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8 Signs You’ve Discovered Your Calling

8 Signs You’ve Discovered Your Calling

Take a moment and take a deep breath, turn off the distractions and prepare yourself with a sense of excitement and positive expectancy because this is going to be an epic post taking you to the energetic fabric of who you are and why you have been called to Earth at this time.

Every human being experiences the Calling. Every moment is a calling, and as Oprah says, “If you’re here breathing, you have a contribution to make.” No matter what background, age, color, creed, religion or gender, we have all been called to Earth at this time for the authentic expression of who we are and the gifts we are here to give.

The Calling is sometimes thought to be associated with a career. Other times it’s thought to be associated with an adventure. Not to be mistaken with wanting and searching for the next thing (which is the game of the Mind), the Calling is a infinite wisdom that’s always there and never ends. At the core of it, the Calling is a knowing of what is true to us to feel and do, and it’s associated with every aspect of our life. Everything from the people we meet to the travels we embark on to the mentors that guide us to our natural gifts to the dreams we have, the miracles we experience and the contributions we make.

So, how do you know if you’ve discovered your calling? It took flight for me in the form of downloads every night from 9 months of vivid, lucid dreams. For others the heroic journey began with an unexpected person coming into their lives. For Harry Potter it showed up with his house flooded with tons of letters delivered by wise owls from Hogwarts. If you feel like you’re living your calling and if you feel like you’ve been struggling to find it (which is another game of the Mind), these 8 signs will serve you in knowing that you’re living your life congruently with the Calling.

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1. You have had an irrational urge involving a quest

Joseph Campbell describes the first phase of The Hero’s Journey as the Call To Adventure. It’s a setting where the hero (you) is living in an ordinary world, monotonously going about life in the same way, and often times wishing for more. At some point for us in discovering our calling comes the urge to venture out into the unknown world… in some sort of quest. For me throughout the 9 months of vivid, lucid dreams, I had the urge to leave the traditional academic world for a one-way ticket journey around the world focused on mentoring, adventure, extraordinary experiences, self-education, mastery and having soulful connections with the people I’d meet. For Peak Performance Strategist Tony Robbins, this came as an unexpected gift one of the worst experiences of his life where his father walked out on his family after feeling worthless because a man delivered a Thanksgiving basket for them. From that day to now, Tony Robbins has created a foundation that feeds millions of people every year during Thanksgiving with basket brigades.

2. It hurts you not to act on this irrational urge

Generally after hearing the call to adventure, many of us refuse the call. “Oh, I can’t do that. That’s crazy. That’s wishful thinking. Someday.” Those are all excuses to keep our sense of constancy in living an ordinary life as opposed to embracing uncertainty to live an extraordinary life. To not live purposefully, authentically, and heed the Calling is painful… and the only way we are able to survive with the pain is to numb it and distract ourselves — through alcohol and drugs, excessive television use, smartphone addictions, monotonous lifestyles, problems and limiting stories, and surrounding ourselves with others committed to mediocrity. There’s nothing wrong with anything mentioned above, and if we’re honest with ourselves… it hurts us at our souls to play small in this gift of life.

After having my first dozen vivid, lucid dreaming experiences, part of me got very excited to begin pursuing the messages of the Calling; another part of me ignored the call and wanted to continue in the traditional academic system that I felt was eating away at my soul… out of the fear of not being accepted by loved ones and others if I left this expected path they wanted to see me pursue. That winter of college, I went to Argentina and had a phenomenal month with my cousin. I shared with her many of my stories and dreams of exploring the world with this hunger for personal development. She was enthusiastic with what I shared and encouraged me to go through with it. I said I was going to leave college to pursue my passion, and when I returned I refused the call. What happened next was I got sick with salmonella for almost three weeks, and then a more intense case of strep throat for nearly another two weeks. Missing many of my classes, I went to the doctor’s office on campus and asked for advice. He recommended I take a medical leave of absence. The light of passion flickered in my eyes. I took him up on his offer and within minutes of leaving his office, all of my strep throat symptoms disappeared and I was enlivened with a new sense of passion, energy, vibrancy, inspiration, joy and being empowered.

3. You find yourself more embracing of uncertainty with open arms

The Calling does not follow logic nor rational thought, however it makes perfect sense. When engaged with the Calling, we become more trusting in the unknown; we trust in our experiences, in the timing of things, and in the people we meet as if everything is to shape us and guide our soul to who we are meant to become and what we are meant to contribute. In the beginning of The Matrix, Neo is at his work when he receives a call from Morpheus, a person who he has yet to meet and who asks for his trust and guidance away from the agents. Neo participates with embracing the uncertainty of where he’s going as Morpheus gives him step by step directions.

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Another case is with Oprah’s story about surrendering to God in receiving The Color Purple. She wanted the part so much, knowing she had been called for it spiritually, and as she tried to control her outcomes she was rejected… until she surrendered.

Kris Carr is another phenomenal example of embracing uncertainty. She was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer that was deemed untreatable, and she went on to create the documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer. She still has the cancer, it’s still untreatable, and she continues to live an extraordinary life filled with passion, joy, fun and inspiration, and has gone on to be a voice for health, wellness and living an amazing life regardless of circumstance.

4. You have mentors that guide, teach and support you for your journey

When Tony Robbins was starting out in the personal development industry, Jim Rohn was his mentor. For Oprah Winfrey it was Maya Angelou. For Mark Zuckerberg, it was Steve Jobs. Richard Branson accredits David Beevers and Sir Freddie Laker as significant mentors in his life.

In today’s day and age, our mentors are not limited to only showing up in person. We can find the book that inspires us, YouTube channels and online blogs that teach us just what we need to know for where we are and where we’re heading. For me it was a few books, including The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The 4-Hour Work Week and The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris, and The Education Of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg. I actually drew a water color painting of myself reading two books, one with an orange cover and the other with a blue; this was weeks before I even knew about both of Tim’s books, and I was shocked at the coincidence of discovering them after creating the water color painting.

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The key is that you will find the right people at the right time to support you on your journey, and they will find you as well (as you’ll support them on their journey) with grace when you’re living with the Calling.

5. You have heightened sensitivity, intuition and awareness

Intuition is what helps us understand something immediately with the Mind’s reasoning. You’ll just have clearer insights, a strong sense of knowing of what is true and where to go. We are all intuitive at our Soul, and the Calling is an urgent invitation to live our Soul’s journey. As we embrace the Calling, intuition along with heightened sensitivity and awareness becomes more accessible as tools to guide us to fulfill our Calling.

Sometimes this comes with a gut feeling like you’ve known someone all your life, and maybe you have only met them once. This has happened to me a number of times and I’ve taken it as a great sign to be more curious and see the wisdom we can share with each other… and it’s been an extraordinary experience every time. Sometimes you might notice your heightened sensitivity when you’re in a coffee shop full of noise, and in the midst of all the activity you notice a conversation relevant to what you’re doing right now in your life.

Steve Jobs accredits his intuition as more powerful than his intellect in creating the extraordinary technology he has in the world. He’s famously known for having said, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.” Now you don’t need to go to India, nor take psychedelics to experience intuition. We all have it. All you need to do is call for it, ask for what’s real, and pay attention. Heightened sensitivity, intuition and awareness are all gifts for you to experience to hear the Calling and live your legend.

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6. You notice that time seems to fade away

When you’ve discovered your calling, you’ll notice that time fades away in the mystery, joy, excitement, wonder, awe, passion and thrill of being alive. On my journey around the world, I constantly forgot about time. Sometimes I felt like things were lasting for hours when it was just minutes, and vice versa. When Oprah spoke about surrendering to the higher organizing power and experiencing the ebb and flow of life, that is living in sync with the Calling in a sense of timelessness, and yet experiencing perfect timing… all the time.

7. You notice serendipity and synchronicity more clearly

Serendipity has been defined as good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries accidentally. Synchronicity is a concept defined by Carl Jung, which means that events are meaningful coincidences. In mathematics, when two angles are to fit perfectly together, it’s called a coincidence. In life, when things click together, it makes perfect sense. If you listened to Oprah’s story about surrendering from the link above, you’ll hear how she noticed the strong coincidence when she was praying to be in the movie The Color Purple and got a call from a casting agency for a movie called Moon Song (which later became The Color Purple). She was to act for a major role as Sofia, who is married to Harpo. She realized that Harpo is her name spelled backwards and was stunned at the coincidence of that.

When you’ve discovered your calling, these phenomena become more transparent in daily life. In fact, they become guiding messages to keep you on purpose.

8. Your life becomes centered on growth and contribution

The purpose of the Calling is to guide you on your personal Soul’s journey. It’s about evolution and contribution of the gifts you have to bring to humanity, and perhaps the greatest gift you can give is yourself. As you grow, evolve and change, humanity grows, evolves and changes… and it can happen at the level of your lineage, family, community, and at the level of the world based on the depth and width of your contributions.
I wish these 8 signs have given you the clarity you needed to know when you’ve been aligned with the Calling, and have inspired you to live congruent with the Calling, so that you can live and contribute soulfully.

Now, these are just 8 signs that you’ve discovered your calling. There are plenty more, and from reading this… have you been living your calling? If not, I invite you to now give up the Mind’s quest for constantly searching for the next best thing and claim the destiny that’s calling you right now. It’s simple, Oprah said it… just surrender to it.

Featured photo credit: Warner Bros Inc. via tiffanymetzger.files.wordpress.com

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Last Updated on June 12, 2018

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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