Purpose — A simple, yet meaningful word that’s often overlooked. Cambridge Dictionary defines purpose as “why you do something or why something exists.” Knowing your purpose will leave you feeling happier and more fulfilled.
Discovering your purpose can make you healthier. A 2019 study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that among a group of nearly 7,000 adults, 50 years and older, those who scored highest on a scale that measured “life purpose” were less likely to die, specifically from heart, circulatory or blood conditions, during the four-year study period, compared to those who scored lower.
“There have been a number of studies suggesting that a higher sense of purpose in life is associated with reduced risk of early death,” Eric S. Kim, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a Harvard Health article titled, “Will a purpose-driven life help you live longer?” written by executive editor of Harvard Women’s Health Watch, Kelly Bilodeau. “However, this study showed for the first time that sense of purpose in life is associated with specific causes of death, and that’s an interesting advancement of knowledge.”
Also, according to Kim, studies have shown that those who have a higher sense of purpose in life are likely to experience less stress than the average person. Since stress is known to prompt inflammation in the body, reducing stress means reducing inflammation, which is linked to cardiovascular disease and other health conditions.
Knowing your purpose early on can allow you to live a longer, healthier and more prosperous life. So, what’s your purpose? If you’ve been avoiding this question, it’s time to explore why some avoid it in the first place.
According to a HuffPost article titled, “Yes, You Do Have a Purpose,” written by contributor Stephenie Zamora, a life and business coach, many people avoid navigating their purpose simply out of fear.
“Fear that the life you have now isn’t the one you really want. Fear that the person you’re with, the friends or the tribe is actually steering you further from your truth. Fear that if you answer honestly, it will mean you have to do something about it,” Zamora wrote.
Take time and make an effort to truly get to know yourself and your goals. According to Zamora, three simple steps to begin discovering your purpose and your passion include:
Start following your tiny urges, such as trying a new fancy recipe, no matter how random they seem.
Be completely honest, all of the time, no matter where you’re at or who you’re with. This includes not only your words, but your actions, such as what purchases you make, as well.
Realize you are the only person who truly knows what’s best — Sorry, mom. When we’re constantly seeking the approval of others, we become afraid to truly be ourselves. Stop handing your own power to someone else.
According to an article titled, “7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose,” written by Mark Manson, a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, known for writing about self-help, on his own website, when people say, “What should I do with my life?” or, “What is my life purpose?” they are really asking, “What can I do with my time that is important?”
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, most schools in the United States are closed for the rest of the school year, leaving students to continue schooling online, through remote learning. Because of this, students are learning to manage their time more wisely, allowing enough time throughout the day to complete schoolwork.
Now, we have the perfect opportunity to discover and explore our purpose. Find a hobby, activity or exercise that you’re good at. It could be anything from playing the trumpet, to creating artwork, to writing a novel. The point is, you have a purpose, and right now is the perfect time to recognize it.
Sometimes, discovering your purpose can take awhile. When you can’t seem to find your purpose, and when you’re feeling lost and hopeless, know that you’re not alone. You’re not the only one sobbing, crying into your pillow at 3:00 a.m. Trust me, I’ve been there plenty of times. Even those who seem to have it all together have nights like that, too.
When thinking about your purpose, it’s important to remember that everyone makes mistakes. But those mistakes don’t define you or your value. Right now, it may seem like just when everything was falling into place, it fell right back apart. You may be angry at the world and what it’s throwing at you. But I promise you, you will get through this. Regardless of how you’re feeling right now, and regardless of what you’ve done or what you’ve been through, that doesn’t change the fact that you have a purpose.
Know your worth. You’re supposed to be here, so please don’t give up. I believe that everything, even the terrible, happens for a reason. I believe that everyone, and every life, has a purpose and meaning — and your purpose is the greatest gift you’ve ever received, I promise.
I believe that God gives the toughest battles to his strongest warriors. So, if you’re in one of those battles right now, and you can’t seem to find your purpose, keep fighting and please, don’t give up. Your purpose is there, and sometimes it just takes time to see it. There’s so much meaning to your life. You matter. You are loved. You have worth and value. You have meaning. You are good enough. You are more than enough. You have a purpose, and life is worth living.