchor, director, and connector. They are out of touch with their emotions, which should be telling them what they want, feel, and need, where to go, and what to do so that they can live rich and rewarding lives.
Many of the people who ask, “What’s the point?” a lot grew up in emotionally neglectful families, in homes that treated their feelings like they were irrelevant or even burdensome. If this is you, perhaps you feel helpless or hopeless. Maybe you feel trapped, stuck, or lost. Or maybe you feel alone.
For some, the question of “What’s the point?” runs even deeper and begins to reflect a questioning of one’s very existence.
What’s the point of being here?
What’s the point of being alive?
If any of what you are reading right now applies to you, please consider it as an alarm bell. A bell that calls you to face the fact that there is a big problem in your life and that it’s time to acknowledge it.
Steps to find your answer
- Start paying attention to when these words come to mind. Most likely, there is a general theme that triggers this question. Does it happen at work or at home? When you’re alone? When you’re in conflict with someone? When something doesn’t work out for you? Take note because understanding this is important.
- Start paying attention to the words that follow What’s the point? What’s the point of __________? This will give you information about the true nature of your question. Understanding this is key.
- Start paying attention to the feeling you’re having when you say this. Are you, for example, frustrated, angry, sad, hopeless, or afraid? Helpless, lost, alone? Identify the feeling you’re having, and it will inform your next step.
- Start trying to figure out what that feeling is telling you. Feelings exist for a reason, and every feeling carries a message. The feeling, whatever it may be, is telling you that you need to change something in yourself or your life.
Emotions and their messages
- Alone: Open your walls and let someone in.
- Sad: You have lost something, and you need to process it.
- Frustrated: Something isn’t working well for you. Take action.
- Lost: Start working toward finding your direction.
Those are only a few possibilities. The number of different feelings and situations that can bring about a “What’s the point?” response is endless. Understanding yours is key. How deep does your “What’s the point?” philosophy run? Are you feeling hopeless or helpless? Or are you jumping to a simple question as a coping mechanism? Might that be actually allowing you to avoid facing the complexities in your life?
Ask yourself questions. Pay attention, and look inside yourself. Because the answer to your “What’s the point?” may not be simple. But it’s important, and it is there.
If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, seek help immediately. For help 24/7, dial 988 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. To find a therapist near you, visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.
A version of this post was also published on EmotionalNeglect.com.
©Jonice Webb, Ph.D.
To determine if you might be living with the effects of childhood emotional neglect, you can take the free Emotional Neglect Questionnaire. You'll find the link in my bio.