Are you floating through life, going from day to day, just existing for the space of that singular day? Where every day is its own book – with its own beginning, middle and end – rather than each day being a page out of your life’s book, where the story and characters can develop and grow, giving you meaning. You know there’s something missing, something more that is meant to be, but you can’t put your finger on it… What if I tell you that finding your life’s purpose can eradicate that feeling of each day being an isolated event? Having a purpose in life gives deeper meaning to your existence, it motivates you, it is the difference between you carrying on and giving up, it can be a driving force for you and give you a reason for being.
Across social media and blogs I see that people are trying to find a purpose to their lives, they are craving it – but what does it actually mean to have a life’s purpose? Are you meant to give up everything and go replant trees to counteract deforestation? Or go join a convent to live a life of servitude? I think that in order to answer this we need to start at the very beginning – by defining what purpose is:
Patrick McKnight and George Kashdan researchers from George Mason University define purpose as “a cognitive process that defines life goals and provides personal meaning”. The Oxford Dictionary states that purpose is “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists”. In other words, a “life purpose” is something important to you, that makes you feel good, gives you a reason to get up in the morning, it gives meaning, continuity and flow to your existence.
“I believe we’re all put on this planet for a purpose, and we all have a different purpose… When you connect with that purpose, and move forward with love and compassion, that’s when everything unfolds.“ – Ellen DeGeneres
Remember that each one of us is different… you and I have different values, beliefs and experiences, therefore what I find meaningful will be vastly different to what you find meaningful. This applies to purpose as well. Because our skills and passions are different and what we value and believe is different, it naturally follows that we won’t share the exact same purpose… Your purpose will be unique to you, because it is all about YOU, at the stage you are going through in life. Not everyone will find purpose in philanthropic work, some find purpose in creating order, others in producing music or performing the ballet or teaching a child to read. You may truly find your purpose in running off to South America to work in a reforestation project, whereas I find purpose in raising my children and helping others to live a life they love. Neither is wrong or better than the other.
The important thing is to have a purpose – a reason to be that makes you feel good about being you.