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Question Are we born with a Purpose or do we create our own?

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  • #90312
    Saiisha
    Participant

    Sorry I confused you Who!
    What I meant was that we all have an overarching purpose; however we take different paths (smaller / external paths) to get to it. For example, if the overarching purpose for two different people is to learn about love, one’s path to learn about love might be through service to the poor, whereas another’s might be through overcoming lovelessness from a parent.

    The “service to the poor” or the “lovelessness” of a parent” was what I was referring to as a different vehicle for the same journey, but I think that was confusing, so you can ignore that! 🙂

    #90313
    jock
    Participant

    I think my purpose is to learn to accept myself unconditionally and therefore other people. Tolerance for my tendency to quit when the going gets tough, tolerance for my lack of courage in the past, tolerance for past sins of treating some people with arrogance and disdain. Tolerance for my current situation, however imperfect. This especially. If I can fully accept my current situation without self-judgement, I can learn to accept future “current situations.”

    #90315
    Saiisha
    Participant

    That’s a biggie Jack – to be able to accept yourself unconditionally! We’re so critical of ourselves, aren’t we? To be able to not only have tolerance but to accept and love yourself despite our perceived imperfections (we’re only human huh) – that’s a biggie!

    #90318
    jock
    Participant

    Saisha
    I sense you might think I am being too ambitious? 🙂

    #90450
    who
    Participant

    To: Saisha Thank You! for clarifying, I truly appreciate it.

    Now I understand. I love the way that you think and feel truly amazing! Great outlook on life!

    #90451
    who
    Participant

    To Jack, Love the honesty man! I can really relate to all that you said. I believe that a lot of those are my life lessons too! Thanks!

    #90457
    jock
    Participant

    who
    No problem. I strive for self-honesty. But you know what. Anyone who says they are totally honest is a liar.
    People love BS and they encourage BS from us so we give it to them. Full honesty can be too depressing and brutal. Noone wants to hear it really, do they?

    #90461
    Saiisha
    Participant

    Agree with you both… we can’t examine ourselves if we can’t be honest with our own selves! But maybe in small doses to avoid being depressed 🙂

    #406897
    anita
    Participant

    Dear who, Jock and Saisha/ Reader:

    I am back to this thread 6 years and 9 months later. I wish you were still here, who, Saisha and jock!

    who asked: “Are we born with a purpose in life, or do we create our own as we live life?… If we are born with a purpose, does that mean that no matter what the path is it’s already chosen for us? Or do we live our lives and create a purpose for ourselves to have meaning?

    jock (aka Jack, aka Llama Jack) answered: “The exterior purpose is like, what job should I do, who should I marry? The interior purpose is our spiritual path. Are we ethical, honest, authentic in our life? Are we remaining true to ourselves, despite unpopularity?… I think I’ve spent too much time focused on my exterior purpose rather than my interior purpose. I’ve been obsessed ‘if I just found the right career, my niche’, when in reality no 1 career alone suits me. If I just focused on being a better, more ethical person with more self-discipline and self-respect, I think the outer purpose would fall into place… The outer self is our superficial self, success and failure, achievement and lack of achievement. I think the inner self is more important…

    “I think my purpose is to learn to accept myself unconditionally and therefore other people. Tolerance for my tendency to quit when the going gets tough, tolerance for my lack of courage in the past, tolerance for past sins of treating some people with arrogance and disdain. Tolerance for my current situation, however imperfect.

    “This especially. If I can fully accept my current situation without self-judgement, I can learn to accept future ‘current situations.’

    “I strive for self-honesty. But you know what. Anyone who says they are totally honest is a liar. People love BS and they encourage BS from us so we give it to them. Full honesty can be too depressing and brutal. No one wants to hear it really, do they?”

    anita answered: “We are born alive with the purpose of living until we die. Just like any plant and animal…  Our purpose is to SEE more and more of WHAT IS, to remove delusions, false beliefs and see the bare minimum of what is in front of us“.

    Saisha answered: “We are born with a purpose… that’s the same for everyone, whatever different paths they take on the journey… one’s path to learn about love might be through service to the poor, whereas another’s might be through overcoming lovelessness from a parent… We’re so critical of ourselves, aren’t we? To be able to not only have tolerance but to accept and love yourself despite our perceived imperfections (we’re only human huh) – that’s a biggie! “.

    Today, I will add a whole lot to the above, my thoughts, my understandings (it will be a long post). Any member reading this is welcome to add your thoughts and your understandings. My purpose in resurrecting this thread is not necessarily to start a discussion between members, and it is definitely not to start an argument or a debate, but to simply add to this thread and invite other members to add to it as well.

    The questions posed by who were: “Are we born with a purpose in life.. ?“-I don’t believe that humans are born with individual purposes set by a god.

    “Do .. we live our lives and create a purpose for ourselves to have meaning?“- I believe that it has always been necessary for each individual to create his or her individual purpose and meaning in life, and to live a life congruent with one’s chosen purpose and meaning (as I proceed I’ll combine the two words, purpose & meaning, into one: meaning)). I think that it has never been more necessary to create one own’s meaning in life than it is during these times of extremism: from the extreme climate-change conditions and events (record breaking heat waves, droughts, floods, etc.) to political extremism.

    In these times of extremes, choosing and creating an individual meaning for one’s individual life and living congruently with it is what it takes to become and remain sane in this world, I say. (I will continue using the first person- I- but I am talking not only about myself, but about people):

    I need to see myself as just another human, one of billions (instead of seeing myself as more significant than I really am), and I need to see my any one of my current personal problems as just another problem in an ongoing list of problems, past, present and future  (instead of seeing my personal problems as more significant than they really are). In other words, I need to take myself and my personal problems less seriously.

    Just because I am the main character in my own life (I am the only one in my life who is sensing, feeling and  thinking my life away), does not mean that I am the Main Character in Life, not more than one of billions of individuals (billions of individuals who do not hold very powerful political and financial positions, that is).

    I need to be less attached to my imagination: just because I can imagine things working out well, even wonderfully, does not mean that I should expect things to work out well, or wonderfully. Life is not what I am able to imagine it to be. Fitting my expectations to reality instead of to my imagination will maintain my sanity.

    The freedom of choice is a uniquely privilege and responsibility. There is a lot that I cannot choose (ex. climate change, politics), but whatever it is that matters to me, if I can choose- I want to choose. The more I choose, the more I live my life… my way.

    In (almost) whatever situation I am in that matters to me, I want to think: what choice can I make in this situation?

    A low self-esteem and shame are very much in the way of creating a meaning in life and sticking to it long-term. Therefore, I want to talk about these two thing a little:

    A baby is not born into the world with a consciousness or an awareness of self vs others, therefore, a baby is not born with or without self-esteem. If the young child is regularly esteemed, he or she will get to have a high self-esteem. If the young child is not esteemed, and worse, if the child is often devalued: the child will get to have a poor self-esteem. There is no exception to the latter (to what is in bold print in this paragraph).
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    Parents who fail to esteem their young child, or worse, devalue the child, do so because of their (the parents’) emotional problems, not because their young child lacks worth. There is no exception to this either.

    When a young child is not esteemed, when he or she is devalued and disrespected, the child naturally believes that he is worthy of the disrespect, that he is worth less than what respect calls for. This belief includes a very painful feeling: shame.

    Strong, persistent shame (a negative evaluation of self) is a sickness that causes the individual lots of subjective suffering and it significantly interfere with his social life personally and professionally.

    The focus of shame is on the self with respect to a perceived audience. The perceived audience can be one’s spouse, one’s work colleagues, neighbors, strangers, etc.

    The shame-based person may try to win and receive the audience’s respect and esteem throughout adulthood, into old age. The problem with this strategy is that receiving esteem from others and keeping it, is a time-sensitive process: it has to happen in the first 10 years or so of one’s life. It can’t happen after. And so, the adult who tries and tries to impress or benefit others so that they will reciprocate and give him esteem-  will not receive and keep it in no matter what, even if he is truly esteemed by others.

    Being human is synonymous with making mistakes and therefore, no human can avoid making mistakes, including significant mistakes. For those of us who have a low self-esteem and who suffer from shame, every mistake can be a devastating piece of “evidence” indicating one’s worthlessness. No matter how many successes one experiences, one mistake will bring back that painful feeling of worthlessness.

    Being human is also synonymous with being imperfect, having imperfect (less than desired) physical & other characteristics. For the shame-based person, any physical imperfection and any incident when one could have functioned better, is again, “evidence” of one’s worthlessness.

    When a person’s shame is very strong, the person’s sense of self is exaggerated. There is a lack of humility involved, a grandiosity of sorts: the person views himself as capable of being more than human: to never make mistakes, or to never make significant mistakes, to be on top of his game all the time, and to have no imperfections. Having  unrealistic expectations of oneself inevitably leads to repeated disappointments with self, and the shame persists.

    We all make mistakes and there will always be more mistakes to be made. All we can do is to do better today than we did yesterday, and better tomorrow than we did today. We have to be okay with making mistakes, sometimes significant mistakes, because we have no choice on the matter.

    For the shame-based person, the thought of not having learned from past mistakes and not having done better in the past, is enough to send another painful wave of shame through the mind and body. This is where self-compassion comes handy, just a little bit of pity for oneself: oh how hard I tried, how good I am for having tried so hard. I am a good person for having tried so hard.

    I suffered from lots of shame most of my life. Whenever I made a mistake, I felt very, very badly, because in my mind, it was evidence or proof of my worthlessness. At times, I tried to win esteem from others, but most of the time I gave up trying and instead, I got lost in a fantasy world where I imagined myself esteemed as an international movie star or dancer, performing to cheering large audiences all over the world.

    There are people who never stopped trying to win the esteem of others in real-life. They keep trying and trying in small ways and in big ways.. heroically, but unwisely because for an adult, esteem is not for others to give, it is within oneself to discover.

    I used to not learn from my mistakes because it was too painful for me to get passed the fact that I made a mistake and in so doing (so I believed) provided further proof of my worthlessness. These days, when I make a mistake, I say to myself: “Everyone makes mistakes. Good people are not people who don’t make mistakes; good people are people who learn from their mistakes. What can I learn from this mistake? I then make a mental note of what it is that I learned and how to behave differently in a similar situation in the future. Following that- I feel better, guilt gone. It’s like magic!

    anita

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    #406898
    anita
    Participant

    P.S. I have more to say, will continue later.

    #406923
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Reader:

    <i>Jock suggested</i> that his Purpose is “being a better, more ethical person“- what I learned is that to be a better person, a more caring, empathetic person and a more ethical person,  requires adequate mental health, and  adequate mental health requires freedom from excess shame.

    As I improved (and continue to improve) my mental health, I am becoming a better and a more ethical person. I learned that the two (mental health and being a good, ethical person) go together, hand in hand.

    Jock also mentioned self-respect as part of his Purpose- same thing: there can be no consistent-enough self-respect when a person falls once in a while into the painful abyss of excess shame. Same in regard to his purpose <strong style=”font-style: italic;”>to accept (himself ) unconditionally and therefore other people“, and in regard to Tolerance for his inadequacies and for what he referred to as his past sins excess shame is the OPPOSITE of accepting oneself; it is the opposite of tolerating one own’s (and others’) inadequacies and imperfections.

    When a person suffers from excess shame, past sins remain magnified in the person’s mind, unchanged and it is therefore impossible to forgive oneself.

    Jock mentioned his Purpose to “fully accept (his) current situation without self-judgement“, and “to accept future ‘current situations’“- shame and self-judgment are almost synonymous. Can’t accept myself if I am ashamed of myself.

    Jock wrote: “I strive for self-honesty“- I learned that to be honest with myself, I had to gain enough mental health= to free myself from excess shame first, otherwise the brain is too tormented with shame to be able to see clearly.

    I will continue later.

    anita

    #406966
    Helcat
    Participant

    From a biological perspective, the purpose of a species is to reproduce and aim for survival of the species. In a modern society this is expressed in a variety of different ways. Largely, employment is focused around service to others in some form. Whether it is providing a service, skill or goods. From a needs perspective, we exist to meet our own needs. See Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

    On top of that, we all have free will, unique personalities and preferences. My belief is that who we choose to spend time with shapes who we are as people, as well as our environments.

    Personally, I enjoy helping others. I enjoy using my skills at work because it makes me feel useful. Because I have health issues I have an interest in health and fitness. I was very active and grew up in the countryside when I was younger, so I enjoy the outdoors. I love animals because I was raised with them, also they are very pure and joyful. I enjoy learning now that my job as a tutor helped me overcome learning anxiety. Mental health and psychology are important to me because of experiences with trauma. Philosophy has been an interest since childhood because I was often left to the care of the local librarians. Being a child raised in challenging circumstances, I had a lot of questions about the world.

    #406968
    Helcat
    Participant

    As someone who has struggled with various circumstances for most of my life. I don’t really concern myself with purpose. My purpose at times has been to get through the day. Resolve a problem or achieve a specific goal.

    I would like to get a new job. I would like to improve my health and manage my anxiety. I would like to pass my driving test.

    I value kindness.

    #407027
    Peter
    Participant

    Question Are we born with a Purpose or do we create our own?

    My 2 cents for what its worth. Yes but its not what you might think.
    Born you are the answer to the question, you are purpose, every breathe you take, every move you make, purpose.

    As Campbell noted Life does not give you meaning or purpose you give meaning to Life

     

    #407251
    anita
    Participant

    Dear who/ Reader:

    My purpose has been to see more and more of what is real and to remove from my view what is not real ( false beliefs and misinterpretations). Seeing clearly what’s in front of me, I can choose actions and reactions that fit the real situation, rather than fitting a wrongly perceived situation.

    I want my actions and reactions to be based primarily on courage, not on fear alone. I’d say, my purpose is courage in the face of reality.

    I used to be too afraid of people, so I submitted to others, eager to please or to just stay out of the way and let my perceived superiors take charge and do as they choose. I used to believe that others knew better, that I knew the least. I used to believe that if I communicate to people that I accept my inferiority, they will like me better, saying to themselves something like: well, at least she knows that she is inferior to me. She won’t give me any trouble then, good girl!

    My purpose is to never again be that kind of good girl. My purpose is to take charge of situations that require it, to no longer stay out of the way, and to no longer submit to perceived superiors.

    There are lots and lots and lots of situations I have no power over. The key is to relax into these situations, to let go of the hopeless struggles to change what I cannot change. I want to remove from my brain-body any and all useless stress and distress. Why worry, feel badly and suffer when such does not benefit anyone?

    Oh, it just occurred to me, that my suffering can benefit those who want me to suffer… yes, I remember my mother watching me suffer emotionally with a smile on her face: she’d say something shaming to me on purpose, so to make me suffer shame… and then she’d watch my face, eager to see her success.  But I don’t want to please people like that, people who feel good about me feeling bad.

    We humans are all mentally ill and mentally healthy, different extents at different times. We all suffer the consequences of mental illness that carries on from one generation to the next and to the next. We are all direct victims of people who abuse us, and co-victims of the people who abused our abusers. It takes a lot of healing to recognize more subtle ways in which we may abuse others, subtle ways that may not earn the title abuse perhaps, but nonetheless, these are ways that are harmful and unnecessary. For example, being unnecessarily critical of others, focusing on their negatives and not on their positives.

    People are naturally averse to and repelled by being criticized and judged. Simply put, to be criticized and judged feels badly, no matter if the criticism is true or false. And so, if I want to help a person, I need to not repel him or her by offering criticism and judgment. I need not interrogate and  confront the person in search of material to use as criticism. A person will be open to my help only if the person asking for help feels that I like him/ her. So first, a liking needs to be established.

    I am averse to being criticized. I hate it. It makes me anxious. The only way I can be open to criticism is if I feel that the criticizer likes me, is gentle and honest and has my well-being in mind, and that he/ she is honest not only about my shortcomings but about their own.

    To be powerless when abused, to not fight the abuser- that’s a terrible feeling, a terrible situation to be in. But to fight when not abused, to never relax-  is also a terrible situation. I’d say then that my purpose is to fight abusers when there is a chance that I succeed, and relax when I am not abused.

    Mental and emotional progress is not linear. We have to bounce back from failures and disappointments and continue to learn, to progress, building each day’s learning and progress on top of yesterday’s.

    Viktor Frankl wrote: “It is not freedom from conditions; it is freedom to take a stand toward the conditions”,  “The meaning of life is in every moment of living”.

    My freedom and meaning (purpose) now is to be ethical, to say and do what’s right, to do better than yesterday, to have that peace of mind knowing that I am a good, honest person.

    anita

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