Pathways Out of Depression--Part 5: Getting Clear About Your Life Purpose

     If this gauge measured your excitement about how you spend your time most days, what number would the needle point to?

gauge

     Unless your gauge reads 6 or above most days, chances are you are not fully living your life purpose. And, you may be feeling depressed as a result.

     When most people realize they’re depressed, they scramble frantically to do whatever they can to stop feeling that way. They want to escape.
     But because I know you’re someone who is on a spiritual path, I’ll share my secret with you. Escape is not the best option. You’ve got to lean in to the depression.
     Doing this won’t help you feel better right away. But it CAN help you feel better in the long run.  Because your depression is telling you that you’ve strayed off course from living your life purpose. How can you get back on course?

     I’ve found four tools that have helped my clients get back on track with their purpose. The first is to think about what you loved to do as a child. What gave you a sense of joy? When did you feel the most peaceful? What helped you feel a tingling sense of aliveness?
     If you can’t remember, dig out some old family photos. Find one where your eyes are dancing with joy. Latching on to this can give you a great starting point.

 What things did you absolutely love doing as a child? These are your  keys to happiness

What things did you absolutely love doing as a child? These are your  keys to happiness

The second way you can get some insight into your life purpose is to think about constructive feedback thatpeople who care about you give to you. “You should be a ____,” they might have told you admiringly. What do they tell you you’re good at? What are your strengths?
     If you’re not sure what these are, visit the Authentic Happiness website
https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/testcenter They have a bunch of really cool tests you can take to boost your happiness gauge reading! Click on the Brief Strengths Test to figure out what your strengths are & how you can use them to discover your life purpose.

Another way to get clear about your life purpose is to look at your current career. In her book, “The Artists Way,” Julia Camerson says sometimes we choose a career that is close to our heart’s desire, only safer.
     For example, maybe your work in an art gallery, but secretly you long to be a painter yourself. So, take a close look at your career. Are your unique gifts and passion are being used to their full potential? Or, are you standing in the shadows, playing it safe while someone else gets the limelight?
     Standing in the shadows is often a key contributor to depression. There’s a part of you that KNOWS you can play bigger!
     So, if you’re feeling depressed, it’s actually a gift rather than a curse, because it’s a signal that something’s out of what in your life!
     The final tool you can use to get clear about your purpose is this question: “I you had an endless supply of time and money, and you knew you could not fail, what would you do? How would you spend your time?

     Once you’ve figured out what fills your heart with joy, the next step is to LIVE your life purpose. And that’s the subject of my next blog post. Stay tuned!