The Surprising Truth About Finding Purpose

Share The Love!

The Surprising Truth About Finding Purpose Title Card mshealthesteem.com. The title appears over a photo of a man standing by the water watching the sun set.

Hello Lovelies:

What’s your purpose? Does that question make you cringe? I feel ya!

When the idea of finding purpose comes up many of us start to sweat and wonder if we measure up. Our minds wander to our jobs, our education, our hobbies… and all of the things we do.

And for many of us, we may find ourselves wanting (or feeling completely lost).

But what if things could be different? What if our purpose isn’t really what we’ve been led to believe? What if it comes from a completely different place?

If the idea of finding your purpose makes you cringe, if you’re feeling like you’ll never find it, or if you’ve recently lost your way, keep reading! Finding purpose might be a little easier than you think…

I Always Thought I Knew My Purpose

My entire life I thought I knew what I had been placed on this earth to do. I was going to dedicate my life to animals. The exact ‘what’ changed as I grew up – Veterinarian, Zoologist, Wildlife Rehabilitator… You name it, I’ve dreamed of it. And I even succeeded to some degree, working as a zookeeper apprentice, animal care provider and pet nutrition specialist… I spent years of my young life working in a field that I loved.

I even studied Zookeeping and Aquarium Technology and pursued a degree in Sciences with a Biology major in University. Seriously, I was in it to win it.

I knew it my heart that this was what I was made for. Feeling as if I knew what I was meant to do with my life brought me a ton of comfort.

Enter Graves Disease! Surprise, surprise, life had other plans.

I stubbornly fought against my diagnosis for months, even taking on a new job that would allow me to learn more about farm animals. Nothing was going to stop me. Or so I thought…

A woman stares at herself in the mirror. She looks melancholic.

But life isn’t like that sometimes. Ignoring what my body was trying so desperately to tell me didn’t benefit me at all. Instead, things got worse. I could barely walk around the block by the time my doctor placed me on sick leave. And I had to accept that I wouldn’t be able to return to such a physically demanding job. It wasn’t an easy pill to swallow.

It felt like I had lost my purpose. As you can probably guess, my heart was broken and I suddenly felt like I had no value.

Until I thought I had found a new purpose…

After tons of healing and a huge lifestyle change, I created Health-Esteem. This website became my solace. Using my experiences to help inspire and help others live healthier lives was refreshing and uplifting. The fear of finding purpose again receded and I felt at home.

But then I relapsed and had to take a huge step back in order to heal. And all those negative feelings came rushing back. To be blunt… it really sucked.

And there’s a reason for that:

I had fallen for the idea that my purpose was found outside of myself. A trap many of us find ourselves caught in.

Related: 10 Powerful Life Lessons I Learned From Graves Disease

Someone stands on a path with a backpack. There are puddles and beautiful trees on either side of the trail.

The truth is that…

Your Purpose Should Come From Within

We are all led to believe that finding purpose means seeking something outside of ourselves. Whether it be a career path, a volunteer project, a hobby… our purpose is meant to be something we do. An external list of accomplishments we need to achieve in order to feel like we have real value.

But there’s a problem with this idea…

When your purpose exists outside of yourself it can be taken away (if it’s ever even found at all). By a layoff, a health problem, a change of heart…

Life is a long, often random and unpredictable adventure. Things are going to change constantly, which can leave you feeling without a purpose fairly often. And that feeling… that soul-crushing pain of “losing your purpose” can really pack a painful punch. One that might make you feel pretty freaking depleted and down in the dumps.

Which is a shame, because inevitable changes in life really shouldn’t leave us feeling like we’ve lost our value. Feeling worthless isn’t good for our well-being after all.

But your purpose truly has nothing to do with what you do! It’s all about who you are.

Related: The Myth of Finding Your Purpose

A woman stands on the balcony staring out at the city, hands up over her head as it stretching. From The Surprising Truth About Finding Your Purpose mshealthesteem.com

What if your purpose is instead found within you? You see – if your purpose is internal, you’ll still accomplish a ton of incredible things! But you won’t need to worry about finding purpose (or losing it) because it’s right there inside you, always. And you can take it with you on all of your amazing adventures. And it can grow and change with you.

Re-framing the idea of finding purpose and ensuring that it comes from within is incredibly freeing. It releases the pressures of having to find the perfect job. Or the stress caused by creating and sticking to impossible resolutions. Or having the “perfect” body (I’m sure we’ve all felt that dang pressure).

My favourite part? Finding an internal purposes helps us find our way towards self-acceptance. There’s no need to accomplish something serious to be of value. You’re pretty awesome and deserve self-acceptance right now as you are. And you are always enough!

Related: Why Is Self-Acceptance So Powerful? (And How To Work On It)

Need Helping Finding Purpose from Within?

A man stands facing the water while the sun sets beautifully in the background. The same photo can be seen in the title card of The Surprising Truth About Finding Purpose mshealthesteem.com

Here are a few ideas:

What if your purpose is to fall in love with your beautiful self? To discover yourself, befriend yourself and use your newfound knowledge of all of your fantasticness to be the awesome you that you are! Imagine all the goodness you’ll be able to put out into the world when you’re being so kind and nurturing towards yourself.

What if your purpose is to learn to feed and treat your body with kindness? To help yourself heal and to inspire others through your commitment to your own well-being?

What if your purpose were to discover your own unique interests and indulge them? Even if they aren’t mainstream or “cool”. What if you acknowledge and be proud of the passions that make you who you are and thus be a role model for anyone who needs to feel safe and free to accept their unique selves too?

Related: Struggling To Be Kind To Yourself? These 5 Tips Will Help

Final Thoughts

A woman jumps up in the air in joy. The sun is setting in the background and the sky is clear and deep blue.

See how an internal purpose not only frees you from the idea that your value exists outside of yourself… it also puts a ton of good out into the world. Total win!

These ideas (and more) can all apply to many external activities, and make you feel so much better about your awesome self.

Even as jobs and hobbies come and go, these internal purposes will never stray. Because they’re inside of you gorgeous. And nothing can take that away.

Doesn’t this sound more freeing than tying your purpose to something external? It’s been such a huge relief personally. Now I am free of that ache that comes along with losing your way and feeling purposeless. Because I know that that never means that I have no purpose or meaning. It’s always right there, inside of me, burning bright. And it’s in you too.

Now it’s your turn: Have you ever looked at finding your purpose this way? Are you excited to give it a go? Tell me what one of your purposes is in the comments. I can’t wait to read them! 

Health and love,

sara-signature

Thought of the day: Your purpose is to be your wonderful self. 

A Banner for the MS Bike Run, All Funds Raised Go Towards MS Research and Support for Those Affected

How to Support mshealthesteem.com

Ms. Health-Esteem wouldn’t be possible without you! I’m so grateful that you make it possible for me to share free weekly self-love, wellness and healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thank you!

If “The Surprising Truth About Finding Purpose” was your first Ms. Health-Esteem article, thank you tons for reading it and welcome to the Health-Esteemie family <3.

Here’s how you can provide a little extra support for this site:

Subscribe for freebies, extra inspiration, and much more!

Treat yourself to a $2.50 copy of Smoothie Love – How to Drink Your Fruits and Veggie and Love It

Looking to promote something that aligns with Ms. Health-Esteem’s health-philosophies? Let’s talk about it (options for bloggers and businesses alike)

Join me on PinterestInstagramTwitterFacebook, or Tumblr for extra goodness.

Share The Love!

Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

Sara Flanagan is a wellness writer and the creator of www.mshealthesteem.com, where she shares her story of being diagnosed with Graves Disease, a chronic autoimmune disease, and empowering herself to do everything she can to thrive in spite of her diagnosis. She writes articles on self-love, acceptance, wellness and nutrition. Join the Health-Esteem Family today and share in the journey.

52 Comments

  1. Reply

    Jane Gammage

    October 25, 2017

    As usual you have hit the nail squarely on the head lovely one! My stomach actually lurched when you spoke of relapsing after you thought you’d found your purpose. I have been there too and it is not easy; the anger and the sadness, despair actually, that comes with that second (for some third or fourth even) blow is devastating. But each of these trials has a lesson and you are so right that it is only when you look inwards and begin to really know who you are and love and nourish yourself – physically, emotionally and spiritually – that you begin to understand that you purpose starts with being. It really is that simple – just be and the rest follows.
    Much love to you precious one <3

    • Reply

      Sara

      October 27, 2017

      I’m so happy to know such wonderful Graves Warriors who share in this journey with me. Thank you so much Jane! It definitely isn’t easy. But I am truly grateful for all of the lessons that have come out of this experience. And for how well I now know myself (and how much I love myself). I’m happy that you’re finding the same goodness through your journey as well. <3
      Thank you for always sharing in this with me gorgeous! I'm so glad.

  2. Reply

    simplyoneden

    October 25, 2017

    This is so inspiring. Your raw account of your journey is breathtakingly beautiful. Cheering for you and reassessing my purpose as we speak thanks to your article 🙂

    • Reply

      Sara

      October 27, 2017

      Thank you so much for your kind words Jenn! I’m really appreciate the positive vibes you’re sending my way <3. I hope that you have fun looking inwards and learning more about all the wonderful things that make you you :).

  3. Reply

    ltebrinke

    October 25, 2017

    Very inspirational! Glad to see such good come out of your amazing journey!

    • Reply

      Sara

      October 27, 2017

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you <3. It certainly hasn't all been easy - but it's also taught me a lot about life and allowed me to develop a pretty wonderful relationship with myself. I wouldn't change it for the world. I hope your journey is full of goodness too!

  4. Reply

    hleguilloux

    October 25, 2017

    Beautiful post! I felt myself nodding the whole way through while I was reading. As a counsellor, I definitely encourage my clients to look within themselves and see the strengths and innate abilities they already possess but maybe are lost or forgotten along the way because life can be tough! I think for myself, my purpose is to support others, and this in turn helps me to remind myself of my own strengths and abilities. Thanks for the reminder!

    Heather | http://www.cookingwithessentialoils.ca

    • Reply

      Sara

      October 27, 2017

      Oh I am so glad to hear that Heather! It must be wonderful to help people find their way to a more self-loving place. I’m really glad they have your support and guidance! And that sounds like a pretty fantastic purpose. I’m really happy you found this helpful. Means a lot coming from you <3.

  5. Reply

    Cassie | White Sands and Cool Breezes

    October 25, 2017

    I love this so much. What a great way to think of your purpose, not external but internal!! I think my internal purpose is to continue to discover my uniqueness and hopefully encourage others to find and embrace theirs. Thanks!!

    • Reply

      Sara

      October 27, 2017

      That’s awesome Cassie! Your uniqueness is marvelous – there is absolutely no one youer than you after all! And I think that using that as a way to help others to feel more comfortable with their own individuality is pretty wonderful. It isn’t always easy to accept ourselves – but we’re all pretty uniquely fantastic. I’m happy that you’ve realized that about yourself! <3 You deserve it.

  6. Reply

    Dominika

    October 25, 2017

    This post spoke to me specifically. Lately I’ve been questioning myself if there was something more to my life. A Godly reason for my existence but thank God your post has helped me figure it out.

    http://dominikagoodness.blogspot.com.ng

    • Reply

      Sara

      October 27, 2017

      I’m so happy to hear that Dominika! Your person is simply to be yourself and embrace the wonderful you that you are. The rest will come. I hope you have a wonderful time looking internally and seeing all of the goodness within. Wishing you well!

  7. Reply

    cupcake1007

    October 25, 2017

    Such a fantastic post- love your road to self discovery. I also find it easy to define myself by outward goals. When I focus more on the impact of my life on those around me in my daily life, it helps me feel more satisfied than when I seek external fulfillment. Sorry you had to go through all that and hope slowing down has helped you manage your illness and feel better.

    • Reply

      Sara

      October 27, 2017

      Thank you so much Alex! I’m really glad that you enjoyed this. And happy that you know to look internally sometimes too. There’s lots of goodness in there!
      I really appreciate your kind words! I’m thankfully doing very well health wise. I will always have Graves Disease, but it’s in remission and things are looking very good (my doctors aren’t worried about a relapse in the near future). Learning to love myself wholeheartedly, feed myself with kindness and live well have been paramount to regaining my health (along with the help of a couple of wonderful doctors of course).
      Wishing you well! I hope you’re feeling wonderful too <3.

  8. Reply

    Mom

    October 27, 2017

    My darling daughter – your wisdom never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Your heart is three times the size it’s supposed to be.
    I love you
    Mom

    • Reply

      Sara

      October 27, 2017

      I love you mama. Thanks for giving me such a big heart! And always standing by my side and giving me the strength to stand up and venture forward (even when things aren’t easy). The gift I am most grateful for in this world is the fact that I get to be your daughter. <3

  9. Reply

    Viola

    October 28, 2017

    I love this! I have been on a journey to discover myself and my purpose for awhile. This has absolutely inspired me. Thank you Sara.

    • Reply

      Sara

      October 31, 2017

      I’m so happy to hear that Viola! I hope you have a wonderful time discovering all of the goodness you have inside of yourself. Wishing you well on your journey <3.

  10. Reply

    Lorna Holowaychuk

    October 29, 2017

    Thank you for sharing Your journey of self discovery and purpose. I am truly inspired.

  11. Reply

    Sara

    October 31, 2017

    You’re so sweet Lorna! Thank you. I’m really happy to hear that :). Wishing you well!

  12. Reply

    Emman Damian

    June 6, 2019

    This is such an inspiring post! Sometimes, it’s a struggle to find our purpose or wants in our life. I think we need to discover it.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it Emman! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I couldn’t agree more. And I think it’s so important that we realize that our purpose comes from within and is something we can nurture and take with us every where we go <3.

  13. Reply

    Cherishingflo

    June 6, 2019

    This is such an amazing and beautiful story! I agree that your purpose should come from within. If your purpose is surrounded by an outside source life can really get in the way of that. My purpose is about what message I want to put out and no matter what circumstance I am in, I will always be able to find a way to do that. Whether that be virtually, in person, or just in the lives of the people I love. This is an awesome article and very inspirational!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      Thank you so much for sharing that with us Flo! I think that’s a wonderful purpose. And such a beautiful way to share your light with the world. Keep on shining hun 🙂

  14. Reply

    Bill Sweeney

    June 6, 2019

    Your post is very inspirational! It’s great to see so many positives come out of your amazing journey!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      Aww thank you so much Bill! I’m really thankful I was able to find so many good things to take with me on this autoimmunity journey. I really appreciate your kind words 🙂

  15. Reply

    notquitesupermommn

    June 6, 2019

    I absolutely love your post. Re-framing the way we look at finding our purpose is truly an inspirational idea. You amazing me with your wise words, Ms. Sara! <3

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      You’re such a sweetheart Nicole! Thank you <3. I'm so grateful for you love and support. And always so inspired by the goodness you share too!

  16. Reply

    Maryann Auger | Mani Fitness

    June 6, 2019

    That was such a great blog post! It definitely gives a different perspective than what we’re used to. Your post made me think a lot and I’m sure will allow me to grow as a person. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing goodness!!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      I’m so glad to hear that Maryann! And so happy you enjoyed it. Your insight means a lot <3. Thank you! You make the world brighter 🙂

  17. Reply

    Jessie Synan

    June 6, 2019

    This was a great read. I love hearing how you handled encountering when life goes a completely different path. Saving this!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      I’m really glad to hear that Jessie! Thank you :). And thank you so much for your kind words. It means a lot ^^.

  18. Reply

    Erin Knight

    June 6, 2019

    I wholeheartely agree with everything you have said on this post. Finding a purpose is a process of self-discovery and it is great to accept who we are.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      Yes to all this goodness! It really is a process of self-discovery. And self-acceptance is such an important art of that :). Thank you for sharing that with us Erin! Such a great message <3

  19. Reply

    K from Kronicles

    June 7, 2019

    This post speaks to me! I just found what my purpose is this year and I have never been so motivated to live everyday!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      That’s so awesome to hear! Have fun following this path. And know that if it shifts and changes along the way that’s totally ok too :). Here’s to life’s adventure ^^

  20. Reply

    Ntensibe Edgar Michael

    June 7, 2019

    Hhhhmmmm….I am honestly ready to give it a go!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      I’m really glad to hear that Ntensibe! Here’s to self-discovery. Wishing you a wonderful time 🙂

  21. Reply

    Vanessa Delia

    June 7, 2019

    This is something I do have issues with. Posts like this remind me of how many others feel the same way, and that really helps.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      I’m really glad to hear that Vanessa! It’s always good to know that we aren’t alone. And I promise you absolutely aren’t in this. It’s totally ok to take time discovering your purpose or to feel like it shifts and changes as you go. Nothing needs to be set in stone. And, in all honesty, we’re all kind of making it up as we go. 🙂 Sending so much love your way hun. You’re doing awesome!

  22. Reply

    Rosey A

    June 8, 2019

    I do like the idea of rethinking the whole purpose thing. It makes sense to consider it’s in you always anyway.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      That’s awesome Rosey! I truly think so :). I hope you have fun looking at purpose from a different perspective!

  23. Reply

    Jessica Hughes

    June 8, 2019

    Such a powerful article! Really speaks to the soul and makes me rethink a lot of things!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      I’m really glad to hear that Jessica! Thank you! And I hope you have a wonderful time examining your purpose from a new, self-love inspired angle <3.

  24. Reply

    Lavern Moore

    June 8, 2019

    Theses are some interesting thoughts on purpose. It will encourage others.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      Thank you Lavern! I hope so :). I find that a self-love inspired perspective changes things in such a wonderful way <3. I hope it helps you too!

  25. Reply

    thenafranssen

    June 8, 2019

    Love this! Your purpose should come from within. I like that.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      That makes me so happy! Self-love always changes things for the better 🙂

  26. Reply

    Mom

    June 8, 2019

    This is beautifully put Sara and coming from the tender young age of 61 and looking back, it is advice I wish was shared when I was younger. Your readers are lucky to have your joy, as your mother, I am a million times blessed. Love you face Sunshine!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 2, 2019

      I’m a million times blessed to be your daughter <3. I love you too mama. Thank you for the constant inspiration, encouragement and support.

      I hope you know that you've always had a magnificent purpose. You inspire. You uplift. You make the world brighter. You are a guide, a teacher, a wonderful ear and an enlightening voice. And your creativity is marvelous. You bring so much to the world simply by being you. <3 There's tons of goodness to pull from!

Share your lovely thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Work With Me - Sponsor mshealthesteem.com
Hiya! I’m Sara

I’m a wellness writer, Graves Disease thriver and self-love advocate.

And I’m passionate about empowering you to prioritize self-care and love yourself fiercely.

Let’s have some fun!

Free Desserts <3