‘I don’t need the extraordinary when I discovered heaven in the ordinary’
Today I want to discuss how to find your purpose in life. The Japanese call it ‘ikigai’ – a reason for living. So many of us have no idea what we want to do, where we want go and how we want our future to turn out. If we are lucky enough to know what our dream lives look like, we are usually too scared to pursue them, lest we should fail. For me personally, it took many years of soul-searching, self-love and hard-hitting truths to realise exactly what my purpose was. In this post, I want to share with you the 3 steps (plus writing exercises) I took to make the most of my joyful existence. True happiness awaits!
STEP 1 – KNOW THYSELF
It sounds obvious but truly knowing yourself is the key to discovering YOUR purpose in life – not somebody else’s. A lot of people find themselves in jobs, relationships, places, friendships and situations that don’t really suit them. How many teenagers are pushed into becoming doctors or lawyers by their parents when they secretly dream of being artists and writers? How many people stay stuck in jobs because it pays well but there is no real satisfaction? How many women and men remain in unhealthy partnerships for years, miserable but too scared of being alone to move on?
Here is one example: I am extremely introverted and that’s something I really love about myself. I do not want to change it nor do I need to. I am very content being more of a recluse. What I am not comfortable with is extroverted situations that drain me of all my energy. If I wanted to nurture myself, I knew I needed an admin job that was low-key, behind-the-scenes and not full of clients/meetings/socialising. My job in 2016 was exactly that and it was starting to take a toll on my mental health. In February of this year, I left and started a new job at Melbourne University that was stress-free, solitary and gave me plenty of flexibility. It was precisely what I manifested and asked the universe for. It’s amazing how just identifying that one particular trait – introverted – led me to a job I love that I don’t need to recharge from. Imagine how fulfilling your life can be once you start listening to what you need?
If you want to start getting to know yourself, grab a blank sheet of paper or a Word document and write/type what makes you, you. Be as detailed as you possibly can. Look for patterns and recurring themes. What passions/hobbies have stayed consistent for years? What do your little quirks/traits tell you about how you want to live your life? Do you spend all day making crafts? Maybe you should establish your own Etsy store and sell your wares. Do you really enjoy doing your own hair and makeup everyday? Maybe you should look into doing so professionally. Are you drawn to animals? Maybe volunteering at an animal shelter or opening up your own someday is your true life’s calling. Whatever makes you really happy or come alive can be a big part of your life if you just make room for it.
STEP 2 – LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION
Trust, trust, trust that your intuition has your back and is always leading to you a happier place if you just listen to it. For many years, I ignored mine. It would be screaming at me not to get into a toxic relationship, make a poor decision or go down a dark path and yet, I did it all anyway. When I discovered self-love, I came to the startling realisation that my intuition was my best friend. I learnt to always heed its call and follow what it was telling me. The more I did so, the easier it became. Believe me, listening to your intuition actually takes practice. Suddenly, I was no longer surrounding myself with people that set my nerves on edge. I was making better choices and doing things that I had always wanted to do. I had really wanted to start a blog for years but I was scared it would be a complete flop. I was inspired by others to try but intimidated. My intuition encouraged me and here I am going on 3 years of blogging with lots to show for it. I absolutely love my blog and cannot imagine a life without it now. This is something I want to do for many years to come. If I had continued to dismiss my inner voice, I never would’ve followed my bliss. Scary to think about!
Write down the following questions and answer them with 100% brutal honesty (pay attention to how you feel – what does your gut tell you?). I know it might be difficult but the truth really does set you free.
1.) Am I more of a career-driven/business-minded person or would I be much happier doing something creative?
2.) Am I truly content in my current relationship and do I see a bright, lasting future with this person?
3.) What is the one thing that plays on my mind the most? How can I improve it?
4.) Do I like where I am living? Does it suit my personality? (This could mean that an introverted person might prefer to reside in a small country town as opposed to living in a busy, overwhelming city).
5.) Am I in this job to make a name for myself or do I work purely to fuel my outside hobbies/interests?.
6.) Do my friends bring out the best in me? Do they enhance my life in a positive way?
7.) How do I feel about settling down and having children. Does the thought make me anxious or excited?
8.) Have I travelled to the places I really want to see? If not, why? What am I waiting for?
STEP 3 – LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE
This is going to be super morbid and blunt but I am going to state it anyway: you’re going to die one day. We all are! It’s a fact of life. Ask yourself this: do I really want to waste anymore time doing things that make me unhappy? If I really have only one life, don’t I want to start living and making my dreams come true now? Look at the big picture. I know what truly matters to me: Family, Love, Creativity & Travel. This is what I want my entire life to be filled with until my last breath. If that is exactly what I end up getting, I can honestly say my life was very well-lived. I want to be a mother, so I will make that happen. I want to explore our big wide world. I have already seen so much but there are always more adventures to be had. I love to read, write and blog so I will continue doing so. Love means everything to me so I will keep surrounding myself with those I adore for all my days. Your purpose is whatever lights you up inside. It is what makes you think: ‘this is what life is all about.’ This will be radically different from person to person which is so amazing. We all have our own purpose just waiting to be discovered and it doesn’t have to be this extreme, grandiose thing. If you feel it is your purpose to help others, become a nurse, psychologist, social-worker etc. If music speaks to your soul, become a DJ, busk on the street, perform on open-mic nights etc. Whatever it is, go there with all of your heart.
Once again, break out the paper and pen. Let the words flow out of you in a stream of consciousness as you detail what a life well-lived looks like to you. Keep the big picture in mind. What do you see? Are you surrounded by family or are you navigating the globe? Do you make it big on the corporate ladder or are you sharing your creativity/crafts with others? Do you live in the countryside, by a beach or in a bustling city? What truly matters to you and how do you want the rest of your life to play out? What brings you joy? Don’t be scared, you have plenty of time to do it all. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to live a life with purpose. For a lot of my friends, just being vegan and knowing they are helping the animals and environment has filled them with a purpose to keep spreading the message. The little things are what’s truly important.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know if you liked it and what you believe your life’s purpose is.
Peace & Love xoxo