You have heard of the mid-life crisis, or people taking time to “find themselves”. What is being described is when an individual is unsure of their own purpose in life.
If you are unsure of your purpose in life, chances are it is because another person is in control of your life directly or indirectly. People become doctors because their parents are doctors and it is expected of them, or they marry a certain kind of person. There are many reasons people end up in these situations.
There are always people who have strong opinions, often ones that seem desirable. As you mature, you have to decide which ideas matter the most to you and then stick with them. You don’t have to stick with them forever, especially if it doesn’t suit you. The important part is to try to find your own way.
It can be very difficult to find your way when you don’t know what you want. People often have a vague idea of what they like and dislike. But because they haven’t fully explored those ideas, they are unsure of themselves. They are unable to evaluate how important it is for them, so they flit and fleet each time the wind blows in a different direction. The constant change in direction results in personal needs never being fulfilled because rather playing out your own ideas, you play out others.
It may happen that you figure out the path you thought you were supposed to be on, the path you thought was the right one is NOT the right path for you. This is a normal part of self-discovery which can sometimes result in painful realizations.
You will know that something is amiss when you always feel like there is something missing in your life. If you feel a general feeling of dissatisfaction with your life, and you can’t pinpoint why, it is a very good sign that you are living out someone else’s dream rather than you own. This does not suggest that sometimes you don’t need to compromise with your partner. You do, and you should. But there is a difference between carrying out a shared vision versus giving up your own dreams in order to carryout out dreams for someone else.
If your sense of self is compromised, it can become particularly difficult to manage opinions that come from every direction. Because you don’t know what you want or feel, your sense of purpose may seem all over the place. People often hold their beliefs for a reason, some sound and some not so sound. Whether or not it is sound, they sincerely believe your life will be better if you simply follow out their advice. Even if the advice is true, you cannot carrying out everyone’s advice all at once. You still have to make a decision and chose. It is easier to do this when you know what it is important to you.
When your dreams are supplanted by the dreams of others, it can lead you to focus on things that aren’t very important to you. It can force you to forgo things that are important to you. You end up making choices based on someone else’s values instead of your own because you seek approval and validation from others.
Here are some guidelines to help you discover your purpose:
What are your values
What is your integrity calling you to do? What do you deeply believe and value? What is important to you? This is a huge topic and can be broken down in so many areas.
What is important is that you spend some time exploring what those things are. Part of the process is evaluating what they may be and how important they are to you in relation to each other.
When you take the time to really think about these things, then you will not get derailed by allowing other people’s fears, expectations and agendas drive you.
Set down boundaries
People with weak boundaries end up violating their own integrity and don’t treat themselves with respect. Everyone needs to set boundaries. Boundaries help you avoid detours in the path that is right for you. It enables you to say no when appropriate. Just because someone wants you to do something doesn’t mean you have to do it.
Let go of attachment to others
When you give up your attachment to others, you let go of trying to control them. Controlling another is time consuming and an energy drain because you spend your time focusing on someone else rather than yourself.
You will see results
These small steps are incredibly effective. They help you surf over a tidal wave that threatens to engulf you. When you find the joy of your own life purposes, you will find yourself in a place of serenity and peace. It’s a feeling like no other because you get to choose, think, feel and believe the way you decide. Not your parents, your sweetheart or anyone else.
Everyone has a purpose in this life. At the root of it is to know yourself. Your purpose is not someone else’s.
The road to get there will be not be easy. It may be filled with bumps and pebbles. It takes courage, trust and persistence to get there. But the rewards are great when you get there.
When you pursue your own purpose, unique to you, without compromising yourself, or your values, without settling, you will be at peace because your free and fulfilled.
Ak yourself, Who’s life am I living today? If the answer is “not mine”, then you must make a change. The time is now.