We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to “find our purpose.” Sitting in that space of uncertainty, feeling as if you’re wasting time or that “everyone else seems to know why they’re on this planet” except you can be suffocating.
With time, if you don’t get an answer drop-shipped from the heavens or gift-wrapped in the mail, it can trigger a spiral of sadness, apathy about your current situation and, eventually, maybe giving up even trying to create something good in your life.
Because: What’s the point?
If you’re like me, you’ll start to question why you were given a bunch of skills and talents if you can’t figure out how you’re “supposed to” use them.
If this feels familiar to you, I’d like to let you in on a secret: I don’t know my purpose. Not only that, but I’ve made peace with the fact that I may never know my purpose. Because after a whole bunch of trying to figure it out, I’ve realized a few things.
You probably have more than one
I brought two children into the world, raised them to adulthood, and we still like each other. This is something I had set out to do in my life, well before I became a mother.
Does that mean that that was my (only) purpose?
I worked as a nutritionist and health educator for 20 plus years and I don’t do that anymore. Was that my (only) purpose? I sure hope not, because I see another several healthy decades in front of me.
I recently went through a personal exploration that resulted in writing a book to encourage women like you to bring your gifts unapologetically into the world. I wrote the book because I believe that if you courageously bring your real self Being, you will have a powerful influence on making good things happen in the world.
Is that my purpose? It’s definitely one of them, right now.
All of this is to say that I don’t think we have (one) purpose in this lifetime. So:
It’s too easy to make “finding your purpose” your purpose. Expending untold energy “trying” to figure out your one-true-purpose is a pretty darned good excuse to do nothing at all.
If you’re struggling to find your purpose, take some time for quiet reflection. Look back on your life and acknowledge previous “purposes.” I find that journalling helps with reflection. At the beginning of your entry, write: Past purposes. Press rewind on the story of your life. Record what floats to your consciousness.
Notice that you’ve had more than one purpose. When you do this exercise, I predict you’ll unscrew the pressure cap on finding your one, true purpose. (Because I hope you’ll see that it doesn’t exist.)
You might find your theme
As you do this exercise, you might discover a theme that runs like a thread through the tapestry of your life. When I did this, I discovered that my “life theme” is that I’m here to follow my curiosity. Explore. Try. Fail. Succeed. Laugh. Cry. Repeat.
What’s yours? Becoming aware of your theme will likely help to reveal what’s next for you.
Until next time,
PS One of my spirit animals has to be a hummingbird. Hummingbirds flit around from flower to flower. Their wings rotate like the infinity symbol so they can fly in any direction: up, down and even backwards. And they don’t perch for long. They follow their curiosity and seek beauty. Yeah, that’s me.