If you feel caught up in the pressure of “finding a life purpose,” know that you are not alone. I personally believe that we recognize our purpose rather than finding it. I don’t think we wait to start living our purpose until after we know what it is. Most likely, you have been so close to your purpose that, ironically, you couldn’t see it. Regardless, when this longing comes on, it can create angst and even make us feel less than those who seem to have “figured it out.”
Here are some ideas that can help you develop a new attitude when you feel the pressure to find your life purpose:
1. Embrace the unknown and make it part of the fun.
When we are born, we all sign an invisible contract to agree that we will not know what will happen between two blinks. Learning to embrace the unknown is a point of maturity for each one of us. If we knew the end of the story, we might lose our curiosity—which would diminish our desire to explore. If our lives were pre-written scripts that we could read, we might be tempted to skip to the end and miss the fun of discovery. Notice how much more fun opening a gift is when we don’t know what is in the box.
2. Your life is a personal quest.
The questions that arise throughout your life are the clues that set up your life’s purpose. They are also tools of exploration. Notice that the word “question” starts with “quest.” It can even be broken down to “Quest-I-On.” Your life is designed to help you ask and answer your own personal questions. Trying to find a life purpose might be the very thing that blocks you from becoming aware of these questions. Maybe you can’t see the questions yet because you are still on the path of discovering the answers to them.
3. Develop trust in the timing of your life.
Different flowers bloom at different times. Certain plants, such as roses, perennials, and hydrangeas, need to be pruned. In human terms, this means shedding parts of our ego that won’t support our life purpose. The pruning of our egos prepares our souls for the great harvest. Additionally, you will need rain (pain) and sunshine (hope) equally as you are tending your soul garden. You won’t know how long it will take for you to ripen, or even what kind of flower you are, until you bloom. Accept this with grace and there will be no more suffering in your life.
4. Replace comparison with curiosity.
Our neighbors or best friends can’t see their own personal questions any faster than we can until they get there. We can only connect the dots that have already shown up. We don’t know when the next dot will appear in the landscape of our own lives, let alone what it will look like. Comparing our mud to their lotus or the time it takes them to bloom is no different than measuring rain with a ruler.
Comparison can sometimes give us the motivation to act on the inspiration we have been receiving but ignoring. We may say to ourselves, “What is it about their life that ignites curiosity within me?” It is never about the other person, but instead about fulfilling our potential to its fullest extent. This is what our souls thrive on. This is also how we can take our power back from the pressure of trying to figure it out.
5. Trust that you are wired to bloom.
Think about this: We fall several times when we are learning to walk. We are not fighting against the act of crawling, nor are we trying to walk because our four-year-old sister already is. We want to walk because we are completely taken by the determination to have more autonomy in order to explore our curiosities. The divine designed it that way. This is wired in you already. Trust that you are wired to bloom.
6. Make self-love your current life purpose.
While you are waiting for more dots to show up in your lifescape, you can work on a worthy purpose: self-love. When you feel lost, this can be your homing practice. Learning how to love ourselves, which is a skill, and practicing it for the sake of having more access to joy can’t be a waste. When we are loving ourselves, we become more confident to follow our curiosity, our built-in compass, which leads to powerful personal discoveries. Self-loving people are happy people. One happy person can change the vibration of a room just by being in it. This is a worthy purpose on every level.
In the end, your life story will be much more interesting than a definable purpose. Even when we like the title of the book, it is the content that makes us read it to the end. The meaning of life is in the making of it.