Living a purposeful life means living the life you want for yourself and not just the life you are expected to have. In order to live a purposeful life it’s important to establish a personal belief system (whether that is derived from a religion, philosophy or something else) and to use those values to make choices in life. Some people already know what their belief system is, others may need to do some searching.
It is a very handy exercise to complete if you are thinking about getting married because your personal belief system governs every aspect of your life choices and learning what your beliefs and your future spouses beliefs are, how they differ and how they are the same is important to understand before deciding to jump into something as huge and wonderful as marriage. My husband and I did this before me were married and it was a great way to get to know each other on a deeper level and it also helped us understand that we had similar visions for our life together, which is a wonderful thing to remember when you’re angry with each other.
How to discover your personal belief system:
- Join a religion- Please don’t stop reading! Seriously, most religions already have a belief system established so it makes sense to research them and find out if any of them fit in with the belief you already have. If you’re like me though, and like some parts of some religions but can’t put your whole heart into any of them then read on…
- Borrow from religion (and philosophy and smart people you’ve met and interesting things that Hollywood writers have created). Wherever your inspiration comes from keep an open mind and a mild skepticism.
- Start from scratch. We all have beliefs, wherever they came from (and they don’t have to come from religion at all). Start by writing down things you believe and then think about 1.) why you believe those things, 2.) where those beliefs came from and 3.) whether they are beliefs you would like to hold onto. Some examples of things you might believe to get you started:
- There is/isn’t a god
- It’s bad to steal from others
- It’s good to help others
- There is a reason for everything
- Things happen randomly
Discovering your belief system takes time and is probably never really finished. Everyday I find flaws in my logic or new things I hadn’t thought about but that I need to consider. Living Purposefully is living according to those beliefs, not just letting life happen but being actively involved in where your life takes you.
Here is an example from my life. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Therefore, when something disappointing happens like I don’t get a job that I wanted, instead of wallowing (OK, I wallow a little) I remind myself that there is a reason I didn’t get it. Maybe I would have hated it, or it would have paid badly, whatever the reason it is not where I am supposed to be at that moment. In essence it can be looked at as a blessing because I avoided a possibly unhappy situation and am available for the right opportunity when it does come along.