Finding A Life Purpose (And why it matters for our anxiety and our humanity)

What gives you joy and makes your heart happy?  Is it animals, little children, your partner, your work or your hobby?  Whatever it is, it is a golden thread that you can follow throughout your life to keep you in touch with who you are and why you are here.  Many of us are searching for our life’s purpose.  For some of us, it may mean something ‘big’ while for others it will be in the simple, more humble or domestic areas of life.  We are all created uniquely and individually.

We all know this and derive a sense of dignity from this.  And so we should.  At the same time, it benefits us to consider what makes us a little ‘different.’  Maybe for those of us who have anxiety, it gives us an ‘edge’ in what we do, who we are and in our relationships.  As long as it is healthy and takes us in a positive direction and we are growing, then all is well.

But what if we are not growing?  What if we are stagnant, frequently bored, unsatisfied or restless?  What do we do then?  I have a gentle proposal.  Since summer is here, we may have a bit more time for some leisurely reading.  Of course, what we read and like to read is personal, so this is only my suggestion and here it goes.  

Some time ago, I read a wonderful fiction book called, ‘The Bookshop Of The Broken Hearted’ by Robert Hillman.  I think this may be of help to those of us with anxiety.  A good book that engages our imagination and empathy will take our minds off ourselves and consider the lives of others.  This book is intense, heartrending and passionate.  

Personally, I have a little theory that some of our anxiety may have been caused by a broken heart somewhere in our past.  What that cause is and where it occurred will be different for each one of us.  But it made us feel less secure, less safe, less trusting and therefore more prone to anxiety.  (Of course, some of us may have been born a little more sensitive or with an anxious disposition but that is a separate matter).

This book can take us on a journey of the heart where we can remember and reflect on how we too have suffered a broken heart.  It can offer some hope in how this can be redeemed in surprising ways.  There are many overcoming books for anxiety-related subjects but sometimes we need a compelling story with a message that we can extract for ourselves.  Fictional characters and stories can be good medicine for our parched souls.  

As we let some light into our lives by reading about them we may feel stronger to be open to fresh ideas and new beginnings.  In time (and it can take some time) we may be able to discern and discover what our purpose in life may be.  Big or small, it will be ours and this can change our destiny.  A worthy purpose will also ripple out and help other people who need what we are and what we have to offer.  Good luck to all of us!

Mary Peters

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