The struggle to find your life's purpose is a right of passage for all of us INFJs. It's something we all go through and it's difficult for all of us. Because we are empaths and because we have extroverted feeling, meaning we care more about other people's feelings that we do our own, it's hard for us to clear out everything in our heads and focus on what we want. But in order for us to find our true purpose and to feel fulfilled in our lives we have to step back from what other people want for us and think about what we really want. Let's take a look at how to do that.
When we were growing up we took in a lot of information from our life experiences, from things people told us and things we observed. Most of this information is stored in our subconscious mind. It's not something we notice, it functions in the background. Think of it like assumed truths. We've been told something and we believe it, so when we hear it again we just assume it's true without even really thinking about it consciously.
I'll give you an example from my life. When I was young I used to read books and every time I would finish one I would sit in awe of what I just read and wish that I could write something so amazing and inspiring. I'm sure at some point I shared my desire to write with someone and they pointed out that I'm not very good at English. I took 12 years of spelling in school and I still can't spell. How could I be a writer if I can't spell and am not good at sentence structure and fancy words? I accepted the fact that writing was not for me and moved on to something else.
We pick up these "assumed truths" from a lot of different places: our parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, teachers, coaches, etc. Once we believe them we store them in our subconscious and don't even think about them when they come up again. So often these "truths" hold us back from doing what we want to do and what we should be doing.
We have to move these "truths" to our conscious mind and really analyze whether they are actually true or not. When someone tells me something now or when I think I can't do something I take a step back from that thought. I like to imagine myself holding that thought in my hands, out away from my body so I can analyze it without taking it to heart. I hold it there and really look at it consciously to see if it actually true, or if it is just something that I have always believed. This way if it's not actually true I can put it down and not worry about it anymore.
What's holding you back?
Fear is a sneaky and nasty little thing. It holds us back from so much in our lives and sometimes we don't even notice. Often times we're afraid that we'll look silly in front of our friends and family. I've been afraid to look silly in front of people that I didn't even know! We're also afraid that we'll fail, that we aren't good enough and we won't be able to do the things that we want to do. And the crazy thing is we let these fears hold us back without even trying!
Fear shows up in our lives in a few different ways. One is planning mode. As INFJs we like to have things organized and planned out. We want to know what's going to happen and be prepared for it. This actually comes from our desire to be in control. Yep, we are control freaks, even though we don't think so and don't want to admit it.
You'll also see fear in procrastinating. When we keep putting something off, there's a good reason why. Maybe it's just because you're lazy. That's a possibility. But are you lazy about everything or just this one thing? If it's just this one thing I want to challenge you to really look at why you are putting this thing off. WHat's the reason? Bring that to your conscious mind.
Another way that fear shows up is in indecision. When you can't make a decision about what to do next is it really that you don't know what you WANT to do or is it because you are afraid to do that thing so you look at other options?
So how do we get past fear? That's the real question! The best way is to bring it to your conscious mind and make sure you know what's going on. Ask yourself these questions:
What are you afraid of?
What stories have you told yourself about why you can’t do this thing you want to do?
Why are those stories not true?
What’s the new story? What do you want to do?
Where’s your proof? What have you done so far or what have you gotten through that you didn’t think you would?
Clarity comes with action
In order to get REAL clarity on what your purpose in life is you have to take action. You have to do something, even if it feels like the wrong thing. What you'll find is that every step you take, everything you do will lead you to the right thing. But you'll never get to the right thing if you do nothing.
When you are afraid to take that step remember that you have to do it scared and do it messy. These are 2 of my favorite sayings. Do it scared means that you have to take action even when you are scared and unsure. You have to do the thing. Everyone is scared when they first start out. You have to have the courage to fight through that fear.
Do it messy means that the first thing you make won't be perfect. It will be messy and awkward and probably embarrassing later on. The one that's good will be the 20th or the 100th on you make. But you can't get to the 20th or 100th if you never do the first thing. So, accept that the first thing will be messy and imperfect and do it anyway.
I'm sure that you have a purpose in this world. Each one of us was born with something special to do, a special gift to share. I hope that you keep going on this journey until you figure out what your purpose is.
That's how long it took me to find my purpose in life. The 3 years since then have been the best of my life. Is everything perfect? No. But the good days are good and the bad days aren't so bad because I know in my heart and soul that I'm helping people, that I'm making this world a better place. That's really all that I can ask for!