the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
have as one's intention or objective.
Not too long ago I made another circle around that big yellow thing in the sky and added a year to my life. As I sat alone on my birthday for the first time ever I felt a lump in my throat indicating Niagara Falls was being prepared to release via my eyes. I won't lie and say I didn't succumb to a really good wailing but I gave myself a time limit to wallow in self-pity. When the Debby Downer timer went off I wiped the tears and snot, channeled my inner soldier, and pulled out my pen and paper. I was on a mission; I wanted to understand my purpose here in this world because it surely wasn't to sit and feel sorry for myself.
As I sat down prepared to go down rabbit hole after rabbit hole in search of my purpose, the universe divinely intervened. When I opened my notebook to begin writing, there staring back at me was a quote I had jotted down of Friedrich Nietzsche's that read He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. I smiled, thanked the universe, and began pondering what Nietzsche said.
If your parents are anything like mine you heard from a young age that you go to college and you get a degree. If for nothing else, my mother would say, a degree was something no one could take away from me. I can get behind her reasoning but what she failed to tell me, was that having a degree and a career weren't going to make me feel fulfilled in life and they weren't going to bring me peace within.
You see, purpose comes from within us. It's not the degree you have, the career you choose, or the house you live in that gives you purpose, it is what makes you have a meaningful existence. This meaningful existence will bring with it passion, a vital force for us to achieve exceptional things in life. You will push yourself to the limits to see that these passions become fulfilled. Purpose is something you feel and it can grow from our own suffering and the suffering of others.
It was because of my pain and suffering that I found my purpose. I knew if I made it through the trauma that I went through my purpose would be to show others how to heal and I have followed through to the best of my abilities. Helping others as I have has brought me an abundance of altruism and gratitude, confirming that I have indeed found my purpose in life. I feel as though I am making a positive impact on the world, that I am part of something much larger than just myself. It has helped me really know myself; who, what, why I am the way I am. Because of this, I am able to confidently live my life according to my inner core values and virtues.
Because we don't all go through traumatic experiences that act as a catalyst to discovering our purpose in life, we must find it through other means. In one way or another, purpose is found through the people around us, our families, our communities or tribes. Just hearing a simple "thank you" for what you have done for another can spark something within that drives you towards discovering your sense of purpose. Furthermore, the company you keep has influence on finding and fulfilling your purpose in life. If you surround yourself with others who impact you and cause inspiration, you can find meaning in what you do and within.
That night I opened my notebook intending to find my purpose but instead re-read that Nietzsche quote I had written brought me clarity. Underneath the words He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how, I simply wrote: the purpose is to live. I closed my notebook after writing that and haven't look back since. I've been busy living a life of purpose.