“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” -Maya Angelou
For some reason, humans have a need to believe that their lives have a purpose. It is not enough to just eat, sleep, work, repeat. We want something more.
From Man’s Search for Meaning to The Alchemist, there have been countless works devoted to examining the idea of purpose. Here are some little tidbits which might help you on your journey of discovering your own:
1. Follow the Sparks of Joy
Which topics do you naturally gravitate to? Which topics make your eyes glaze over immediately? These visceral reactions should give you clues as to which goals and activities will make you feel deeply fulfilled.
Make sure to take stock of your life periodically, and organize your priorities around the people/places/things that add joy to your existence.
2. Connect with Your Inner Child
As a child, you were most likely the purest, most unadulterated version of yourself. You liked what you liked – and you tried to avoid what you didn’t. This is because children don’t yet have a clear grasp of society’s norms and expectations, which can be a wonderful thing.
If you’re dedicating your life to something that would make your inner child cry, it’s time for a change. Make sure you’re always making that kid you once were very proud.
3. Get Out of Your Own Head
It’s easy to get caught up in an existential whirlwind of purposelessness while staying in your bedroom with a tub full of ice cream. Instead, it is often useful to venture out of your comfort zone and get involved with something that will quiet down your mind and actually teach you something you didn’t know about yourself.
4. Never Stop Asking Questions
Always, always remain curious. If you’re unhappy, you need to ask yourself why. If you feel yourself pulled towards something in particular, you need to ask others how you can get there. You also need to ask yourself which sacrifices you’re willing to make for what you want.
Here are some questions which could help you get closer to finding more purpose in your life:
- What makes you lose track of time?
- How can the world use your skills and passion?
- What are you embarrassed about, and why?
- When was the last time you felt truly alive?
- If you had an infinite amount of money, what would you do?
5. Tell Your Story
Sharing what’s on your mind not only helps you let go of weighty emotions, but it helps others. You never know if an experience you went through will help others going through the same thing.
From Michelle Obama to Steven Spielberg to Van Gogh, individuals have expressed their life experiences in various mediums, inspiring the world.
There is a purpose to your life. It is up to you to define and fulfill it. Even if you decide that there is no purpose to your life, you still get the liberation (and despair) that comes with that, with which you may do as you wish. Finally, keep in mind that things change with time, and that some seasons might bring more fulfillment than others. I hope you find a way to enjoy it all.
Adelle Goldenberg is the Executive Editor of GlamSalad.com. She thinks this quote by Richard Leider is fun to say: “The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose.”
Cover photo captured by Eva Balogh.