At some point in our lives, we all find ourselves in a rut. For some people, this is a constant feeling– they believe they are simply going through the motions in life, and that is all there is to it. However, this is not the case. No matter how you feel now, you have a purpose in life. It is often a matter of uncovering that purpose that helps us to begin feeling alive. By doing some thorough soul-searching, you will be able to discover your purpose in life and get out of the rut in which you feel trapped.
I remember a line in one of my favorite movies, “As Good as it Gets.” In the movie, Jack Nicholson’s character has been going through some serious life changes that have taken him out of his comfort zone. He feels down, as though his life has been one continuous rut, and he is unable to get out. As he storms out of his psychiatrist’s office, he pauses and says to himself, “What if this is as good as it gets?”
That line always stuck with me, because it is a perfect example of how many of us often feel. Even after we feel as though we have achieved some life goals, we begin to wonder if that is all there is to life. When you ask yourself that question, the answer is always “no.” Truly happy people are that way because they have a true sense of themselves and their purposes in life. Once you have discovered and begun to act towards your true purpose, life always has more in store and it can always get better.
However, soul-searching to discover your true self and your purpose can be easier said than done. It takes work, and there are many different layers and aspects to it. That’s why we have developed this article and separated the categories through which true soul-searching can be done.
This is by far the most important category of soul-searching, and we will spend much of our focus here. That is because it all begins through your own personal introspection and discovering the kind of person you want to be. True happiness always begins on a personal level, and it is important to start with self-discovery.
Before you can begin improving yourself, it is important to first understand yourself and how you came to be the person you are. To do this, you will want to begin with a personal inventory. Think of this as a timeline of all relevant events in your life that you feel have shaped or significantly affected you. This should not be a diary or an opinion piece, try to take an outside perspective and simply write an objective timeline. Write it as though you were writing a resume– simple, real, condensed information about the events that shaped you.
When creating your inventory, pay close attention to any moments that may have caused you to feel you are not good enough. These may be moments of pain and embarrassment that created a fear or a sense of unworthiness. These are the very ideas we need to dispel through this process, and it is important to recognize their root causes.
As you write your timeline, do not stop at the present. Continue on through the past and into the future. This will take more imagination than the impersonal resume style of the past inventory, but the point is discovering what you want out of life. Write it in terms of your ideal self and how that person will live the rest of his or her life.
A big part of your future timeline will certainly involve your career. Take a deep look at your current position and decide if this makes you truly happy. You are going to spend a large part of your life at work, and it is important to enjoy it as much as possible.
- Do I look forward to going to going to work?
- Do I feel energized and enlivened by what I do?
- Do I feel bored or as though I simply going through the motions?
These kinds of questions will help you determine if you are really working towards your true purpose. If you are not, it will take introspection to discover what you need to change. Pay attention to what you enjoy doing and what makes you feel alive. Once you have established that, find a way to monetize it. There is a way to make money doing just about anything.
I understand that this is also easier said than done, but none of this is expected to happen overnight. Even if a career change means a pay cut, you know that it will be worth it in the long run.
Many people find their purpose and self-worth through their career. However, just as many find it in their family. Our family can provide a sense of belonging and provide true nourishment for our lives.
However, most of us do not have perfectly functional families. This is why it can be dangerous to allow yourself to be defined only by your family life. One dysfunctional member or event in the family can send shockwaves through the entire group. You may work your life away and still be unable to correct or “fix” a certain family member or situation.
Self-discovery through personal introspection will always lead to a better family life. When you truly understand yourself and your purpose, you can always be a positive force in your family. However, because you are only able to control your own life, it is important not to draw all your self-worth from your family.
Spiritual Life and Connection to Nature
Your journey of personal discovery should include a level of spirituality. Obviously, different people will have different beliefs, but a strong spiritual life is vital to real self-discovery, no matter your individual views.
One component of spiritual growth that can transcend all belief systems is that of nature. The drone of modern life has drawn many people away from the connection to the natural world that is vital to personal happiness. Through your personal journey of introspection, it is important to embrace and build upon this connection to the natural world.
Ask yourself how you relate to the natural elements. Establishing a connection to the peaceful sights, sounds and smells of nature can be directly related to the joyful inner experience of who really you.