- Dora Nudelman
What Is Your Purpose?
Ah, the age-old questions: "What is my purpose?" and "Why am I here?" Much has been written and said about this topic, yet there are still many people going about their busy days without a clue as to why they are really here and what they actually want in life.
But I have a simple solution. When contemplating your purpose the only real question you need to ask yourself is, "What makes me happy?" That's it. Figure that out and voila, there's your big answer. Now, while this sounds simple enough, sometimes figuring out what truly makes us happy is easier said than done. That's because often times our egos get in the way and we focus more about comparisons, competition, and societal "standards" than we do on what truly speaks to our soul. We get so caught up in other people's dreams that we forget about what we actually want for ourselves. So before we can figure out what really makes us happiest at our core, we will need to release the need for everyone else to approve of our decisions.
Another reason why this process might be harder than it sounds is because so many of us believe that to be/do/have what we truly love and enjoy means to be selfish and unrealistic. But, in truth, being happy is not a luxury. Rather, it is a necessity if we are to truly be of service to anyone. You see, when we are unhappy, feeling unfulfilled and confused, no one benefits from that. Have you ever tried to make someone else feel better when you yourself were feeling like crap? That's difficult to do, right? So it's actually more selfish to ignore our own needs than it is to be blissful in our lives. The fact of the matter is, you can only give what you have to give.
On another note, while purpose is often intertwined with vocation, it doesn't always have to be. Our purpose is not always that focused. Instead, it can be a general essence or theme that we can express in a multitude of ways, including through our career but not always that specific. For example, your purpose could involve helping others in need, but that could be expressed in many ways. You could become a lawyer and fight for those who don't have a voice. You could start a charity and help a specific group within society. You could dedicate some of your free time to volunteering. You could become a nutritionist and help people become healthier. Or you could simply be a stable figure for others in your life to lean on.
Now, if you are indeed unhappy in your work then perhaps it is true that you are not fulfilling your fullest potential. But it can also mean that you are not completely appreciating the opportunity you have right now to infuse meaning into whatever you are currently doing. You see, the best way to find the work that speaks to you the most (i.e., best expressing your purpose) is not from a place of frustration and misery but rather from a place of making the most of where you are right now. So as you search for where you do want to be, try to find the light in where you currently stand. Because if you simply change your perspective from not wanting to be there to seeing it as a stepping stone and an opportunity to share your light, you will eventually be inspired with ideas of where to go next, for a defeated mind will bring little inspiration, but a heart full of appreciation will bring plenty of opportunities for advancement.
So figure out what truly makes you happy, in your career, yes, but in your life in general too. Who do you want to be with? What is your passion? Where do you want to go? What do you really want to do? If there were no limits to what you could be/do/have, how would you answer those questions? And know that your desires and purpose can evolve over time with every stage of your life. Follow your bliss in any way that you can now and then the puzzle pieces will come together for you to form the greater picture that is your best life. Furthermore, pay attention to anything that you keep coming back to, regardless of setbacks, failures, disappointments, or discouragement, because that will be a good indicator of where your purpose lives. For me it's writing. What is it for you?
So start thinking about it now. What makes you the happiest, and how can you express that from where you stand today? Know that you deserve to be happy and fulfilled. That is your ultimate purpose in life! Now go and figure out what that means to you specifically.