It seems like every time you turn around, someone’s talking about purpose. Why are you here? What is your passion? What are you meant to do during your time on this earth?
Those are the hard questions.
Most of us aren’t entirely sure. We didn’t just slide out of the womb knowing what we were supposed to do for the rest of our lives.
Figuring out your purpose can be a challenge and it often changes as you grow and evolve, but I've found one question that helped point me in the right direction when I didn’t know what I wanted. It put me in touch with what I value and why.
If you had to leave your loved ones with three of your truths, what would they be?
Let’s look at mine and what they mean to me:
1. Your relationships are the key to a happy life.
There are a lot of things I can live without these days but my relationships aren't on that long list. They truly are the reason I’m glad to be alive. The people I hold dear to my heart fill me up with happiness and I want nothing more than to love them good!
Whether we like it or not, we’re all in this together. We're not always dealt the family we wished for and sometimes our friends get on our last nerve, but they're our tribe. These are the people we share the journey with and the love and support we give each other can elevate our lives and bring us meaning.
When I leave this world, the memories with "my people" will be lasting, not the things I accumulated along the way.
2. Kindness is the right choice and should be used often.
When my husband Mark was ill, we took a trip to San Francisco to see a specialist. The kids came along so we could enjoy some family time while we were away.
When the examination and consultation were complete, the doctor looked at us with sorrow and said he couldn't provide any additional help. My strong and amazing husband probably had five years to live.
We left the office and it was all I could do to keep my composure and not collapse to the floor. The kids had no idea what had been discussed and I didn’t want to frighten them by losing it. I wanted desperately to stay on my feet and make a plan for the rest of the day... but I was dying inside.
When we got on the elevator, an older woman caught my eye and somehow SHE KNEW. I don’t know if she sensed I was in pain or if she was an angel sent to help me, but she knew! She put her hand softly on my shoulder, looked me straight in the eyes with incredible love and said firmly, “You have a beautiful family and everything is going to be okay. It's okay.” I wanted to burst into tears but managed to hold it together. I squeaked out a thank you and we got off the elevator.
That simple act of compassion changed me. It connected me deeply to someone I’d never met before and made me feel like I was being looked after. I don’t think I could have gotten through that day without her kind words.
Don’t underestimate the value of the kindness you put out in the world. Don’t underestimate the small, sweet gestures you offer others. They heal.
You never know when a few simple words will make someone feel safe or turn their day around; even change their life. It’s up to us to take care of each other.
3. Laugh whenever possible and don’t take yourself, or anything else, too seriously.
Laughter is healing. It can diffuse the pain of a difficult situation and open your heart again.
When all was going terribly wrong, it helped me step back, take a breather and look with new eyes. It comforted me. It lightened my load. As far as I’m concerned, everything's up for grabs and no drama is safe from my ridiculous and sometimes dark humor.
A recent conversation with my daughter went like this...
Annie: I can’t believe I have to pay for my physical therapy out of pocket because my deductible’s not met! That’s a lot of money!
Me: I know, but it’s just money.
Annie: But I need weeks of PT! My ankle hurts! What if it takes a long time?! What if it doesn’t work and I spend all that money for nothing?!
Me: We’ll figure it out. It’s just money. No one dies. It always works out... except that one time when your dad kicked the bucket... Okay, it ALMOST always works out. So close.
Annie: (laughing) So close.
Good relationships, kindness and humor. I can’t think of anything better. How does that direct me to my purpose? It tells me what’s important to me and why.
My purpose is to create and lovingly support beautiful relationships with family and friends, put kindness out into the world every chance I get, and fill the air around me with the sweet sound of laughter.
I have the power to make my life and the lives I touch better by being loving, kind, and funny. I can operate from that “purpose” in infinite ways.
What are your three truths? What’s important to you? What do you value and why? Give that some attention. That’s where you’ll find your purpose.
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