There’s this idea that our purpose in life is this defined, concrete thing, and that if we find it our lives will “click” and if we don’t we’ll forever be wandering and lost and not really “living up to our potential”.
I’m beginning to think that maybe that’s all BS.
We all definitely have needs for self-awareness and also for contribution. But our culture is skewed towards accomplishment. So we think “what we are called to do” must be an accomplishment. We must be called to create some specific grand thing. We all walk around comparing ourselves to Joan of Arc or Mother Theresa or Ghandi or Martin Luther King. Why? To make ourselves more miserable?
Knowing who you are might look like realizing you aren’t Ghandi and don’t have to be.
Knowing who you are might look like valuing who you already are and finding that to be quite good enough, thank you.
Knowing who you are might look like enjoying what you really enjoy and not comparing yourself to anyone.
Not all who wander are lost
For a long time I interpreted my constant reading of books and going to workshops as some evidence of me being unhappy and searching for something. Other people sometimes interpreted it that way too and reasoned that I must be unhappy and why did I need to do all that work? But now I realize I do all that because I love ideas and I love expanding my worldview. I love exploring ideas and learning new ones and it’s not about finding the right idea, it’s about learning new ones all the time and the joy of exploration and discovery. That exploration is who I am. I’m not “looking for who I am” by exploring. I’m expressing who I am by exploring. So now I support myself by giving myself lots of room and time and books to explore and I feel great about it.
Accomplishing things is something that makes most of us happy. We get to feel good and productive. But it’s not everything.
What if what we are called to do is really a way of being rather than doing? A way of being that brings us joy. And maybe we’re already doing many of the things that we want and just not letting ourselves enjoy it and really have it? This has been my experience anyway…when I’m most me, it’s about who I am being, not what I am doing.
When I’m most me, I:
- am aware of how much I love the people in my life
- am aware of how beautiful life is
- am aware of how much joy my heart can hold
- am living in integrity with myself and others
- am enjoying the moment
Make your own list, and then post it somewhere. Remind yourself that this is who you are and that it is OK. Write somewhere on it the equivalent of: “I am not Martin Luther King. I am Emma McCreary.” Pick whoever you compare yourself to.