Lately, I’ve been working on being softer towards myself. Kinder. Slower. Why? Because it just feels so darn good, but also because I’m feeling anxious. You might be feeling the same way. Anxiety is fairly common this time of year. There’s lots of pressure to map out the perfect 2013, and let’s not forget the nagging pressure to finally dump the junk in our collective trunks.
Countless wellness bloggers are writing about solutions for these very timely issues. And while I have my own tips and tricks, we’re not going to chew on those today.
This isn’t a blog about strategies or resolutions. It’s about a bigger question that often leads to the ultimate anxiety: How to find your purpose.
Just thinking about “finding your purpose” exercises can literally make folks sweat and pace—especially this time of year. Like it or not, we’re at a precipice. We’re being called to leap into new beginnings and all that jazz. Perhaps you’re reflecting on the last 365 days and saying, “Well, I sure got a lot done, but what’s it all for? What’s my higher calling? How do I stop spinning my wheels and get down to business? And to be even more blunt: What the hell am I supposed to be doing with my life?!”
I struggled with this, too, until I finally found my purpose (spoiler alert: or so I thought) with Crazy Sexy Cancer and then Crazy Sexy everything else. At first, I felt very strong and proud. My feathers were fluffed. I had finally arrived spiritually. For the rest of my days, I wouldn’t have to worry about the burning “what’s my purpose?” question. I used to tell myself, “Well, that’s one good thing that came from cancer.” It seemed pretty clear: My purpose was to help people get healthier and to teach prevention. Pretty rad. A karmic home run.
But here’s the rub. When our purpose is external, we may never find it. If we tie our purpose or meaning to our vocation, goal, or an activity, we’re more than likely setting ourselves up for suffering down the line.
Your purpose has nothing to do with what you do.
There, I said it. Your purpose is about discovering and nurturing who you truly are, to know and love yourself at the deepest level and to guide yourself back home when you lose your way. That’s it. Everything else is your burning passion, your inspired mission, your job, your love-fueled hobby, etc. Those things are powerful and essential, but they’re not your purpose. Your purpose is much bigger than that.