The Problem with Purpose

Purpose is powerful.  It inspires you.  It drives you.  It fulfills you.

Everywhere you look, there are messages reminding you to live with purpose.  Shucks, I even talk about it.  This is shucktacular if you are living your “purpose” or you use it as inspiration to experiment with new ideas or ways of being. 

Why then, do some people feel like grit and go inside their shell when it comes to purpose? 

Isn’t the purpose of purpose to feel purposeful? 

If the idea of purpose is makes you shrink, feel bad, get defensive, or any of the other “fun” fear-based feelings, then there is something that needs to be revealed and healed. 

Here are a couple of the most common misconceptions of purpose that creates unnecessary pressure:

  1. We need to KNOW our purpose at all times
  2. We only have ONE purpose
  3. Our purpose needs to be GRAND
  4. It’s TOO LATE to live my purpose

Many people that think they need to know their purpose at all times – that purpose is somehow static.  We change over time.  Our lives change.  This means what feels aligned in our life also changes.  Since you never stop changing, it is important to find new ways of living.  If you are in the space in between your purposes, have some fun.  Look at who you admire.  Try radically different things.  See what makes your heart sing.

Talk about pressure if you think there is just one purpose for you.  This means if you can’t find that one thing, you are a complete failure.  Or, maybe you are questioning whether the one thing you are doing is the “the” thing.  This can make anyone go in to a spin of self-doubt.  Let me help you out.  There are many reasons you are here.  It can be as simple as opening a door for someone or a little more effort like sharing your artistic talents with the world.  There are so many ways to serve the world.

Another misconception is that there is some sort of size with purpose.  That some people’s purpose has a greater value than others.  On whose scale?  How do we judge whether a teacher shows one child unconditional love is more or less important than a neighbor who brings food to someone in their time of need (or just because)?  It all matters.  YOU matter. 

I also hear people falling in to the idea that it is too late to live my purpose.  It is never too late.  Laura Ingalls Wilder published Little House on the Prairie at age 65 and Ray Kroc started McDonalds in his 50s.  Use your experiences.   Use the different circumstances in your life.  Go for whatever you want.  If you don’t, no one will do it for you and that will be one big hole in your heart.

What if the purpose of life is to just live?  What if you are here to feel what it is like to be a human?  To feel pain and joy.  To feel the wind on your face.  To revel in flowers blossoming in the spring.  To get messy trying to paint.  To get lost on an adventure.  To listen to angelic voices sing.  To learn as many things as you can.  To learn one thing deeply.  To forgive.  To meet your neighbors.  To cry.  To laugh.  To any and everything human.

I want the idea of purpose to inspire you.  Lift you up.  Create new ideas.  Find courage to experiment.   Stumble.  Laugh.  Live.  Let go of any of the ideas that make it anything else so you can keep your shell open and shine!   

As always Jessica, I’d love to hear your thoughts on purpose because the purpose of me sharing is to connect with you and learn more about you, myself, and life!