“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
What does it mean to live life with purpose? We have all heard someone exclaim that we should be living a purposeful life, but what really does it mean to live a life full of purpose?
Living a purposeful life is a life filled with intent, direction, and focus. It is a life brimming with ambition and determination. It is the sort of ambition that drives an individual to achieve and succeed at whatever they choose.
A life driven by ambition and determination is a life permeating with zeal and passion. I am a firm believer that every single human has had passion for life, but it is the trials and tribulations of life that have temporarily caused the internal flame to be quenched. I wholeheartedly believe that every single human has an inherent passion for life, but in many cases the internal flame has lost its fervency.
Life is: “the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity…” Life is the state of being alive, but not all who have life are completely alive.
Alive is: “living, not dead… aware of and interested in; responsive to… still existing or active”
How would you describe the way you are living life? Are you living
a life full of purpose, ambition and with intent? Has your flame been extinguished or suppressed?
Being alive means that we are active and interested in life.
HOW DO YOU BEGIN TO PURPOSEFULLY LIVE LIFE?
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
What does it mean to live a life purposefully? At what moment, can we distinguish between merely living a life and living a life full of purpose? The very essence of the word purpose is “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.”
When we are living life purposefully, we are living life with intent and objectivity. All too often, we are concerned about what others may think or say. Are you fearful of disappointing or falling out of favor with someone? Are you someone who goes against the flow: are you someone who thrives in being an individual?
The following are characteristics of a life purposefully lived:
LIVE AN AUTHENTIC LIFE
Have you ever met someone who you consider to be authentic? Do you consider yourself to be authentic? What does it mean to be authentic? Take a moment and let’s ponder: what does it mean to be authentic and to live an authentic life?
Quitters never win the race. Quitters never have the pleasure of success or failure, rather they quit before having the opportunity to relish in a success or a failure.
Before you can love someone else, you need to understand the concept of love. What does it mean to love? Who do you love? Do you love your neighbor, children or spouse? Are you capable or willing to love your enemy? Most of all, can you love yourself?
When you are capable of loving yourself, you will love yourself beyond all conditions! What are conditions? They are designed to place parameters around your love. “I will love you as long as …” Conditions restrict your ability to love.
Conditions are often used as an excuse; I cannot love myself because I am unlovable, unapproachable, or unworthy of love. I will only love another as long as they meet my conditions. Thus, if they breach my restrictions, then I can no longer love that other person.
The moment that we learn to love ourselves beyond conditions, is the moment that we will begin to experience unconditional love. Unconditional love is the ability to love ourselves beyond the good, bad, successes, or failures; it is not subjected to any conditions, restrictions, or limitations.
DENY ROOM FOR SHAME AND BLAME
“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~ Christopher Columbus
For so many, including myself, I have all too often allowed room for shame and blame. Shame is the projection of someone else’s defaming, demeaning and scorn. It is “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness … it is a loss of respect or esteem.” Shame is delivered unto us as a form of rebuke, disapproval and sharp criticism based on our mistakes, behaviors, or attitudes. It is not intended for constructive repair, but is the pathway serving to decay and humiliation.
Whereas, shame is the projection of contempt, blame is the personal pathway to serve as rebuke and self-contempt. Blame is not unlike its counterpart shame; its ambition is to serve as a destructive instrument, decaying the human spirit. Blame serves as an instrument designed by the individual to continuously punish, rebuke and admonish the inner person.
ACCEPTING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Accepting personal responsibility is never an easy experience. It is the acceptance of personal responsibility that recognizes our failures and successes as our personal history. It is through personal responsibility that we declare ownership in the good and the bad, the failures and the successes. Accepting personal responsibility moves you forward, and beyond the experience, but with the ability to accept the role in the experience.
For many, personal responsibility has a negative connotation, but understand that there is a positive side as well. Firefighters are often called upon to save the life of others. It is not unusual for a firefighter to feel humbled by this experience, but the truth is they are a hero unto the victim. While the selfless act of a firefighter is a positive example of accepting personal responsibility, we all encounter daily acts of altruism, selflessness, and simple positive contributions in this life.
Life is a mixed bag of the good and the bad, successes and failures, but the good news is; we do not have to identify with either. For whom we are, goes well beyond our historical markers in this life.
ESTABLISH QUALITY FRIENDSHIPS
“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” ~ Walter Winchell
Our personal friendships are a reflection of our self-love. If we love ourselves unconditionally, then we will not entertain the company of hate, bitterness, intolerance, or judgement. For many, they will entertain the company of others as a self-sacrificial approach to life, but all too often, it will be to the detriment of their own personal self-worth and quality of life. It’s a careful balancing act, we want others to reap the benefits of unconditional self-love, but when are we helping and when are we hindering the potential for growth?
As we begin to explore our unconditional state, we may desire to review our social network. What are the intentions behind your friendships? What are you gaining or providing in a friendship? Ultimately, friendship is a balance of giving and receiving.
FOCUS ON YOUR DESIRES
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” ~ Aristotle Onassis
What ultimately are your desires? What motivates you to live life?
Does rejection cause you to reach for the stars? Are you fueled by positive or negative energy? Are you consumed with outperforming and being more successful than others? Are you trying to keep up with the Jones’? Are you energized by other’s failures? Do you wish to become a celebrity simply to feel worthy? What are the motivating factors behind your desires?
PURPOSEFULLY WAKE UP WITH A DESIRE TO LIVE LIFE
The very moment that you arise, have the following question upon your lips: “how am I going to live today”? When we are purposefully seeking to live life, then-and-only-then, are we living life through a mindful approach. It is through this approach that we are shedding our old person and seeking to live life anew. It is with a mindful approach that we must begin to live our life. Be selective even in the words you choose to entertain. The word mindful is defined as a “conscious awareness.” While the word approach is to “come near or nearer to something.” Mindfulness is the ability to come near and nearer to a conscious awareness.
HOW DO YOU BEGIN TO PURPOSEFULLY LIVE LIFE?
Focus your mind daily upon the positive perspectives of your life. Be conscious of your ambitions, goals, and desires. Deny room for the naysayers and down-players. For who you are, your worth and person, should not be based upon the favorability or opinions of others. For who you are, should be based upon an unconditional state of love, acceptance and approval.
May you begin living beyond.
Author: Dr. Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C., D.N.C.C.M., F.A.A.E.T.S. Website: www.asadonbrown.com
References Provided Upon Request