What Is My Purpose in Life: How to Find Meaning When You Feel Lost

“What is my purpose in life” is something everyone ponders over at some point in life. Actually understanding the answer can be a whole different ball game.

Have you ever sat down and wondered what the reason for your existence actually is? I mean, other than living, breathing, and being a wonderful sibling/daughter/son/husband/wife/partner/mother/father/friend? I’m talking about actually thinking about the real reason you were put on this planet. What is my purpose in life? Am I meant to do something amazing? If so, what exactly is it?

Most of us sit down and wonder what our purpose is on occasion, but we let it float into our mind, we don’t quite know the answer straightaway. So it floats on back out, when we become too distracted with something we like the look of on Netflix.

This is a totally normal situation by the way, I’ve done it a million times. The thing is, actually understanding what your purpose is can bring great rewards. Knowing the reason you’re here, other than to live a full and healthy life, can help steer you in the direction you want to go. [Read: How to break through the rut of what am I doing with me life]

What do you believe?

Now, do you believe in a higher power placing you on the planet to actually fulfill a prophecy? We’re going to get a little controversial here, because some people do believe that, I personally don’t. I think you were placed here to live a life that is full and meaningful in some way.

You were placed here to do good things, but those things are not prescribed in some pre-written prophecy. I believe in destiny in some ways, but I don’t believe anyone’s sole purpose is written in stone.

What do you believe? It’s useful to think about it before you really get into thinking about your real purpose in life.

What is a purpose exactly?

When I say purpose, I’m not talking about someone tapping you on the shoulder before you were born and instructing you on the things you must do during your years to come. This is something within you that you want to do, but you’re not quite sure what it is yet.

Most of us have experienced a vague feeling of needing to do something, we just don’t quite know what the something is. We might want to help people, but we don’t know how; we might want to do something active, within nature, but pinpointing it right down to a specific is hard.

A purpose is not a reason for you being here, it’s something you should achieve to be happy and fulfilled in your own life. A purpose is not about someone else, it’s about you.

For that reason, whether you believe in prophecies or not, for the purposes of this chat, let’s forget it and focus on the here and now–you and your happiness, now and in the future. A purpose is something which fulfills you, and you alone. [Read: 15 ways to live your life to the fullest]

How to identify your purpose

Identifying your purpose and answering the ‘what is my purpose in life’ question really comes down to deep thinking. I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life in my teens or early twenties. I don’t think most people do, but we’re told that we must have a plan, we must make a choice. It’s pressure, and it actually does nothing but suppress our real longings and needs.

Perhaps you want to be a musician but you’re too scared to say that to your teachers or college professors because you know they’re going to roll their eyes and tell you to get a proper job. For that reason, you push your idea down, you play music for yourself and attempt to get a job that people will approve of.

That is a classic example of not following your purpose. In that example, your purpose is music. You are supposed to play music, learn about it, enjoy it, let it bring you joy, and as a result, you’ll also bring joy to other people. That is how a purpose helps others, not a pre-prescribed prophecy. [Read: The art of not giving a shit – How to not care and do what you must do]

How I found my purpose in life

For me, I always loved writing. It was something I did when I was a child and through college, writing stories. I loved reading and anything to do with writing in general, but when you tell someone you want to become a writer, you get that same rolled eye look. They suggest you might be better off training to become a lawyer, a doctor, perhaps work in a bank. You know, ‘proper jobs.’

Now, if your purpose is to do any of those things, that’s great. Go and do it and do it well, but for me, I knew I would never be happy doing that. I made the big mistake of simply jumping at something I thought people would approve of. I became a secretary. For 14 years I worked in admin and hated it. I told myself that work is work, and it brings in money. Then something changed. I entered a writing competition and I won!

The feeling of winning that competition and the joy of actually writing the piece that won was so overwhelming. The other overriding factor was that it just felt right. For me, that’s when I knew I’d found my purpose. Something that made me feel happy and uplifted. Something I enjoyed doing.

So, that’s what I urge you to do. Find the thing which ignites your passion, no matter what anyone else says. If it makes you feel good, if it makes you smile and fills you with excitement, that right there is your purpose. [Read: 13 secrets for how to find your passion]

So, what is my purpose in life?

It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Do you think everyone nodded in enthusiasm when I told them I was going to quit my steady and reliable admin job and become a freelance writer instead? Hell no! Half of them though I was crazy, but I did it the sensible way. I built up my freelancing business on the side, making sure that I had a safety net already there, just in case things were slow to get started. Eight years later, I really do feel that I found my purpose. I’m living it every day! [Read: How to find happiness within yourself and manifest a better tomorrow]

That’s how easy it can be. It can be anything. Perhaps you decide you want to work with animals, or become a gardener because being outside makes you feel calm and centered. Maybe you want to play music as an expression for your emotions that you struggle to cope with in any other way, or you want to become a doctor because of overwhelming urge to help other people in their time of need.

It doesn’t matter what it is. Nor does it doesn’t matter how much you think people will judge you for it. If it’s your purpose, then it’s what you’re meant to do. You’ll know because of how it makes you feel.

So for me, that’s what your purpose is. Something which fills you with joy and indirectly helps someone else, be it in a big way or a very small way.

[Read: The 5 things having a purpose in life can do for you]

If you’re feeling a little low, perhaps a little lost, and you’re constantly asking yourself what is my purpose in life? Don’t worry. You’re far from alone. We’ve all been there, and who knows what will come next!

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