What is Your Life Purpose?

Life purpose is a key element in health and wellbeing. It is a positive driving force in our lives that can be difficult to perceive, but is keenly felt when it is lacking. As Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl states in his classic book Man’s Search for Meaning: “There is nothing in the world, I would venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is meaning in one’s life. There is much wisdom in the words of Nietzsche: ‘He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how’.” Frankl goes on to explain that “...mental health is based on a certain degree of tension, the tension between what one has already achieved and what one still ought to accomplish, or the gap between what one is and what one should become.” Life purpose isn’t necessarily set in stone and can change or evolve over a lifetime, although there is usually a common thread if you look for it.

Don’t panic if your life purpose is eluding you! You can become aware of it by opening yourself up to inspiration, by allowing the light to shine on it. Start noticing (and ideally recording) moments of inspiration, those moments of excitement or joy when your spirit is touched. What really resonates with you? What moves you? What energises you? What feeds your soul and makes it soar? It doesn't need to be a big thing. One thing for me is the bliss I feel when I receive a treatment, and it was that feeling that inspired me to become a therapist myself. Another is the thrill I feel swimming in open water, which very often inspires my creativity, which in time I have seen reflects my values and what is most important to me. Clarity on life purpose doesn’t happen overnight, but if you keep looking for the light, you will see it.

Another way of becoming aware of life purpose is by noticing the shadow of inspiration, resistance, so keep an eye out for that. Resistance shows up as: overthinking, procrastination, busyness, perfectionism, planning, seeking validation, distractions, arguments, crises, addictions, etc. Where there is resistance, look for the inspiration above it. You can take the energy out of the resistance by taking action on what created the resistance. “Feel the fear and do it anyway,” as Susan Jeffers’ book of that name says. So for me, that shadow, that fear, showed up as technophobia around setting up my online qigong offering. The trick to acting on inspiration and fulfilling your life purpose without being paralysed by fear is to take baby steps, to build your confidence gradually, one step at a time.

I will leave you with this link to a beautiful TED Talk A Life of Purpose  and with some questions to ponder that have certainly helped me to gain clarity on my life purpose:

  • What is most dear to my heart, matters most to me above all else in the world?

  • What do I absolutely love to do that fills my heart with joy?

  • How have my priorities changed?

  • What do I want to prioritise, to focus on?

  • If I am being totally honest with myself, what am I being called to do?

May your light shine brightly…