Living With a More Purposeful Self

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How to manage life difficulties more thoughtfully this New Year

            Many of us have heard about the importance of living with purpose. We often associate that with the type of job we have or our work. Although that may be part of it, I see living with purpose as being able to express who we are in everything we do. Living with purpose is more about expressing who we are in how we live. We live with purpose when we can be ourselves in whatever circumstances we face, holding on to our values and making a unique contribution to our families and communities. Going through the personal work of becoming more of yourself opens the door to living purposely and intentionally. This New Year, I challenge you to be who you want to be, especially in difficult times. No one wants to go through hard times, but knowing there’s purpose, growth, and meaning to that suffering makes it a lot easier to manage. When we face difficulty, it allows us to see who we are. Problems can help us see how strong we are and enable us to learn how to manage life’s storms with grace and thoughtfulness.

When we live as a more purposeful self, we can ask ourselves: How can I know what I’m clear about and then communicate that to others? What’s authentic about me? How can I think about things more objectively? How can I respond to what is, rather than get caught up in what should be?

You’re more valuable to yourself and others when you operate as a whole self and purposeful self.

 “Whole people” can observe things clearly and set intentional goals, even when stressed or anxious. The less whole you feel, the fewer options for responses you will have, and the more susceptible to feeling vulnerable and helpless you will be. Self-regulating and being resourceful requires the ability to engage with our problems. It takes emotional strength and purpose to keep defining who we are in the face of high-stress situations. Keeping this perspective in mind can help calm you down when you feel at your worst.

When you can expand your perspective, you can take charge. When you can see a bigger picture at work, you can start to relax instead of acting as you’ve never faced challenges before. You can ask yourself, “How do I think I can handle this challenge?” “What do I think will be useful in this situation?” This process will give you some autonomy in the choices you need to make. The big challenge is to sit through this process and remember that small changes add up over time. The accumulation of those small changes leads to true and lasting freedom.

One way we manage stressors in life is to avoid anything that makes us anxious. Another is to face it, knowing that it will make us uncomfortable. In the short term, we might feel more stressed by taking this approach; but we’ll wind up feeling a lot more comfortable and confident in who we are in the long term.

Key Takeaways

There will always be stuff in your life that you’d prefer didn’t happen. Life is filled with challenges, as we have primarily seen in these last couple of years, but even with that being the case, it helps to trust in your ability to get through them. Being true to yourself will help you stay afloat when you’re in the waves of emotion. It will help you take a leap of faith and do things you want to do by simply looking within yourself for the answers.

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