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Why People Who Have a Life Purpose Have Higher Self-Esteem

Why People Who Have a Life Purpose Have Higher Self-Esteem

Think back to a time when you felt the most lost. More likely than not, you were at a cross-roads, completely unsure of where to turn. Without a sense of direction, you feel stagnant; useless. “What am I even doing here?” You may ask yourself. “And where do I go from here?” No doubt this can be one of the most unsettling sensations that we can hope to experience. This is why those who have an established sense of purpose tend to have higher self-esteem.

As human beings, we desire a sense of purpose.

Some of us are incredibly fortunate in the fact that we discover the purpose of our life’s work very early on. It seems that some people are practically born shredding riffs on a guitar, or deciphering the most complicated of algorithms. But for the rest of us, it’s a bit of a guessing game until we finally find that something that just “clicks.” Until then, we may feel lost or a little bit useless.

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Your purpose does not always have to be your passion.

Sometimes, it’s better off that way. Some lucky people are able to transform their passion into their livelihood,[1] and are able to maintain the aspects that they love about it. But for many that isn’t the case. It can destroy your perception of your passion and make you abandon your pursuit. But you can still build your career on something that you are passionate about, and there is a difference. That difference being that your personal welfare does not hang so vulnerably in the balance.

How to know that you are pursuing your “life’s work”:

  1. It feels more like a hobby than work.
  2. You work is an extension of your beliefs and values.
  3. You are willing to suffer for your work, and use setbacks as motivation.
  4. You lose yourself in the work, often losing sense of time.
  5. You are able to maintain a work/life balance without feeling drained.
  6. The concept of work is never daunting; you look forward to it.
  7. The people closest to you will notice your contentment.
  8. No matter how exhausted you are, you look forward to continuing your work.

Can we exist without a purpose?

Well, technically, yes. But whenever we perform any sort of act, there is an intention behind it. Even if the act is just breathing, the intention is to live. Your purpose does not have to be a lucrative facet. In fact, it could be just the opposite of that. Some people make it a point to be as disconnected and off of the grid as humanly possibly, living a life that is 100% self-sustainable. The end game is not fortune or recognition, it’s complete independence. Now some people have franchised this way of life, generating income based off of their “off the grid blogs” (do I sense a major paradox here?). Just in that one instance, you have two completely different intentions, stemmed from similar life’s-work.

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The point that I’m trying to make here is that…

We all have a purpose. Whether or not that purpose is highly recognized by others is completely irrelevant.

In one of my previous articles, I explored the ideology Stoicism; which is the ancient Greek foundation for a kick-ass work ethic. They believed that no human was complete without their sense of purpose; and once that purpose is discovered; solace is only achieved when you sacrifice yourself to it entirely.

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Finding your sense of purpose.

Many of you may still be thinking that you have no idea what your sense of purpose is. And that’s not your fault. There are many outside influences that have hindered your passions and sense of self. Not to worry. I have a few suggestions that can set you on the path to find yourself:

Take a sabbatical.

Get off of the track that you’ve been on. It’s taking you nowhere and never will until you see the broader picture. Step outside of your comfort zone to really get a sense of who you are. By following the guidelines set forth for you, you are living out someone else’s ideals.

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You need to completely separate yourself from that to discover who you really are. Going on a solo trip might sound terrifying, but it is the best thing anyone could possibly do for themselves. If that is financially out of the picture, then force yourself to do something you would “never” do. Like going out one night on your own; to the movies or a bar or a restaurant. Doing things on your own is empowering in itself.

Revisit your childhood ambitions.

What did you want to be when you “grew up?” (When does that actually happen? I’m still waiting.) Do any of those dreams still resonate with you? Maybe you wanted to be a vet, but the idea of operating on any sort of body is terrifying and nauseating. But you love animals! Check out a local animal sanctuary and volunteer your time. You could just find your calling. And if not, you are that much closer!

Take note as you are trying new things.

Does the idea of taking the plunge to fully pursue this new outlet inspiring? Or is it draining? If you feel yourself withdrawing early on, you need to ask yourself a few things. Are you withdrawing because it is not important enough to you to sacrifice your time and efforts? Are you withdrawing because you are afraid of failure? Or are you afraid of success, because if it works out then you have to make the choice of complete devotion?

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Jenn Beach

Traveling vagabond, freelance writer, & plantbased food enthusiast.

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Last Updated on February 19, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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