As we go through life, we’re always building our life around what gives us a sense of purpose. This usually comes through a relationship of some form, either in the romantic sense, where we build a life together, or when we have children and a family that we love and who counts on us for their well-being and happiness. It can also come from work of some sort that we feel passionate about and that helps others, enriches people’s lives, or somehow makes the world a better place. It can also come from creative work, whether it be art or music of some form, writing, making a beautiful home, cultivating a garden, cooking for our family, or taking care of someone to help them heal and grow. It often comes from being needed, having someone depending on us, or the pleasure and joy that comes from providing and giving to others in need. Whatever it is that gives you a sense of “building your life around” it. Whatever gives you a sense of direction and infuses your life with a deep sense of meaning, where everyday you know what you’re waking up for and what you need to do.
When we find ourselves alone in life, either after raising a family that’s grown up and gone, ending long-term relationships, suffering an illness, disease or disability, we come face to face with the reality of what gives our life meaning, and what serves to motivate us in the most ordinary sense. When we have no purpose, nothing to build our life around, it can leave us feeling empty, drained, unmotivated, and depressed. Things we once enjoyed no longer appeal to us because doing them alone isn’t the same as doing them with a loved one where you share the experience and feel the happiness that comes from giving and connecting, or the companionship of always having family of some sort, whether actual or good friends.
When our roles change in life, and what we once built our identity around falls away or ends somehow, and we no longer know who we are or what we’re meant to do, life becomes meaningless and our purpose muddied and unclear. To work and build something only for yourself, often brings no real sense of pleasure or fulfillment. Being alone and working only for yourself, can bring a deep sense of loneliness that goes way beyond longing to be with somebody and recapturing that sense of connection and affection, but begins to slowly strip away meaning itself, where just motivating yourself in the ordinary sense becomes a constant struggle. You’re left with that “what’s the use” feeling, and you begin steadily isolating yourself, or take on a desperate feeling of grasping for whatever you can get, just as long as you don’t have to be alone. You can begin settling for anything, or considering a relationship that you normally wouldn’t even entertain, while finding that it not only doesn’t satisfy the need to connect and feel apart of someone, but makes you feel another kind of loneliness that’s confusing, because you feel even more lonely when you’re with someone. Or it can cause you to go deeper into your isolation and feeling disconnected from people in general, and begins a long journey of accepting that you’re going to be alone, and trying to figure out how to honestly be okay with it. You accept your fate and slowly disappear into a numbing silence where your own thoughts are your only companion. You take up hobbies, transfer your affection to pets, or delve deeper into your work, and while it doesn’t alleviate the loneliness, it does offer a temporary distraction that gives you something to do while you continue to try and figure out what you’re going to do.
While many people say they don’t want to be needed, be responsible for others, and feel burdened by having to provide for the well-being of others, in reality, those are the things that give our life meaning, and give us a clear sense of purpose and the ability to give to others knowing we make a difference in their lives, and without us, they wouldn’t be okay. When we’re apart of something greater than ourselves, and build our lives around others, we’re motivated in the most natural sense and have a constant feeling of love and affection in our life. True pleasure and contentment come from sharing life with another, and others, and from whatever gives us a sense of responsibility, love and devotion for and towards. As humans, we’re not meant to be alone, and a life well lived is lived in the service of others whom we love enough to make sacrifices. In this sense, sacrifice is the true demonstration of love, and intensifies our feeling of commitment and living a life of purpose and meaning.
If we find ourselves alone in life, and seemingly without a prospect for union, then we devote our lives to others and to a cause that takes the place of family, and gives us a sense of duty, service and purpose. If we know we matter in someone’s life, that we’re making a difference, and that the world is somehow better because of us, than it gives our life the meaning and purpose that we all need. It gives us direction and a sense of accomplishment. It gives us a channel for giving and receiving, for contributing and participating in something beyond ourselves. We’re only truly happy when we feel a valuable part of something greater than ourselves. To live a life of purpose is to live a life of service.
Dr. Linda Gadbois
About the author:
Dr. Linda is a Spiritual Scientist and scholar of Hermetic Sciences and Ancient Wisdom traditions. She’s a professional educator and trainer for all areas of personal transformation, self-creation, mind development, and soul/spiritual evolution. She practices Integrative Medicine with a special emphasis on Psychology and Creative therapies. She conducts ongoing classes, Playshops, and Adventure Seminars, and is available for private or group training, mentoring, and speaking engagements.
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