Having a sense of purpose gives value and meaning to your life. A life with a lack of purpose can be bland, lack direction and feel devoid of significance.
Frequently people are concerned with the search of happiness. Yet this is a state of mind based on external events and stimulus that is transitory
In Search of Purpose
Therefore the search for purpose is something that is of importance so that we can live more fully.
Work and relationships that we find fulfilling can provide us with that necessary purpose.
Work isn’t limited to ‘going to work’ to pay the bills, it about doing something that is industrious and creative. It isn’t about how much you earn. It’s about the quality and meaning of what you do, so includes volunteering and hobbies.
An important component of work is that it is of benefit to self and or others. It defines what we do.
Relationships are friends, family and community. It’s about having a place and context within those social networks.
An important part of relationship is belonging to a group. It defines our identity.
Value and Identity
Work and relationships together give us value and identity. These are important components of purpose and this is what defines our being.
However we change over time and so therefore what we previously found satisfying can become stagnant. Without continued development then attitudes to work and relationships can suffer and a lack of purpose emerge.
When experiencing that inner emptiness you might find yourself filling it with alcohol, drugs, pornography, gambling or any number of ways of distracting yourself from the painful feelings
The unfulfilled longing for something more can be filled. However it has to get to the point where you take action and seek to make positive change.
In the first instance it is necessary to fully experience what you are feeling. Why? Because you have probably have had years of experience of closing down those painful emotions rather than admit there is something wrong and only you can do something about it.
Having reconnected with those feelings, there is frequently an initial reaction of being stuck and not knowing what to do.
Focus is then placed on what are your desires and personal needs. What have you been missing and what have you not allowed yourself to want.
Sometimes we learn not to acknowledge our own needs because we decide on some level we don’t deserve them, other people’s needs come first or we aren’t allowed them.
Exploring what is missing and what you want helps form an image of what you desire.
Sometimes what you will find that what you seek has been lost and cannot be replaced. That might be a yearning to feel loved unconditionally and taken care of because this was not experienced as a child.
In this situation it is a time to grieve the loss, to experience the sadness and the isolation. Then to be able accept and nurture yourself in the best possible way.
For others having come to the point of recognising unmet needs then it’s about understanding what options are available to you. This takes insight and reality testing to understand the pro’s and con’s of each.
Usually change is resisted because of all the possible negatives that might be encountered. Not least of all you might feel that others will criticise, reject and abandon you.
This is when you must be courageous and take a risk. If change was easy then we would be constantly adapting to circumstances.
The key is to take responsibility for self, meaning to own the decision, the situation and the outcome.
This is about empowering self, so that we are able decide what route we take in life, rather than others choosing for us.
Rediscovering our purpose can bring energy mental and physical, a sense of wellbeing and a new direction in life.
If you are experiencing a lack of purpose and would like to work with me, I can be contacted at New Direction Solutions, Southampton Counselling and Therapy Practice.