Here’s a principle you might want to take as your own: A powerful sense of purpose, or meaning, is important – in fact, it is vital to fulfilling the promise of the potential that resides in all of us. A bold statement, to be sure, and one which plays out in who we believe we are, and what we believe we can do – especially when we focus on what we can do beyond ourselves.
Purpose, or what we might call contribution beyond self – often for the good of a community of others – provides a not-so-subtle boost to our self-image or self-worth. It’s an internal boost because we are not relying on others to validate our purpose. So, the challenge becomes to not make the mistake of confusing purpose with worth, as many do who are continually looking outside themselves to feel worthy.
When you determine your personal worth by your job, career, family, social position, income or appearance, you create a dilemma for yourself. The dilemma is that you must constantly work for approval, love, acceptance and control, in order to feel worthy. And each of us is so much more than our work.
If you lose your job, or your children grow up and leave home, or you retire and begin to look and feel older, you may find yourself feeling worth-less or even depressed. You could spend a lifetime looking outside yourself to feel worthy, and feel totally frustrated in the endeavor. The truth is, when all is said and done, what we really need to do is look inside.
Here’s another principle you might want to adopt: Every human being is worthy, simply because we exist. And because we exist, we have the opportunity, every second of every day, to find and fulfill the promise of our worth. You see, we want to look within to find our purpose and then cast our gaze outside for ways to express it.
A sense of purpose, finding meaning in your existence, will help you live a more satisfying life. Remember, you give meaning to what you do – what you do does not give meaning to you.