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Finding Our Why

Research suggests that having a clear sense of purpose doesn't just lift our spirits; it also yields significant benefits for our physical health. From bolstering immune function to enhancing mental wellbeing, the advantages of living purposefully are extensive. However, defining what it truly means to live with purpose and ensuring that it doesn't morph into burdensome pressure can be a challenge. 

In Japanese culture, the concept of "ikigai," which roughly translates to "reason for being," encapsulates the fusion of four key elements: what you love (your passion), what you are good at (your vocation), what the world needs (your mission), and what you can be paid for (your profession). It's believed that by identifying the intersection of these elements, individuals can unlock their distinct purpose and find a clear path forward.  

But it's essential to recognise that living purposefully doesn't mean putting excessive pressure on ourselves to achieve specific goals or meet certain expectations. When our sense of purpose becomes overly rigid, it can lead to feelings of stress and disillusionment. “I should” becomes the devil on our shoulders.  

Striking a balance is key. Treading gently and cultivating a sense of purpose through a journey of self-discovery and growth rather than a checklist. Finding fulfilment in embracing our experiences instead of fixating on the destination. 

One way to achieve this is through practices such as mindfulness and gratitude. Taking time to reflect on what brings meaning to our lives, expressing gratitude for the present moment, and acknowledging our progress can help to ground us. In doing so, we alleviate the need to constantly strive for some future ideal and find contentment in the now.  

Connection can also be helpful. By nurturing meaningful relationships and contributing to the wellbeing of others, we not only enhance our own sense of purpose but also create a ripple effect of positivity within our communities. 

So perhaps finding purpose is about finding harmony. A satisfying equilibrium among our passions, strengths, values, and contributions while embracing flexibility and self-compassion along the way.