In a recent post, ‘What kind of travel companion are you?’, I mentioned how when we come into this life, we bring with us two gifts. One we are given and the other we are to give.
The gift we are given is the gift of free choice – choice as to how we show up in the world, how we respond to life’s challenges, how we react to things we cannot control, how we treat others, and how we will be remembered.
Today, I want to talk about the gift we are to give.
There is much discussion, and I have had many conversations with people of all ages, about finding your purpose. It is usually in the same discussion as finding happiness or joy in your life.
Let me first say this is not easy and it’s not fast. There have been numerous occasions where I have scoffed and thought, ‘Pfftt! Yeh right – Thanks! Find my purpose? No worries 🙄! Great in theory! I have NO clue what I am supposed to be doing and NO idea how to figure it out!!!’
There is a story taken from Viktor Frankl’s book, ‘A Man’s Search for Meaning’ which relays a conversation between the author and one of his colleagues at a concentration camp during the war.
The man shares how he has had enough, and has decided to kill himself. ‘I have nothing more to expect from life. What more could life hold?’.
Any reasonable person can appreciate that living in that time in those conditions could completely justify having this attitude, yet despite this, Viktor’s response was, ‘That may be true, but maybe life expects something from you.’
I think this is one of the greatest examples and ways to explain the first step in finding our purpose. Perhaps the gem in this is that it’s not about us at all – it’s all about others!
It is much easier to focus on what we want, what we are getting out of a situation, how we can benefit, and the classic WIFM – ‘What’s In It For Me’. Some of these certainly have their place and we are better able to help others when we are in a capable capacity. But perhaps the answer to what is my purpose lies in shifting our focus from ‘how can I be fulfilled’ to ‘what am I here to do’ or ‘what am I needed for?’.
If the point of life is to find our purpose and live it fullfilled, then it would seem the best way to do that is to get out of our own way. Oh, and to accept the fact that there is something bigger than ourselves and our own needs.
Spoiler alert – There is no simple answer as to how we can find our purpose or the meaning of our life.
There are millions of excellent courses and even more fabulous coaches who will all tell you in one form or another, they have the answers … for a fee. I have no doubt that a lot of what they share is highly valuable and there is much guidance and wisdom to be taken from them, however, I also believe that the important things, like happiness, for example, are an inside job.
I would like to think that the strategy of a good coach or course is to present things in a way that you come to your own conclusion – most things in life are up to you and can only be found by going within.
Only we can really figure this out. Only we can find our purpose, find happiness, and find personal fulfillment.
There is nothing out there that definitively tells us how to find meaning. So often, we look to others to see what they’re doing. We copy their actions or listen to their well-meaning advice as to what we should do, only to have what they have, and still feel a sense of emptiness.
A big fat myth: If I appear successful, I will feel successful.
How many of us are following someone else’s path instead of our own?
Or worse, how many of us are living someone else’s dream instead of creating our own?
There is not enough room in a post to cover it all so until next week, I will say this.
In order for us to grow, and move towards finding or living our purpose, we need to:
- Be open to new possibilities
- Accept that there is a higher purpose for us being alive than simply existing and
- Make space in our life for something (and someone’s – no, not a typo) that is not just about us.
Join me next week where we will continue …
Dalya xx 💙