8 Sign Posts in Finding Your Sense of Purpose
Morning. One eye slowly opens. A wave of inertia flows over you.
Do you force yourself out of bed each morning reluctant to face another blaah day the highlight of which will be going to bed again in 14 hours? Do you find yourself listlessly flipping the television channels minutes after getting up in the endless search for…..what?
Last week, my younger sister died. It was hard to accept because of her age. And when I think of her life, I feel a deep disappointment for her. She used to be full of purpose. She finished Engineering and had a lucrative and challenging job in a big corporation.
Then, children came and she decided to devote her time fully to their education. She guided them through school with the dream that they would end in well paying jobs after graduation. With just her husband working and several kids in school, money was tight but she had help from the family so even when the kids were in expensive courses and schools, they managed.
She had the dream of living her advanced age in reasonable luxury. It was not meant to be. She gave up her own life completely and tried to find purpose and meaning as a passenger in other people's journeys.
The kids finished and got jobs but the job market tanked so they could not really get decent work. They struggled and that was for my sister not part of the dream. Not equipped for difficulties, the disappointment crushed her spirit and her body got the signal and gave in. Her organs failed one by one and with no dream of her own, death claimed her. It was really the depths of sadness. She had no resources left to find meaning in her own life and just gave up.
At the same time, it was a powerful awakening for me. As I felt the grief, I also felt a deep disappointment with the lack of energy in my own life.
I started to ask, what really is my purpose in life? What gives meaning to my day, to my very existence? Is flitting along as a happy atom enough? I vowed to help myself recover a sense of purpose.
Here are 8 sign posts I have worked out for my journey, and maybe yours too:
1. Look at the things you have given time to and are working at or have been working at. Do any of them make your steps lighter. Do they bid you wake up so you can start building them again each day or expanding or promoting them? Do they give you more energy or do they just sap all the energy you have?
2. Take your job. What do you enjoy most in your current job? What do you not like about it? What are your choices? Are you excited about the future?
3. Who are your heroes? Why do you admire them?
4. What shows do you watch on television? What do you enjoy most in them? Are they just distractions or do they give you enjoyment? Are you learning and growing with them?
5. Are the things you give time right now, the ones you care about? The ones you value most in life? Do they make you smile…or even laugh when engaged?
6. Listen to yourself sometimes. You will be surprised at what you’ll hear. You are unique as a person so the answer to what your purpose is in life is deep in yourself. Before you go to sleep, spend sometime listening to yourself. Do the same when you wake up. Lie peacefully for a few moments and listen to what your mind and spirit are saying. It may take a few days practice, but believe me it is worth the effort.
7. Read inspiring stories. Be humble and learn from other people’s experiences. Many others have gone your route before and have shared the wisdom of their experience. In most great biographies, there is a moment when a key choice is made and a new voice heard. The same is inside you!
8. Let your imagination go. Do not be restrained by your memory. You are more than what you think you are. Never, ever give up. Your journey is mainly your choice. Give it energy, and you will be a gift to everyone around you as well as a joy to yourself.
No one else can do this for you. Only you. I wish someone else will just tell me but in my over 60 years of existence, it never happened even if they tried to. I am the only one who can do it. Each one of us is indeed unique.
Our path is ours alone. Though we walk it with many others, each one of us has a different purpose. Find yours early.
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