Growing up in a sleepy fishing village on the south coast of Cornwall, I found myself reading ‘Teach Yourself Yoga’ books, whilst my friends around me were reading the latest teen magazines.
I’ve no idea what drew me to yoga, but something woke inside of me, and I found myself on a quest.
I didn’t have the language for this quest I embarked on, but it ignited within an insatiable desire for knowledge.
I found myself seeking.
Asking questions about life, and my purpose in life.
I’d heard the term ‘soul purpose’, and it resonated within me.
I wanted to know my soul purpose.
I created this idea that once I knew what my soul purpose was, everything in my life would make sense, and everything would fall into place.
I didn’t know what that ‘place’ was, or looked like, but I knew I’d arrive there once I knew my soul purpose.
I searched for books (these were the days before Amazon!).
I read the books.
I attended classes.
Took more personality profiles than I can remember.
And still I kept searching for more.
I was searching for meaning, and that meaning for me looked like a quest to find my soul purpose – whatever that actually was…
For years, well more like decades, I read, attended courses, had healings, trained in modalities.
And carried on seeking for my elusive soul purpose.
What was my purpose in life?
What was I here to do and contribute?
I kept seeking.
Each time I learnt something new, uncovered a bit more about my personality profile, astrological chart, Human Design… I thought ‘Yes, this is it! This is who I am and what I’m meant to do.’
It felt great!
Until it didn’t.
What felt great initially, started to wear off.
It wasn’t quite right.
Something was ‘missing’, so off I’d go again in search of the next thing, in search of that one ‘missing’ part.
Now of course, all of these things were valuable to me.
Fascinating in their own right.
And each piece useful in learning more about myself.
But it wasn’t filling the hole I was trying to fill with my seeking.
Then one day, BOOM!
It hit me.
I’m not sure what or why, but I had the realisation that my seeking wasn’t me following the ‘spiritual’ path.
It wasn’t me being virtuous on a quest to know myself fully.
It was me avoiding living my life fully.
I’d been seeking for my soul purpose as if it was a job title.
But in fact, what I’d been searching for was permission to be me.
Each book I’d read, training I’d attended, or reading that I’d had done, I wanted it to confirm what I wanted. I wanted it to validate who I was, I wanted to know I was ‘right’ in my interests, dreams, and desires.
I’d been looking for external validation of who I was and what I wanted to do, as I’d been too afraid to give that same permission to myself.
If it was ‘written in the stars’, well it couldn’t be my ‘fault’, it was just destined to be that way.
If it was in my birth chart, my personality profile, or Human Design, how could I be ‘blamed’ for following a particular path?
When we grow up, we often find ourselves trying to fit in.
We subconsciously find ourselves asking ‘Who do I need to be to fit in or to be loved’ within this family/situation/group of people?’
And because I wasn’t directly asking other people, I didn’t realise I’d still fallen into this pattern.
I wasn’t asking people, but I was still looking outside of myself.
A couple of times people would say to me ‘all the answers are within’, and I’d roll my eyes, smile politely, and go seeking elsewhere.
Annoyingly, it was true.
All of those years of seeking, and the answers had been within.
Deep down, I did know who I was and what my life purpose was, but it had been buried under more than enough life events to keep it from being seen clearly by me.
Then that one day, I realised that I’d been hiding the truth from myself.
I’d been pretending I didn’t know the answers to the questions I’d been seeking.
Because if I did know.
Because if I stopped pretending.
Then I’d have to make changes.
I’d have to do what I knew to be true and stop doing what other people expected of me.
I’d have to disappoint other people and prioritise myself.
I’d have to let other people down, so I could focus on me.
I’d have to say ‘No’ to others, so I could say ‘Yes’ to me.
Now being British I’m all too familiar with ‘Being too big for your boots’, and the feeling of ‘Who does she think she is to put herself first?’.
Unfortunately, it’s not unique to us here in the UK.
In Australia they have ‘tall poppy syndrome, and in the USA I believe the term is ‘being too big for your britches’. And no doubt there are similar phrases all over the world.
The result being that when you realise that you do know what you want or need to do, it is way easier to pretend that you don’t.
At least on the surface, and in the short-term, it feels easier.
But actually, to betray yourself, your needs, and desires, is in fact the harder option in the end…
You have to give yourself permission to disappoint others, to let them down, to say no to their ideas and dreams for you, so that you can:
- Say ‘Yes’ to your own dreams and desires.
- Say ‘Yes’ to knowing who you are and what you want from life.
- Say ‘Yes’ to loving yourself first.
- Say ‘Yes’ to living a life that you love.
Because when you don’t, when you hide, and pretend that you don’t know who you are and what you want from life, that leads to disappointment, disloyalty, heartache, anger and resentment from yourself, directed towards yourself.
You learn not to trust yourself.
You dismiss your feelings, insights, and dreams.
You become a shell of who you are here to be.
And that’s no fun for anyone!
PS. You might wonder what my big realisation was….
I simply realised that my soul purpose in life, was the same as yours, the same as I believe everyone’s is…
And that’s to be more of ourselves.
I’d spent all those years looking for someone else to tell me who I was, what my purpose in life was. When all the time it had simply been looking for permission to be more of myself.
I’d been seeking permission to be me.
No finished article, no job title, no destination. Just the beautifully messy, perfectly imperfect, unfolding, unravelling, unfurling process of being more me.