Ones purpose could be described as a combination of factors. With ones dreams, goals, intensions and behaviour all combining to express and fulfil this often elusive thing known as ‘purpose’. Some people say it is something we find and others see it as something that we create.
No matter what ones perspective is; we all have dreams, some big, some small and however significant or insignificant they may seem to another, each one of them is important to us. Although there might be dreams that have been abandoned or buried for many years, they still exist within us; gnawing away, until they are heard and acted upon.
And what makes up these dreams or what fuels these dreams is our own need to express our inner calling or purpose; which can lead to an empowered and meaningful life. We all have gifts or value to offer the world, something that is unique to us and that no one else in the world has to offer.
However, often one of the biggest challenges’ one can face is in finding or creating their gifts or dreams. The individual that knows what they want and where they are going is the exception rather than the rule in today’s world.
Why Is This?
From the time of our birth and even until the time of our passing it is clear to see that there will always be the external views on what one should do. This can be experienced in many forms. This can be through; well meaning advice, different forms of criticism and numerous other ways.
This can create many challenges for an individual. On one side there is likely to be the need to please others; to do what makes other people happy and on the other there is the calling to follow our own truth; what really matters to us and fills us with passion and happiness.
Finding Our Purpose
In the midst of these two dichotomies’ there is the question of finding what these gifts and dreams actually are.
The years of our life that have the biggest influence on who we are and even on the development of our brain; are spent with our caregivers. We then spend multiple years in compulsory education and during this time there is also the influence of extended family, friends, authority figures and the media; to name but a few examples.
Each one of these is selling us their views or outlook on what we should be doing with our time and who we should be. Each stage has the potential to alienate one further from their own truth.
During the many years that are spent in education, we accumulate lots of information and ideas from others. The general modus operandi of mainstream education is regurgitation. The importance of memory cannot be emphasised enough here. There if generally very little focus of bringing out what is within an individual and developing ones innate talents or gifts.
What defines one as clever or not is set by others; which of course has potentially dangerous consequences; Consequences that can affect a person for life. If what they are good at does not fit the cultural norm, there sense of self and self worth can be badly damaged.
The same consequences can occur within family life, with caregivers often having their own ideas of what being clever is and what one should do.
What all these factors can create is a disconnection from our own expression and our own self. The more separated from ourselves we become; the harder it is to get back in touch with ourselves. If we have all these ideas about what we ‘should’ be doing, finding what we really want to be doing, is certainly going to be a challenge.
Many layers have been placed upon us, which can create years of frustration, anger and hopelessness after such conditioning. Feelings and thoughts of being off course or cut off in life can also occur.
How Did This Happen?
What I mean here is; why do we live in a world where people are often eager to tell another what they should be doing? Where does this control or tyranny actually come from?
From my perspective, I believe that regardless of whether we are talking about family, friends or organisations and groups of people such as the media, there is a pattern here.
These are behaviours and ways of acting that are passed on from one generation to the other and unless they are questioned, they will continue.
A Matter Of Survival
The key word here is survival and this is what I believe is influencing and causing this behaviour.
If one was told what they should be doing and who they should be from the very beginning of their life, there will be an association of survival created. This goes right back to our time of being dependent on our caregivers for our own survival.
To question or to go against their wishes and demands would mean death. This would create intense feelings of rejection and abandonment.
Some caregivers will be more supporting than others and will be more in tune with assisting and encouraging their child to follow their own dreams. Many caregivers will be completely out of touch with their child’s needs and will impose their own wants onto the child. This is usually the result of not fulfilling their own needs and dreams.
A typical example is of the child that is used as an extension of the caregivers. And areas of life where they didn’t achieve what they wanted can end up being what the child is encouraged and forced to fulfil.
And such a young age the child will be happy to follow these demands. It is a way for the child to receive the acceptance they require and to avoid or at least minimise the chance of being rejected.
The desire or calling to follow their own dreams is not a priority or even developed at such a young age, all that matters is their own survival. The hearts calling is not essential for the body’s survival and this is why it is often overlooked.
Acceptance Or Rejection?
So is it really a case of following our own truth and being rejected or compromising our own happiness and gaining acceptance from others? These dualities are two options that can seem like the only options.
There will be people who can’t accept our choices in life and people who can. Whether they are following their own truth will also play a part in this. If they have become trapped by the ideas and projections of others and feel unable to follow their dreams, they will likely find it hard to support another in following theirs.
And although these people often come across as unpleasant; they ultimately want to be heard and listened to. However their behaviour often creates the opposite of what they really want – attention.
When it comes to the awareness of our purpose and the gifts and goals that assist in living a life of purpose, it is something that is unlikely to happen overnight. Being aware of what brings us happiness and meaning can take time, especially when there is often fear involved when it comes to being accepted and through the years of conditioning.
Through Connecting to friends and family, who we trust and who accept us; we can find out what we talk about with passion and meaning or what we are good at. There might also be areas of our life that we enjoy and have achieved a level of competence, but fail to recognise and take for granted or even downplay and dismiss.
It might also be something that we have often thought about and yet have not developed or taken the required steps; as a result of different external and internal factors. It is often said that by trying out different things, we will soon find out what we like doing.
Our purpose can also be classed as a process and one that is not free from change; with what we enjoyed at one point in our life not having the same affect later on. There might also be certain skills and abilities that can be applied to many different areas and career paths.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.