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From motivational quotes to inspiring videos of individuals speaking on their success, passions and most importantly PURPOSE. We can all agree that we feel unstoppable and motivated once we finally believe we know our purpose. 

Having said this, there are times where we do not know the steps or goals to consider- for us to then be able to achieve these big dreams of ours. It is when these thoughts and feelings occur, where we are usually led to feel all kinds of emotions, something we call having a PURPOSE ANXIETY.

What is PURPOSE ANXIETY?

According to Rainey, Purpose Anxiety is defined as “Collective forms of negative emotions (leading to frustration, depression, anger, low self-esteem, loss of hope, stress) in search of finding a purpose, your purpose – struggling to find or approve of one’s life purpose”. 

From this definition, we can understand that the idea of ‘Purpose’ comes with various forms of negative connotations attached rather than a positive one. Although, the thought of not knowing your purpose should not be considered as a negative one – consequently, for many, associating purpose negatively does seem to be the case (I can honestly relate to this).

So, why is purpose viewed negatively?

It lies behind the thought-provoking process of understanding for yourself, when you have absolutely no idea or just not too sure where to start from. Therefore, the realisation that this is about you – no one else can do it for you or help you understand your life journey.

Yes, people will guide you into the right directions but not necessarily take you there, without you not knowing yourself.  It is almost a case of telling someone you want to travel somewhere, but not knowing where exactly you want to travel to and why. Difficult, right?

Why are people trying to find or understand this idea of PURPOSE?

To some or many, ‘finding your purpose’ in life can involve and mean many things: such as understanding your self-worth in life, gain fulfilment of basic needs, accomplishments and achievements, financial freedom and independence. To achieve these things we can then feel like we are contributing and impacting the world in a good way. When we reach this point in our lives we feel like we would then be accepted and understood and we can pursue our passion – you can wake up to love what you are doing everyday – a sense of joy. 

So, you see why many people want to understand their purpose. We all want to have a sense of purpose in life and we all crave to understand it, so then our true self can embark on that journey.

The prevalence of ‘Purpose Anxiety’ in the 21st century – why is this common?

In my opinion, purpose anxiety is very prevalent in modern day society, due to the fact that everyday people are ‘made’ (especially young people) to feel the pressure to have it all, a perfectly structured life. You are probably wondering by who? Well, by your family who looks up to you, partner, friends, comparing your life to others; people you know or may not know. 

individuals such as: celebrities, social media influencers, role models, society, and social media, I mean the list goes on – these figures promote themselves as living their ‘best life’. The reality is, there is no such thing as a perfectly structured life because life gets to the best of all of us. So, when this perfect structure does not go according to plan, we lose all sense of hope and worth and self-doubt and insecurity kicks in.

Usually, when this happens, we then tend to re-shift our focus on doing things for doing sake, to seek approval, some form of validation and acceptance to feel ‘worthy’ whether to ourselves or any other person. So, in this case, we become busy rather than busy being productive. 

Markova supports this statement by stating that ‘’We are living in times of Olympic distractions and busyness – the idea of doing and doing. We get caught up in having to do things without actually understanding whether these things are in align with what we want or have to do to get there”.

In some cases, we may have to do things we do not want or have to do in order to reach where we are going in life. Such as, having to work part time to earn some money and support yourself whilst gradually building a business startup. Aside from this, the line is blurred when the act of doing things to please another or for doing sake happens.

These thoughts and ideologies stem from what others think; dictating to how your life should be, and if your life is not this way, you are falling behind or comparing ourselves to another. This idea of rushing life and making sure life is 100% picture perfect and smooth is a flawed perception to have. 

This does not mean to be pessimistic or negative about it, but rather to be realistic and to understand that you are not everybody and your journey is different. How you define your journey determines your pathway in life, whether you took the long or short route.

My Personal Experience 

In my case, my own steps towards my purpose were to become a social issues writer for Worth of Mouth as I enjoy content writing and maybe it might be something that I pursue as a career, I never know. 

However, for me, this was a big challenge. I took this step because I know that “life itself is a journey and a journey of a thousand miles starts with a step” – as stated by the famous Chinese philosopher, Tao Tzu, which are great words to live by.

Understanding your purpose can literally be defined as anything, as long as it is in fulfilment with your desires and self, which brings a greater sense of meaning for you to work towards the goal.

Final points and thoughts

Every day we are faced with the pressures of the world to live the fast life or a picture perfect life, with no pains and struggles. I can honestly say, no one ever has not experienced an ounce of struggle, pain and bitter experiences along the way to their success of finding their life purpose.

It is very easy to look at another person and think ‘’I wish that was me’’. The truth is, you cannot be like them because you are different and unique; it is vital to place some importance on how you define knowing your life purpose. 

According to Pierce“How you define your purpose will overall determine how successful you will become in achieving or finding it. Therefore, knowing or even understanding your purpose can be as simple as changing your career, securing promotion at work, starting a business, overcoming a phobia, volunteering for charitable organisations, advocating for a social cause or action, teaching – teaching people something they do not know, learning how to speak another language, challenging yourself to something new“.

As we approach a new season, take this opportunity to have a new state of mind and feel proud of yourself with the steps and achievements so far. To do more, do some soul searching within yourself, continuously grow and learn about yourself; identify, clarify, think and change your perspectives of your life and life in general (use the image above to brainstorm some ideas and give them a thought)…create your own timeline, block out the ‘fears’ and define your life into action and power.

Here are some useful videos to listen to, feel inspired and lift your head up:

How To Find Your Passion
Prince Ea – How To Find Your Purpose

Mina Antwi

Social Issues Writer at Worth of Mouth
Hi, my name is Mina. A young woman with a huge curiosity of understanding the society - philosophy and everything social affecting the world, you and me!
As a blogger, I want to bring an insightful, interactive yet informative twist of discussing prevalent social issues affecting young people in our society. Also, to hopefully, encourage and educate you to understand the world, our world - you and me!
Mina Antwi
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