Are you doing what it is you absolutely love to do? Did you want to be a fireman when you grew up, or a policeman? Did you dream about being a doctor or a lawyer? Did you watch a TV show about a fantastic forensic scientist and dream about becoming one? Perhaps you wanted to be a rock star or an actor! If you were really inspired by a school teacher, you might have wanted to be a school teacher when you grew up. As a child, how many times did your 'dream' change? At what point in your life did you give up on being able to even have a dream? There are literally thousands of different things you could have chosen to do with your life. Did you choose something YOU wanted, or were you steered in a particular direction by your parents or teachers?
When you are a young child dreaming of what it is you want to be when you grow up, you don't doubt that you could do that thing. As you grow, you learn all kinds of new things and have multiple opportunities to find your unique niche. Perhaps you realized you had a knack for math or science and dream about being a doctor or an astronaut! Maybe you excelled in artistic endeavors and loved to tell stories or sketch, paint or sculpt. Maybe you got a bunch of friends together, created a story and had each friend act out a particular part. You might have filmed your friends if you had the technology, and dreamed about becoming a film director. If you showed you had athletic ability, you might have had a coach that took special interest in helping you develop that ability and encouraged you to work towards an NFL or NHL dream.
Joseph Campbell advised us all to live our bliss! Oprah encourages us to become our 'authentic self'! Others suggest we find and live our true purpose! All of these are great suggestions, but how exactly do you figure out what your true purpose or authentic self actually is? Just because you enjoy something, it doesn't mean that thing is your purpose. Each person comes with their own unique set of talents. You might enjoy music but learning to play an instrument didn't turn out well for you. I absolutely loved to watch the ballet, jazz, tap, and now ballroom dancing........ but being born without proper hip sockets meant that becoming a professional dancer was not what I was meant to do in this life! It didn't mean I couldn't dance around in my house or dance in night clubs - just that a career involving dance wasn't possible.
In order to know what your purpose is, you must first know who you really are and understand how you came to be who you are. What is a common theme in your life? What experiences did you have that changed the way you thought about life? Are you a person who believes that every experience is for a reason? What do you believe the reason was for those particular experiences?
The only way you can learn the answers you seek about yourself, is to ask yourself questions and then be completely honest with yourself when you answer. It's not necessarily going to come to you with one question either. If you buried your hopes and dreams many years ago, you have to dig deep down to find them, and there is layers of stuff covering them up!
Ask yourself who you really are. Ask yourself if you are you living a life that you thought you should? Do you even know what your gifts are and use them in your daily work? Did you learn a particular skill because you thought that skill would bring you a particular wage, and the wage you wanted was the driving factor of your career choice? Do you have something - like cooking/drawing/sculpting/creating that causes you to lose large spaces of time? Do you get so involved in doing this thing that nothing else matters while you are doing it? This type of behavior is usually referred to as your passion. Is there a way you could incorporate this passion into your daily life and earn a living with it? No one wants to wake up every day and head off to a job they don't enjoy, so ask yourself why you are agreeing to do a job that you don't like. I bet your answer sounds something like this: I have bills to pay....Or....... I have responsibilities to my family. Ok. My next question is: Why are you agreeing to do a job that you don't enjoy going to every day?
When you are completely honest with yourself, you will likely find that somewhere along the line, you were led to believe that you couldn't do whatever it was you really wanted to do because of one reason or another. Throughout your life, you were either encouraged to fulfill your dream or discouraged in some way. Perhaps you were told: you can't earn a living doing that......or.....I think you should really follow the family tradition/business and be a -----------. Maybe you are told that you'll never be able to do that because you're not smart enough, or maybe they said you were disabled in some way. The more you heard negative comments, the deeper that message went into the reference cabinets in your mind until it actually became your own belief.
What if your experience was the exact opposite? Suppose you were told you can do anything you want or be whatever it is you want! The world is yours for the taking - all you have to do is reach out and take what you want! How did that work out for you? Was everything as easy as you thought it would be? Did you try doing that thing you dreamed of only to find out that you didn't enjoy it? Maybe there were people that took advantage of you in some way and this discouraged you from pursing your dream further.
Now, you might say that you are doing what you always wanted to do. Great! If you were truly living your dream and had everything you thought you wanted in this life, you wouldn't be reading this blog!
In our North American culture, we often associate living our dream with material possessions and/or extreme wealth, but this very idea was sold to you through very clever advertising. Think about exactly where the idea came from that money is the answer to all your problems. When you see a wealthy person, do you wonder how many years it took for that person to accumulate that kind of wealth? Did you read a biography about that successful person and learn how hard they worked to build their empire, or how many times they failed before they succeeded? Do you really believe that wealthy people don't have problems or don't get sick? Do you really believe that material possessions bring you long lasting happiness? When you finally got that shiny car or that diamond ring that you always wanted did your life all of a sudden become problem free? Did that vacation that you went on cure all of your problems? What about something smaller like the latest fashion craze or a dinner date at an expensive restaurant? Did getting those jeans or having a fantastic dinner bring you lasting happiness?
Of course, having and setting goals for yourself is a good thing, but if your goal is only to obtain material possessions, you aren't really living your authentic life or your true purpose. You are buying into the dream that has been sold to you. Dreams don't necessarily to lead to fame and fortune! Living your dream, being your authentic self is something that fulfills your Spirit. When you are doing something that you love to do, you feel it in your heart. Does that mean that every single day is free from challenges or obstacles? Of course not! Challenges and obstacles allow you to access the creative forces of your unique being, and open a door to Divine intervention.
Happiness is not a choice unless you believe you are worthy of it. Living an authentic life means that you have first learned who you really are. Learning who you really are is a process - not a decision. Learn who you are - learn to love who you are - and then.......live your authentic life!
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