How to Get What You Want in Life/Finding my Purpose
My name is Jessica. I am a 25 year old recent college grad from Arkansas. Since my graduation, I have been working as a secretary for a local church. This isn't exactly what I had in mind for my first "real" job, but, with the tough economy, it was literally the only thing I could find.
Despite having a job, a nice family and group of friends who support me, and a generally "good" life, I feel like something is missing. Inside, I have always felt I was meant to do something, but I have been unable to discern what it is I am supposed to do with my life. This intense feeling of not being complete (for lack of a better word) is very bothersome and makes me feel trapped. I then get in a cycle of feeling guilty for wanting more, when my life is already so blessed. I often begin to worry that this feeling of wanting more is just myself being narcissistic.
How do I find what's missing? How can I find my true purpose?
I would greatly appreciate your feedback on the matter. Thanks so much!
First I am so sorry I took so long to get back to you. I was away for New Years and forgot to set a "away message" on AllExperts".
I do not think you are alone or even in the minority of people who are having trouble finding their purpose in life. There have been many excellent books written about how to find your purpose in life. Rick Warren's "A Purpose Driven Life" comes to mind. Rick Warren is a church pastor so as you would expect, the book has a very religious slant.
If you would like a more balanced book, "One Big Thing - Discovering What You Were Born to Do" by Phil Cooke might be a better choice.
There is on other book you might check out - "The Passion Test" by Janet and Chris Attwood.
I think it is important to discover your purpose in life. This of course is very individualistic. It all depends on your talents, abilities and interest. I do not think it is something that you find without a lot of work. As we grow older and become more mature, our way of thinking often changes. Some things that are/were important in our youth are no longer the major drivers of our life's decisions. Said differently, our priorities change. So do not get too fixed on your purpose. Allow yourself to be open to life's experiences and grow from your experiences. Observe what makes you feel good about yourself.
I would suggest that our materialistic culture is undergoing a change. As a society we are starting to realize that happiness and fulfillment are not achieved by wanting and getting more for ourselves. There have been many studies which have shown that the more we do for others, the better we feel about ourselves. So keep in mind that being self-centered, looking out for yourself is not likely to bring much happiness.
I do believe that the ultimate goal of life is to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Please not that genuine happiness is totally different from pleasure. Pleasure is short lived. Happiness on the other hand, has a much longer life.
I would like to suggest two other resources. These are video talks from the Aspen Ideas Festival. They are free and no sign up is requires. While I am giving only links to two specific talks there are many others from the same year which deal with happiness. So feel free to explore the site for additional talks. The first talk is by Jonathan Haidt, a psychology professor from the University of Virginia and the second talk is by Dan Gilbert, I believe he is from Harvard University.
Again, please accept my apologies for not getting back sooner.
I hope I have provided some helpful resources. Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions you may have.