Updated: Nov 1
Who feels stressed at the notion that you need to find your purpose to be happy? We put so much emphasis on figuring out what our purpose is, that it can actually stop us from living in the present, being satisfied, and finding that sweet spot where our gifts meet the world’s needs.
Here is where I want you to shift your thinking: rather than trying to find this One Big Purpose (which assumes that upon finding it and doing it you will achieve complete and total happiness), I want you to consider how you can live purposefully. Where your gifts meet the world’s needs can be small moments, too! In actuality, it is the way that we live moment to moment where we find peace.
Steps to live purposefully:
Each morning, ask yourself, “How do I want to move through the world today?” You may think things like, “I want to not be so irritable and say yes to my friends when they invite me to do things”, or, “I want to make room for more time with my children, and I don’t want to be so negative.” Take those thoughts and feelings, and channel them into an intentional mindset by offering yourself a little prayer, blessing, or meditation. I like the language of invitation because it is more forgiving–which is super helpful for those of us who are quite judgemental of ourselves. Remember, spiritual health is all about love and compassion for ourselves and the world.
Here is how you might say it–“May I release negativity and create more space for my children,” or, “God, please guide me today and give me the courage to say yes to my friends when they invite me out, and please help me soften my edges and feel less irritable. Amen.”
Set a reminder on your alarm clock or put a sticky note near the coffee pot to remind you to set your intentions. Enjoy this practice and notice how you begin to feel like you are living each day with purpose.
Name your gifts.
What is special about you? What is either in your nature or a skill/talent you have cultivated? These are your gifts! These are things that you can offer the world. Don’t fall into a trap of comparison or self-judgement and think, “Yeah, I’m good at so and so, but someone else could do it so much better!” Honor your gifts! Recognize that you have talents to offer yourself and the world.
If you are struggling to identify your gifts, think about times when you received compliments from others. Think about times you felt proud of yourself. Think about times when something felt like it came very naturally to you. Write down all of your gifts and talents. Say a prayer of thanks for the gifts you have been given and for the ability to recognize them.
Where do your gifts feel useful?
This is the part where you start to think about how your gifts meet the world’s needs. Are you empathic? Do you love working with kids? Are you a natural entertainer? Can you help mediate difficult conversations? Are you a creator? Are you a healer? Are you brave? Are you an agent of peace? Do you help others feel seen and understood? Perhaps you feel like you are most useful assisting someone else.
Write these things down, then sit and really contemplate how your talents have been useful. After that, I want you to step outside of your own experience, and consider the world as a whole. What issues call to your heart? Where do you have an idea to affect positive change? Purposeful living is an action. We must do things that positively affect others for complete health and happiness. As a living organism on this earth you are intimately connected to all that is around you. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, may he rest in peace, taught me through his works about the theme of Ubuntu, which means, I am because we are. When one is affected, all are affected. Where will you act?
What do you need to find the sweet spot of purposeful living?
You may go back to your intentions or simply go straight to prayer or meditation. This is where you ask for help–from God, Spirit, collective consciousness, your deepest self. What do you need to help you on this journey of living purposefully? Be honest and be vulnerable. Pray your prayer.
Living purposefully will help you feel like you are awake to life. If you have been feeling numb or out of touch, this could be the issue. If you’ve ever had the feeling that you have everything–the spouse, the house, the job, the kids–but you just don’t feel happy, this could be the answer. Deep happiness, joy, and contentment comes from your deepest self. Living purposefully gets you in touch with that part of you and it connects you to all that is around you.
Blessings on your journey.