One of the greatest gifts as a human is the ability to choose how to live your life. The choice to be a parent or not; the choice to be college educated or choose an apprenticeship, or the choice to break the rules by designing your own future. Sure, the benefits of making the right choices are immense and the feeling of fulfillment even better.
But how would you feel if you were forced to live a false life? Here’s an example:
You’re being forced to learn how to be a hairstylist and make it your occupation. No, it’s not your side hustle. Even worse, you are told to forget your loved ones and get married to someone you absolutely detest. Forget everything you’ve learned and loved, and instead, make this your sole career and relationship.
The amount of anguish and physical pain you might feel is akin to someone taking a precious object or livelihood away from you. This could lead to anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and an overall spiral into a web of negativity.
Yet, there are people who willingly or unwillingly live their lives based on society’s dictates and preferences. I’m talking about people who are constantly living outside their purpose and are unhappy about it. While sadness is an emotion that is as common as happiness, a constant state of sadness will cause you to slip into a pattern of automatic negative thoughts which can be more difficult to get out of.
So, how do you fix this? How do you stop living a life of false identities and instead honor your own calling and beliefs?
Without further ado, here are 13 ways living with purpose makes your life happier and more fulfilling:
1. You Feel Grounded to a Calling That Is Bigger Than Yourself
While living with purpose won’t guarantee higher paychecks and fancy property, there is a desire to be part of something bigger than yourself. You want to be part of movements that positively impact the world and leave a legacy behind for future generations.
Call it faith, mindfulness, or whatever it is you wish to align yourself with. This sense of anchor makes it possible to navigate through life by when you are able to visualize your existence on earth for a specific reason, which in turn enables you to spend more time finding your calling.
2. You Help Others Live Their Purpose by Empowering Them
An advantage to living in your purpose is that you discover your strengths and are more willing to be of service to your community. This is practically impossible if you lack self-awareness and are unable to translate the skills you have to help others.
Sometimes, even if you do have the skills to help others, living an unintentional life casts doubt of pessimism over you, blinding you to the opportunities to help others grow.
3. You Engage with Others from a Point of Healthy Self-Esteem
As you go through life, your personality and attitudes become shaped by your experiences. However, negative events tend to leave you more vulnerable to self-doubt and crippling mindset challenges, which can cause your self-esteem to take a nose-dive.
Living with purpose is a powerful way to rehabilitate a sense of poor self-esteem. When you change the way you feel about how adversity affects you, your confidence increases and you feel competent enough to deal with setbacks and even stand up as a change agent in situations with unknown outcomes.
4. Your Physical and Mental Health Will Thank You
Yes, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Living a lifestyle, not of your choosing can subject you to severe mental health decline. Anxiety begins to attack as you experience a rise in excessive worry, irritability, and lack of concentration, among other things.
In fact, a Harvard article explains that researchers studied the risk of cardiovascular death between people who reported living with a sense of purpose and those who didn’t, and found the risk of death was 20 percent lower in those who reported living with purpose.
5. Letting Go of Failure Is Easier
Life becomes easier to navigate because you’re living with purpose. Note, I didn’t say easy because it’s never easy.
That’s because choosing to pursue a life aligned with your purpose will stretch you and demand more from you. You will be required to grow and commit to continuous personal development.
However, it is easier to let go of failure without letting it fester into an emotional wound because you’re able to approach life as an adventure rather than an “all or nothing” mindset.
It is easier to let go of failure because, despite a few losses, you believe that you are on a creative, professional path that is designed just for you.
6. Forgiving Others and Letting Go of Bitterness Becomes Easier
Life becomes more peaceful when you no longer have to hold onto year-long grudges and misunderstandings that have caused you unhappiness. This isn’t to say that you become unfeeling to injustice or deliberate disrespect from others. Forgiveness does not excuse a wrong or action. Rather, people who choose to live a purposeful life are more inclined to choose peace over tension.
According to Andrea Brandt Ph.D. M.F.T., you actually might feel unwilling to forgive despite knowing that you need to. However, it takes a gradual process of acknowledging that what is done is done, releasing the hurt and suffering caused, and growing from its ordeal.
Living with purpose makes this process easier because you are more likely to understand that there is no “perfect” human.
7. Gratitude Becomes an Essential Part of Your Life
Interestingly, living a meaningful life opens your heart to feeling thankful. When gratitude preludes your wants and desires, you’re inclined to live fully in the present, to savor and enjoy the relationships and things you do have.
When you live a purposeful life, you acknowledge the difference between needs and wants, and make it a daily effort to remove your focus from what you do not have.
8. You Engage in Positive Behaviors
When you’re living a happier life, you’re able to adopt healthy coping strategies when dealing with stress.
According to Stephanie Hooker from Psychology Today:
“People who have a greater sense of meaning may be more likely to take care of themselves because they feel as if their lives matter more.”
This means more exercise, meditation, mindfulness, and less drinking, smoking, and risky behaviors that will put your health and safety at risk.
9. You Expand Your Worldview
Unlike living in a world where everything is viewed in black and white, you become very sensitive to nuances, undertones, and challenges that plague daily communications, intercultural communications, and even business operations.
Having an open mind leads to craving a deeper sense of connection and understanding of the world around us, which allows for a higher level of thinking for better results in your career and business and business.
10. You Develop More Empathy for Others
Rather than living a life of assigning blame to others because they can’t seem to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” you understand that life is not a race.
You know that everyone is equal and experiences discomfort at certain times. You are also aware that it takes loving and nurturing environments––not critical ones, to raise mentally-strong and balanced individuals who will go on to achieve greater things in life.
11. You Pursue a Values-Based Life
Ever heard of some people always talking and breathing their core values? Well, that’s what living with purpose does.
Let’s say you’re exposed to social issues that plague local and global communities. When you live with purpose, your work instantly gravitates towards solving these problems. This integration becomes more prominent because you find it difficult to extricate what you do from how you are called to serve.
12. You Are More Aligned with Your Career
When you are out of alignment, you are blind to the unassuming job opportunities that mask themselves as challenges or simple introductions. You take risks and make very unwise decisions about your career and/or business.
But success comes from within before it is ever manifested externally, and the only way to know this and acknowledge it is if you are purposefully living your life.
13. You Gain Clarity About the Future Despite Uncertainties
Uncertainty is always going to be a part of life. But it is in these moments that we either realize unspoken potential or let opportunities slip from our fingers.
However, a life lived with purpose recognizes uncertainty as the path to achieving something greater. This encourages you to engage with life from a place of genuine curiosity and wonder instead of anxiety and pessimism.
You have to be clear about what you want your life to look like and how you want to live it.
Whether you’re following trends or breaking societal rules, your personal joy and fulfillment are your responsibility.
After all, you only live once and you should find your meaning in it.