If you are a human being, chances are that you’ve questioned your existence. Life is an overwhelming experience that seems to expect so much from us. The problem is that realizing your true purpose in the grand scheme isn’t a straight-forward, easy answer.
This TED talk inspired me to dabble into this question, one that I am far too familiar with asking. Everyone else in the world seems to have all their ducks in a row. There’s a clear path set out for them, and they’re knowing where their feet land as they walk forward.
Me, on the other hand, is out here, wandering in the desert for much longer than forty days, feeling quite hopeless when a “moment of clarity,” that glorious oasis, turns into quicksand.
Comparison is the thief of joy, but that doesn’t excuse the difficulty behind realizing your true purpose. Most of us don’t have a clear “aha” moment that smacks us in the face right when we need it. Tapping into our truest selves, often buried beneath layers of distractions and thoughts, will be the most direct way to realizing your true purpose.
why is this so hard?
What really inhibits realizing your true purpose is getting into that mindlessly numbing routine. Every day looks the same. You wake up, brush your teeth, go to work or class, come home, and go to sleep. A little more in the middle, of course, but in a basic premise, this isn’t much in day-to-day life that goes beyond simply existing.
That’s what it so often feels like. We’re just getting by, surviving. We find some successes and accomplishments along the way, but for the most part, we all deep-down would like to know that everything we’re doing right now is worth it. We want to know why we’re here on this earth. Most of all, we want to somehow make this daily, insignificant task list into something more.
It’s always a good reminder, but you matter. I matter. Everyone matters.
We’re not just wandering around for no reason. We each have a significant contribution to make. The problem is figuring out what that is. That’s when we start trying to make patterns and connections, sometimes out of nothing.
We assume that God or the universe or whatever else will wave some magic wand and give an obvious signal of where to go in life, what to do.
Sometimes we do hear those urges and whispers, but chances are, they come from within. We shouldn’t expect society to spoon-feed us the answers to existential questions. We have to rely upon introspection and prayer for that. Let me also share some tips that I’ve learned while discerning my true purpose.
1. where am I now?
Where am I now?
First off, what are the current circumstances you’re working within? This means we must look outside of the story we’re telling ourselves of what our lives are or what they should be.
Personally, my self-story has needed to change drastically in recent months. Since realizing I’m autistic, realizing my true purpose has transformed to best fit what I know about myself, my strengths and weaknesses.
I’ve spent so much of my young life pushing myself into a mold that was never meant for me to fill. As an ambitious type-A person, I expected myself to be a hustling professional, working full-time in a challenging environment in a field that would “impress” others. Whatever that means.
Except that isn’t me. At all. That kind of life would drive me bananas in the worst ways imaginable. So, where am I now? What actually suits me?
Peeling away the layers I’ve built up from external and internal expectations has greatly simplified my discernment. I can narrow down the search to areas that won’t make me physically and mentally ill. Is is what I pictured for myself originally? Not even close. But this is truly me. This is what I need to thrive.
2. what really brings me joy?
Maybe it’s cliche. We’re not talking about tidying up anything that does or doesn’t “spark joy.” Call me unrealistic, but if you’re in a situation that isn’t making you happy, then it’s not worth it.
To say such a statement is an indicator of privilege. So many of us have no choice but to do what pays the bills. I feel guilt for not being able to execute that kind of mentality to support myself. At the same time, I’m grateful to be in a place where I can use my privilege to its utmost abilities.
Those abilities come down to self-discovery, having the opportunity to grasp what really instills joy and passion in my life. What makes me feel proud and accomplished? If I could spend every day doing something, what would it be?
Answering those questions unlock purpose in its rawest form. Purpose is meaning. Purpose is fulfillment and joy.
3. lean on support.
In any capacity this may look for you, relational or spiritual or otherwise, support is key. Much of realizing your true purpose is solitary, a path only you can walk. However, that path cannot uphold itself in a vacuum.
For me, spirituality has been so important. God’s plan for me continues to unfold in each passing day, and the same goes for you. However you believe in a Divine Creator, He/She/They are molding you from an ore of potential into a radiant being. You won’t not exist in this reincarnation of life without a purpose.
While loved ones’ opinions can spin you every which way, their compassion for you is what truly matters. People have their thoughts and world views, but don’t let those blind you from yourself. Instead, ask for empathy as we each embark on this adventure called life.
Make this support system a daily ritual, expressing gratitude or connecting with those sources of strength. Again, realizing your true purpose feels very isolating. Once we step beyond our minds and see all the beauty around us, this discernment becomes more tangible.
realizing your true purpose is possible.
The bottom line is, it’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s not about our individual selves envisioning our own separate ideas of our own success and happiness and our own accomplishments that top everyone else’s. Our egos and sense of competition get in the way of actually feeling fulfilled. We aren’t meant to be absolute rulers of our own kingdoms.
Life finds purpose from everyone else. Our interactions, our relationships, our place in society are what bring clarity. We are not leaders, but stewards simply guiding others and sometimes letting others have more control. Our lives and everything in it are temporary; we don’t have sole ownership.
Establishing a worldview within ourselves that sees our position as humanity to be more than “just another species,” then we can take on appropriate responsibilities and actions that benefit yourself and everyone and everything around you.
Life is not about looking good, feeling good, and getting the goods, as consumerism and materialism tell us. Possessions do not determine your self-worth and happiness. Being good and doing good are what really matter. Giving your life to something beyond your own ego. The purpose of having influence, is to a voice speaking for those who fall quiet, that we might overlook, issues we might toss aside.
So here’s the most important question: What’s in your hand? What have you been given, and what are you going to do with that? For a lot of us, we might say things that determine our identity, occupation, and income.
Talents, education, freedom, opportunities, ideas and more. And if you have influence from those things, that is a great power with an even greater responsibility.
We’re all made and are are in our own circumstances to fulfill our purposes. We have innate gifts and gifts we receive and our worldview will decide how to use those.
I hope that with what is in your hand, realizing your true purpose, you serve others. You use your experiences as tools for others to learn from. You love.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie
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