Our next self-reflection question in this category is:
“What is my purpose?”
Always a loaded question and one that brings many people to therapy. Sometimes it comes from a point in crisis; when we begin to ponder existentially why we are here. Sometimes it comes into our thoughts as we often encounter this question in the books we read or the shows we watch. It can be a frustrating question when we can’t link passion with purpose, or a futile question when people around us appear to be fully living their purpose and we can’t seem to pinpoint ours.
Perhaps we can begin to think about this question while keeping in mind that purpose needs to be an internally driven process, yet we often equate purpose to what is external. When I use my own purpose as an example, I can honestly say that I find purpose in:
- Being a mother. From an external standpoint, I might see that being a mother is a measure of how successful or achieved my children are. If, however, I want my purpose to be internally driven, I focus instead on my role as their mom – to be open to their life choices, to be supportive and loving of their journey, to continue to provide a safety net and comfortable place to call home.
- Being a therapist. From an external standpoint, I might take great pleasure in the designations beside my name or how busy I am – but that isn’t where I find purpose as a therapist. For me, it is found in the quiet space of therapy when I hear someone say “I never thought of it that way.” My purpose is in the ‘aha’ moments, the release of tears, the feeling that the room has somehow gotten lighter.
I find purpose in the richness of my relationships, in the loving memories of those I have lost. On any given day my purpose can be found in a prayer I send to the universe, in a home cooked meal, in how happy my nephew’s dog is to see me for our morning walk, the way the littles in our life respond to time spent in our home.
Purpose is an important part of our sense of being whole – when we can turn that focus internally, our ordinary experiences carry the meaning and intent of purpose.
Photo credit: Me! These are my girls on a beach vacation (pre-Covid!)