Trying to find your life purpose? Ask your younger self
Once I decided not to pursue my Masters, I started wandering around aimlessly.
I wanted to do something that fulfilled me. I was worried settling into a social work job would rob me of the opportunity to be creative. So I froze. Somewhere between my own pressure to "find myself" and "live my purpose" and the pressure I felt from my parents (and my student loan) to get settled into a stable career and start making money, I ended up discouraged... with no idea what I was going to do next.
So I did what I do best and booked a session with a Reiki Master to work through some things.
The Reiki Master picked up on my situation immediately (energy does not lie) and after the session sat me down to talk about what I had been feeling over what to do next.
"What did you want to be when you grew up?"
"When you were four or five.. six, seven.. what did you want to be?"
I don't know. I can't really remember. No one has ever asked me that before!
"Think about it. We usually know exactly what we are meant to do as a career when we are younger. The idea just gets covered in expectations and limiting beliefs as we age."
I thought her take on things was interesting. I had tried everything else so figured I'd give it a go.
Instead of just thinking about it, though, I found a picture of my younger self and asked her. And what I learned inspired the direction of this blog!
The internet now makes it possible to be intentional about your work. More often than ever before people are building careers and businesses doing whatever they want. Passionate about veganism? Start a YouTube channel! Good with languages? Start a website and teach. Gone are the days where you step into a traditional 9-5 and retire 30 years later. Times are changing and there has never been such freedom to create a career you are passionate about and create social change in the process.
While this is an amazing thing, it comes with a lot of pressure. Living a creative life and being able to do whatever you want is amazing if you know what it is you want to do, but if you don't it can be anything but a dream.
If you're reading this because you typed "quarter life crisis" or "I'm ___ years old and still don't know what to do with my life" into Google, go find a younger picture of yourself. Getting back in touch with who you were before the world told you who you should be is SO important when considering what you need to do to create a life that will reflect your most authentic self and make you happy.
Did you grab the photo? Great! Now take out a piece of paper or open a Word doc and write a letter to the person looking back at you in the photo. I know it might sound silly. But it works.
Start by saying HI.
Ask your younger self what they were interested in. Ask them about their personality. Are they shy? Creative? Outgoing? Opinionated? Ask them what they would like to be when they are older. Ask them where they want to work, what type of things they want to work with, ask them what they want to change about the world. Eventually let your subconscious take over and write whatever it is you feel you need to write to the person in the photo.
Write for as long as you need to write and when you sign off at the bottom, reread the letter back to you. Don't be surprised if in the letter you told yourself exactly what it is you need to be doing with your life and gave yourself a lot of encouragement to do it! Because while you have grown and changed shape, your spirit, that all knowing part of you (your inner child) has not changed at all. Talking to a younger version of you, a version that hasn't been conditioned to think or be a certain way, just allowed it to come through more easily!
As we get older we get serious and we get mean. Especially to ourselves. We lose connection with the things we love most and fall into the grind of day-to-day living. We get stuck believing that being an adult means we can't be imaginative and creative in ways that fall outside of what's normal and expected. We think we need to start that job (the job we hate) and think being kind to ourselves and our vision means being conceited, and that following our dreams is a risk too great to be considered.
When thinking about what you should do next think about the things that you wrote in your letter.
What lit you up as a child? What personality traits made you you? What advice did you have for the person in the photo when you considered who they would become 20-years later? What parts of you have you abandoned in order to fit in?
4-year old Robin was gentle and kind. She knew happiness was feeling safe, loved and included, and she was inspired by her Mom who would go out of her way to help others when they were in need of a bit of support. She played with trees, leaves and bugs, and had an magical friend who lived in her bedroom wall. She was also opinionated and stubborn and felt really sad when she saw people or animals who were hurt. So I built up a site about all of those things! A beautiful space dedicated to creating safety for those who are gentle and kind and believe in all sorts of magic. A space where I can advocate for the rights of those whose voices remain unheard and do my part in making this world a better place.
When you're done with your letter, tuck it somewhere you can read it often.
As for that picture? Put it somewhere you can see it at least once every day. Anytime you feel confused, or find yourself needing to make a decision about the future, look at it. The energy behind your younger self will calm you and place you back into your heart centre, your authentic self, with just a glance. Looking at the photo will bring out your inner child, the limitless part of you caged inside your adult body, and remind you of your potential... of all the amazing things you can be and do when you feel most overwhelmed and lost.
Enjoy your weekend! And for REAL. If you're feeling confused over what is next, give this a try! You never know what will come up.