Why you can’t find your purpose
I am among the few fortunate that figure out their call. It is not your fault, and don’t panic that you haven’t found yours yet. The reason why you haven’t is that you search for it, and maybe too hard. That’s right, you don’t have to read it again, you did not find your purpose because you searched for it. You searched it outside instead of letting it unravel to you inside-out.
The other day, I read an article that really struck a nerve, and I only realized that this morning. It’s called “Are You Pursuing Your Destiny or Surrendering to Your Fate?” by Jack Preston King. I strongly recommend reading it (link here). He explains very clearly the difference between fate and destiny. Briefly, fate is composed of circumstances out of your control (your socio-cultural background, the family you were born into, your initial value system and point of view, physical traits, original social status etc), destiny is something you create by unravelling your potential despite the initial background (fate). I hope everything is clear until now, but if not, ask in the comments.
That post made my neurons start shooting. What happens when you think you follow your destiny, but you aren’t. Or, let me put in another way, some people think they are following the right path but that is not theirs, is a narrative they copied from their parents, friends or colleagues, it doesn’t matter from who, the point is that is not theirs. This people, sooner or later, are going to have an identity crisis. Keeping up with that story will start requiring more and more effort to sustain, and their soul will be drained. That is the moment when they realize they were not living their purpose, their destiny.
We have two main layers of mythology within us, the upper one is composed by fate ( you are a white male, middle-class, go to high school, college, get a job, get a position in middle management, wife, house, kids, you know the drill, same as if you are born in India, poor family, have to work hard all your life etc). Fate is made of the stories that are told to us by others (culture, friends, family, history, state, etc) and after they have been said to us so many times, we start believing in them and start telling them to ourselves. Also, this layers is the one of ego, I am this, this, and that.
The second layer is your destiny, who were you born to be, wich most of the time is not synchronized with what you were told (first layer). This is the world inhabited by spirits and gods that live inside you, archetypes some may call them. This is your instinct, that voice that tells you this does not seem right. In an era where we are overly stimulated through instruments such as media and internet, where we are guided by consumerism and hedonism, we lost touch with the invisible world, we lost touch with our authentic selves. We feel isolated and alone in a world where distance and time become irrelevant, we lost contact with our true nature and by that we can’t form intimate relationships with our family, friends and lovers.
I’m not an expert, but this worked for me, and it is the only way I know you can solve the problem of purpose. What I propose is dangerous to perform if you are not ready and do not have the proper support (mentor, family, friends or even a therapist). Once you begin this process, going only half-way may cause more damage than good.
Decompose your ego.
Break your sense of who you are. Analyze and question everything about you, about who you think you are. What is truly yours and what isn’t? What is the story you and others tell yourself and what is it that you truly feel and believe in? The danger is that once you break yourself you might not be able to reconstruct, too much chaos and you’ll go mad, for real. Once you emerge in the depths of the sea you might drown. But it is the journey through Hades that one must perform in order to call himself a hero.
Start with what doesn’t feel good.
For example, in my family, it is considered a sign of weakness to show emotions. When I was little, every time I was crying, no matter the reason I was punished. And that is what I become, a rational woman for who feelings are enemies, I was cold and harsh, just like my father. All those emotions, ignored buckled up, and emerged in unexpected and not desired ways. When you lost your sensitivity you will have a hard time constructing meaningful relationships or understanding humans. I have to thank my best-friend Adina that pushed me to get in touch with my feelings. It was hard and tough at the beginning because I still thought you can’t be rational and experience your emotions at the same time (which is false, by the way, once you understand why you feel a certain way is when you have true clarity). When I started this part of my journey, my family told me I was becoming too sensitive and I was hard criticized for that, my ego was in pain, deeply. I didn’t have the approval of my family, and by letting my mask down I became exposed, vulnerable. However, I felt it was the right thing to do and Adina was always there for me (support is crucial). Now, I think of my emotions as an asset, not a liability. I understand myself and others better and more profoundly. I allow myself to feel pain and I know I have the courage and strength to move forward guided by love and true knowledge. That was a real hit to who I thought I was or I was supposed to be, but now I acknowledge who I truly am and after a lot of struggles others do too. My relationship with my mother improved tremendously since that.
Continue with the actions that you do and contradict what you desire or feel.
Since we are born we are placed in predefined structures and given a predefined path to follow. However these are standardized and lack meaning, and it is ok up to the point when it isn’t, when we realize there is no meaning in what we do. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with going to college or having a corporate job if that is purposeful for you and what you desire.
This year I became aware of the structure I was into. We tend to realize this when we approach the moment of switching from one system to another, in my case as a marketing student I was supposed to persuade a master in marketing and get a job in this field. Well…it was hard for me to came to terms with the fact that I was not really ok with that, sure I had a lot of rational arguments why that was the best thing that I could do, but my soul was crying. When you gave up a structure because it no longer represents you is terrifying for 2 reasons:
1. It is a direct attack on your ego’s castle (ego is order). We tend to define ourselves throughout the structures we inhabit, ok if I was no longer a top marketing college student, what was I? Where was I going? Where the past 3 years useless? To begin with, I was and I am more than I realized back then, being a college student was such a small part of who was I, such a tiny layer of my wholeness. Were the past 3 years useless? Not at all, I’ve grown a lot and learn useful things but must of all I realize what is my call.
2. You need something instead, you need to create your own objectives and define values and most of all you are fully responsible for the outcome. When my parents asked what were my plans for the future they were quite puzzled when they heard I intend to study philosophy and psychology and thinking about a career as a coach. To be honest, I have a lot of work to do to pursue my plan, and many think I am mad, but helping others unravel their hidden potential is my mission and I feel pulled towards it not pushed.
There was a lot to take in so let’s do a quick sum up. Let your purpose find you, and in order for that to happen, you must sacrifice who you are for what you can become. It is a tough and dangerous process so think carefully about it. Now that you know all this, you are completely responsible for your life. Also, bear in mind that purpose is not only about what you do but also about who you are.
Warm hugs to you all.
I was having coffee the other day with my friend Andreea and she told me that I contradict myself by saying that I want to help others but lack empathy for those that don’t live a good life. I told her that my behaviour is no mystery at all, I do desire with my whole heart to help those who seek my aid, those who took the first step and decided that want to make a change and assume responsibility for who they are. I show no mercy for those who complain about things and don’t do anything about it. I believe in each and every one of us there is unexplored potential and it is our duty to manifest it, so you have the necessaire tool it is desire that you lack to change and work for better.
If you want to read more about purpose and mission check out this article, I wrote it a few days after my graduation, it sums up my functional approach. Also, this article is about stories and the sense of meaning. If you want to know me better, check this one out.