Why am I here? Where am I going? What am I meant to do? Why do I feel empty? What do I need to do to feel fulfilled and happy? We all have these questions at some point in our lives, and the answer is how you unpack your life purpose. Whether the meaning you are seeking relates to spiritual, emotional, mental, relationship, social, home or career aspects, you can uncover the missing pieces, identify and overcome obstacles and reach the place of contentment and joy that only being aligned with your true purpose can bring.
Defining Purpose can be Challenging
It could be that if the concept of purpose could be easily defined we would all know instinctively what the mission in life is that we should be pursuing to achieve a sense of purpose. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case.
The meaning of this concept can be elusive.
Introspection, meditation or concentrated thought may be required to uncover what it means for you. For one person it could involve altruistic and nurturing work, while someone else could be pursuing purpose through artistic endeavours. Ultimately, if you find you are driven to help others or expand your knowledge or are searching for self-expression, a creative voice, your own inner authority, freedom, creating wealth, finding love or spiritual knowledge, or any other design of life meaningful to you, that is your truth.
Your truth may not be mine and mine not yours. It is nonetheless important that we all live our own truths, as we are all different.
Purpose has a very Personal Meaning
Your purpose cannot be imposed on you. It cannot be expressed by someone else for you, either. You need to discover this meaning within yourself, a meaning which you may be sure is known to your higher self, but which you may not be able to see – yet. You may need some guidance to uncover the knowledge that exists within you, but no-one’s life is without meaning.
None of us live in isolation from our world. Even when alone, we are still part of the world around us. We impose meaning through our own perception of ourselves and the world we live in, which is highly personal. Have you ever considered that the worth (or insignificance) you attribute to yourself and your world may be contributing to your experience of having no purpose or being unsure of the meaning of your life?
How Thought Patterns can cloud Self-Insight
The thought patterns that you use habitually may be darkening your vision. For instance, we often think and talk about what we don’t want and what makes us miserable but have very little clarity when it comes to the questions: What would you rather have? How would you rather feel?
Unless you shift your thoughts away from that which increases gloom and think in terms of what it is that you would rather perceive, have, feel or do, you will not be able to achieve any clarity.
Moreover, if you think you know what would be meaningful for you personally, think about it and talk about it at length, but you are unwilling to take the steps that will allow you to realise this potential, you are no better off than the person who has no idea where he is heading. In fact, you are probably feeling worse – since you do not have the excuse that what you don’t know, you cannot act upon.
Getting back to the topic of discovering what would be meaningful for you – the first step is to define what you mean by living a meaningful life.
What does purpose or a meaningful life really signify for you?
Does it involve the desire to live out personal aspirations, to be free to make choices that will be fulfilling when it comes to how you live, what you experience in relationships or how you realise your career aspirations? Or does it refer to happiness in another area of your life? Or achieving a feeling of inner peace?
What you want is hardly ever a single thing – since you probably have many interests and aspirations. Therefore it is possible that everything I mentioned above could resonate with you. But everything I mentioned is also vague and you need to define your requirements around those vague concepts very clearly, or it will simply remain wishful thinking.
Unless you are willing to take the time and effort required to clarify for yourself how you define purpose and what exactly you mean by the concepts you include in your definition, you will not be able to move forward.
Once defined, you may not regard it as perfect, but at least it gives you the opportunity to move forward, learning more about what you want and how to get there as you go along. It is also wise to remember that the meaning you seek need not be achieved through dramatic change. Very often, what we seek is elusive, simply because we do not see what is right in front of us. Or we believe that only if a 360 degree shift can be made immediately, would the effort be worthwhile.
The loftiest of ideals will be meaningless if you are unwilling to commit to and work on the (often) dreary specifics that will allow you to get to the result you desire. You may be surprised by the energy and enthusiasm that are generated when you start taking practical steps, no matter how small, to make your vision reality. It does not really matter whether you are working towards a grandiose or small goal, or whether it involves a tangible or intangible result. As long as you are willing and able to set in motion your plan with the required steps to get there.
Sometimes you may feel that you are taking a few steps back, as you deal with the bumps in your way, but that too, is natural. If your goal is truly meaningful for you, with commitment and endurance you will be able to overcome those, even if it leads you on a detour or if you are required to adjust to new realities. At times the detours appear to be disappointing, but may present options that you may otherwise not have encountered, later seen as blessings in disguise.