“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I’m not sure where you are as you read this, but from where I am sitting, as of the last couple months, the world is a hot mess. Between floods in South Asia, Harvey mishandling Houston, the worst lab partner a.k.a North Korea, testing on things that shouldn’t exist and the earth trembling with obnoxious fear under Mexico, most likely because of all the pressure from some dang wall (insert eye roll emoji) and people getting run over by terrorists in markets, while Australia is so afraid that everyone is a terrorist that they are turning away children who are genuinely seeking safety. It is all such a mess and in need of people who are daily fulfilling their purpose as human beings. Seriously, we need to be the best humans we can possibly be if we have any hope of making this better.
And this thought
terrifies terrified me. Let me explain. For the longest time, I had wrestled with my purpose. The one thing only I can do to change the world. What if I chose wrong? What if I never become this superhuman that has myself figured out long enough to help someone else?All valid questions. No straightforward answers.
All valid questions. No straightforward answers.
But somewhere in the last five years, although I didn’t get any answers, I did start to recognize a resemblance of peace amongst the haze that is my daily life, surrounding who I was on any given day. And the days I leaned into that peace, welcomed myself first, with all my questions and uncertainties, those were the days I did my best work for the world. Because although I never really discovered the answer to what my purpose was, I did start to learn what it was not.
My purpose is not my profession. If my memory was completely void of psychological theories and studies and I was left to be ‘not a counsellor by trade’, I would be fine. I could still make the world better by being kind to strangers and making surprise birthday cakes for my friends.
My purpose is not my position. I would love to run my own non-profit someday, but if I am still working under a hundred people in ten years and being kind to strangers and making surprise birthday cakes for my friends, I will be fine.
My purpose is not punctual. There is not going to be a perfect time for me to have found my purpose by. I am pretty sure when I sat next to the new kid in 5th grade during lunch when everyone else was wondering where she was from, I was fulfilling my ten-year-old purpose. I made her a surprise birthday cake too. I need to stop waiting for my purpose to arrive and instead start making my way to it.
I don’t think I’m ever going to find out my one purpose, but I sure am going to be living my everyday purpose pretty well, looking through the haze, finding the peace, and then using that peace to show kindness and love.
Maybe our purpose, if not tied into our profession or position or passion is bound up in our humanity. Maybe our purpose is to sit next to the girl wearing the hijab on the bus or give our savings from August to support people who have lost everything in a hurricane, or protest that refugee children are allowed to stay. Maybe it’s making sure that all your friends eat cake on their birthday.
What do you think? What is your purpose not? And more importantly, what part of humanity is your purpose bound to?