What is Your Why?

“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” 
― Viktor E. Frankl

Two of the catalysts to creating a life deep in contentment, I believe, are identity and purpose. These fundamental explorations of who we are and what we're here for, cultivate a deep connection to our lives and our place in the world. 

I know personally, that a loss of who I was and a disconnection to any meaning in life, propelled me into hopelessness and poor mental health. 

In learning about and recovering my true self, I could establish what it is that I want from life. I could connect to my passions and talents, my personal offering to this world, how I want to engage with my own, exclusive experience of life.

The pursuit of purpose was a significant motivator in my own recovery and journey to contented wellness. I wanted to get better so I could help others get better, I felt connected to and inspired by the potential of making a difference. I wanted this blog to become a resource in assisting others overcome their challenges and develop a love for both life and themselves.

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” 
― Victor Frankl

Fixating on our problems and our past does not help us. Feeling disadvantaged and dis-empowered only serve to keep us captive to our circumstances. Regardless the experiences we have encountered, we always get to choose how we respond to them. Responding with a thirst for meaning, transforms the tough times into learning curves, unique life experiences, opportunities for growth, the potential to become stronger, wiser and more resilient.

Uncovering our 'why' leads us to our profoundly powerful purpose, unique to each of us, awaiting our awareness. 

I wholeheartedly believe that this path of discovery, would be of much more benefit than digging into the past, constantly reminding ourselves of our struggles or affixing a label/diagnosis upon our situation. I think we need to start looking outside of our immediate state in a way, and see that we are part of something bigger, something more.

From what I've learned about purpose, here's three areas to look into to strengthen its capacity to transform your experience.

What is it? 

"..true fulfillment comes from designing your own life. To find your purpose, you must decide what’s truly right, and know it by your heart and soul, not by your fears or your head. A decision made from fear is always the wrong decision, always." 
Tony Robbins

I think purpose is our reason for being. It is what we love and what we are inspired by. It feels good to pursue and connects to our feelings of fulfilment. It's not a mere goal or dream, but the driving force towards a life of meaning.

"It’s difficult, of course, to measure a concept like meaning in the lab, but, according to psychologists, when people say that their lives have meaning, it’s because three conditions have been satisfied: they evaluate their lives as significant and worthwhile—as part of something bigger; they believe their lives make sense; and they feel their lives are driven by a sense of purpose.” 
Emily Esfahani Smith

I think that purpose can change in some ways too. I felt very connected to the purpose of my own recovery to help others, of promoting positive mental health and everything that encompasses - however I feel myself shifting towards the promotion of all of us living well and in harmony with our environment. I want to inspire more interaction and action in creating a more positive place. I want to look more into human behaviour and impact, norms and issues, our influence on this world on a larger scale. I'm still passionate about mental health though, so this has led me to question my purpose as it stands now. To which, I have found the answers of; learning and teaching. I think my purpose is to curiously explore whatever questions my heart poses and share my learnings most likely through the expression of words. 

So for me, finding purpose is a continual path that can take various shapes and forms. The important thing is to realise that ‘why’, that drive and that unshakeable force that compels us to act. Our purpose is that thing we'd follow if there were no stipulations - no fears, restrictions or obstacles. I'm sure at some stage, we've related to the idea that 'we're not just here to pay bills and die', so what then, do we believe we are actually here for? What is it that we're meant to do?

Am I connecting to it?

Once we find out what our purpose is, we need to act on it. In the same way that discovering our identity is futile if we refuse to be our authentic selves, knowing what our why is but rejecting our call to connect to it, will leave us feeling extremely dissatisfied, lost and demotivated. I know personally, I can feel when I’m disconnected from my purpose – I get agitated, frustrated, down, and even emotional sometimes. I can physically, mentally and emotionally feel the disconnect.

Life does get in the way sometimes, I definitely relate to becoming stationary on the path to purpose, but it’s like anything, once we become aware, we can get going again. It’s important to identify what aligns us with our purpose and how we can prioritise and incorporate these activities in our day-to-day. Keeping purpose in mind will motivate and drive our decisions differently. Instead of being led by ‘should’ and ‘have-to’s, remember the pull of purpose and lean into it. Listen to it. Do the things that truly fuel and fulfil your personal and powerful objective.

This is your invitation to explore this question and value the answers you receive. 

'Existential frustration arises when our life is without purpose, or when that purpose is skewed. In Frankl's view, however, there is no need to see this frustration as an anomoly or a symptom of neurosis; instead, it can be a positive thing - a catalyst for change.'
Héctor Garcia, Franesc Miralles - Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life


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