“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” -Pablo Picasso
Do you feel you’re destined for more? Desire to impact others? Want more meaning in your life? Or simply want to find your purpose?
If you have answered with YES to any of the above questions please read on, because what I have to tell you may change your entire beliefs and expectations about yourself.
I know what I am talking about when I say without a purpose we feel stuck. We feel out of alignment with our core values. We easily lose sight of what we want and where we want to go in life. But what if I tell you that you don’t have to search any longer for something that has been inside of you all along?
Why should I “find” my purpose?
Costa Ricans call it “plan de vida.” Okinawans call it ikigai or “reason for being.” For most of us, it’s simply referred to as your life’s purpose. In the blue zones regions of the world (countries that live better and longer), purpose has always played a major role in well-being and the resulting extreme longevity. It has also been shown that the strong sense of purpose possessed by older Okinawans may act as a buffer against stress and help reduce overall inflammation, in turn lowering chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and stroke. There continues to be a growing body of research to support the impact of purpose on mental and physical health and how it can lead to longer life expectancy.
A recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association has linked a strong sense of purpose with a lower risk of all-cause mortality after age 50. As a matter of fact, research on the blue zones, having a sense of purpose is one of the key factors for longevity (next to natural exercise and a plant-based diet).
It is estimated that people who wake up with a sense of purpose live up to seven years longer than those who don’t.
I want to inspire you to disconnect from any external social validation or belief for a second and be open for a life lesson that I wish I would have learned sooner, as it might have guided me to what I really admire at a much earlier state in my life. But, here I am. Sharing what I have learned with you in hope to inspire you to tap back into yourself and use the exercises below to align with what is already deep inside of you.
Focus on ALIGNING, not finding
What I have come to realise is that the journey of life is less about finding and a lot more about aligning. How could you find something that has never been lost? If you still believe that you have been lost, because you don’t know your passions and purpose, you have it all wrong. Consider your purpose (I like to call it your unique gift) as something that still needs to be uncovered – not found.
See, the life-journey is a lot less about “going somewhere” and a lot more about “going inside”. Passion and purpose cannot be found in your head. They can only be found in your heart. You cannot “find” it, by simply thinking about it. When we desperately try to think about what we want and use our brain – we easily start to “feel stuck” in our own head. This doesn’t bring us anywhere.
So, instead of using our conscious mind, we need to learn how to align with our heart. How often do we override our emotions by using our intellect and try to rationalise anything and everything. If a thought is your mind’s voice, I believe your passion is your soul’s voice. You can either listen to it – or ignore it. One will bring you closer, the other further away of what you truly desire.
Stop pretending. Start feeling.
“The two most important days in our lives are the day we are born and the day we find out WHY.“
What if you are not as happy as you pretend to be on Instagram and Facebook? What if you are not as awake as you want to think you are? And what if you don’t know as much about yourself as you think you do?
I believe that creating space for ourselves is the single greatest strategy of life and happiness.
It’s so important to set “ME-etings” everyday. We set meetings with everyone apart from ourselves. The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship in the world. Let’s start showing that through self time, self energy, and self love and care. Notice self time and self energy are how we truly do self love and self care.
Where do I “find” my purpose?
I always thought that when I go somewhere, I will be healed and “find” my purpose, which is obviously not true as you take yourself with you.
Now I know that you don’t need to go to Bali, India, or another foreign (spiritual) country. You don’t need to attend a yoga retreat, climb a mountain or cross the ocean (yes I have done them all and this is my *proud* moment). 🙂
No. Seriously. I know what I am talking about.
The Mantra I say to myself nowadays wherever I go is: “I am home. Here. Now.“
Because, the thing is, home doesn’t always mean 4 walls and a roof on top, but 2 eyes and a heart beat. Close your eyes and go within. Listen to your heart beating. Trust me, it always knows what’s right. So stop trying so hard to “find” it and start listening to align with it.
How do I align with my purpose?
Here are three things that really helped me to align with my purpose of sharing knowledge about nutrition, yoga and psychology with others. To pass my knowledge on to people who might not know about the power of your body’s incredible healing capacity. And using simple words to make the scientific research (that I love to dig into) more available for the greater part of society. Start by doing what you love more often. When you commit to your passions, you will gain confidence in turn these passions into your profession
Start with your WHY, then move onto the what and finally find out how to use tools to strengthen your strengths.
- Deeply get to know yourself (Find your WHY)
- Know what you love to learn & teach (what do you like to read & watch?)
- Go outside your comfort zone with your strength (share your story)
Moreover, ask yourself the following questions:
- What am I good at? (In my case: reasoning, listening, motivating & teaching others)
- What do I love? (eating, moving, learning in a way that feels good)
- What does the world need? (education, (self-)love, connection)
- How can I get paid for it? (I still need to figure this out)
Your ikigai (purpose of living) is at the intersection of what you are good at, what you love doing, what the world needs and what you can get paid for.
I believe that if you use your passion(s) to serve and help others, it becomes your life’s purpose. The unique gift that has been given to you for a reason.
Please, don’t make this common mistake!
Don’t teach what you don’t know!
I see people making the same mistakes all the time. Even I fell victim to it, when I was preaching about recovery, when I was still deep in my healing journey myself.
It’s better to follow our own purpose imperfectly than to follow someone else’s purpose perfectly. No one likes to be told something by someone who is not walking their own talk. You cannot preach people about eating healthy, when digging half-way through your cheese burger and fries – or starving yourself to death. You cannot teach people the power of Yoga, when you don’t know how it feels to move in alignment with mind, body and soul. And you cannot matter – to anyone – when you keep on pretending to be someone that you are not.
Let the beauty of what you truly love and desire be the foundation of what you say and do. Stay true to your intentions!
Use your gift to inspire others
We live in a society where everyone wants to be rich and wealthy. Better now than later. But we forget that our purpose is not to make our lives wealthy and rich, but to enrich other’s. Because only by using our gift for a greater cause, we will align with what is truly leading us to fulfilment in life.
You know the answer to “how to become a billionaire?”
“Start impacting the lives of a billion people!”
What makes you different from anybody else’s gift is the lense through which you look on it. It is YOUR story. Often times our story is made out of the struggles we have been going through in life. But it is through our struggles that we often times find our unique “superpower”.
If you are someone who has been going through depression, an eating disorder, a separation, grief, anxiety, or anything else, maybe you should start to use your story to empower and inspire and empower others to stand up as well!
Try to start finding out how to live more from the heart and the person that is INside of you. And learn to stop living for the OUTside world. No matter where you are in the world.
I think you don’t have to go somewhere to uncover and align with your gift.
Give to thrive
Many of us move through life executing our talent but not honouring our gift. I thing we should all give back through the giving of ourself using our own unique gift and ability to impact others. This can be through volunteering, helping out in the local community, or simply gifting a stranger with one of your smiles 🙂
No money or check can ever replace your presence. So go out into the world, take your wonderful gift into your hands and share it with someone who needs it.
My final advice: Go somewhere where the only thing you have to give is yourself. Give yourself fully. Unapologetically. Raw and honest. Stand in your own truth and inspire others to do the same. And give yourself without expecting something back. This will transform your entire life.
Your real legacy is what you GIVE this world. Not what you leave it with!
Last, but not least
Life may upset you and will most definitely challenge you, but it will never, never ever defeat you. Trust yourself. Listen to your heart and never forget how strong you are.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. You spend soo much time in your head.
Make it a nice place to be. 🙂
Trust me, I know what I am talking (or writing) about!
The closer you get your dream life..the more your journey becomes your dream life.
Thank you for reading, I hope I could spark something inside of you!
With a whole lotta love from my heart to yours,
PS: Please share this post with someone who could get a little direction and trust right now.
“The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow. When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in.“
Watch this to get inspired and follow the movement:
Beautiful how you transformed your thoughts into so fitting words, Nila! “If a thought is your mind’s voice, I believe your passion is your soul’s voice.”- wow wow wow! I love the idea of ME-etings- because I believe it’s like you said- we need to regain a connection to ourselves, to find out WHY we’re here.
Thank you so much 🙂 I just hope that my posts will help and motivate someone out there one day, who are feeling “stuck” in not knowing what to do or who to become! Thank you for taking the time to read this and sharing your thoughts xx