Purpose and Meaning
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” (Mary Oliver ‘The Summer Day).
Many of us feel stuck in a role that no longer inspires us, if it ever did to begin with. As you look ahead you may dread the rest of your working life. It may seem to you that you have all you need or want on the surface – a loving relationship, secure job, nice home; you may be financially secure - but you are still unhappy.
- Your life lacks meaning, purpose and direction.
- You may be in a well paid job but still feel trapped, pushed into a role that doesn’t inspire you or is just not you.
- You are going through the motions in life
- You may experience your self-confidence fading away as you feel unfulfilled in your work
- There is something missing in your life and you don’t know what it is.
- Your current job may be coming to an end and you don’t know where to go from here.
- You have retired and are struggling to find meaning in your life without work
One of the most frightening aspects of all is that you may feel alone, scared and vulnerable with all these thoughts and feelings. You may be unable to speak to anyone about them, even those closest to you. You may think:
- you are letting your loved ones down.
- they won’t understand.
- you have to protect them from your vulnerability and sense of weakness.
- you’re a failure because you don’t want to keep going with what you’re currently doing even though that’s what drains the life from you.
But you do have a choice, even though it often feels you don’t. You can begin to look at ways out. In psychotherapy you can begin to explore your feelings and thoughts, a creative space in which you begin the process of discovering who you are and what inspires you.
Our society teaches us that we should attend school and we will then know how to live our lives and what we want to do. The reality is very different for many of us. Most of the things that inspire us in life aren’t taught in school or at university. And most of us only become clear about what we want later in life, when we have a mortgage, a family, a car; all the responsibilities that we take as normal in our society. And we then feel trapped.
When the focus is on purpose and meaning in counselling we become primarily involved with:
- unearthing that which adds meaning to life.
- the why of your life, why you are here in this life.
- what makes your heart sing.
- what you can do in life that will leave you feeling fulfilled and satisfied at the end of the day and at the end of your life.
As Viktor Frankl said “Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any how.”
So, the aim is to help you get back in touch with yourself, with what ‘this one wild and precious life of yours is about’. (Mary Oliver ‘The Summer Day).
This process of unearthing what you want takes time. It’s not a quick fix. But it is worth it if you can discover for the first time, or perhaps it’s a matter of remembering, what you enjoy doing and who you really are.