Finding Purpose in Struggle

What is purpose? Many people can give a certain answer right away but for me, it took me time to understand the purpose of my life. Many people may confuse one’s purpose with passion but they have very distinct differences. A purpose is more or less like your destiny, an eternal place you wish to be and live that makes sense with everything you do. But a passion is similar to an emotion that somehow leads you to purpose. Many people find their passion but they miss their purpose for that passion. So something drives or leads them every day but when they don’t have any idea where they are heading towards, they often find themselves in the state of boredom and frustration. 

Image by Giani Pralea from Pixabay

Victor Frankl gives light to this by narrating how more people were dying near New Year’s time at the concentration camp during the Holocaust. These people had a purpose in their life thinking they will soon meet their family in time for New Year’s. But they lost their purpose when there was no good news about going back in New Year and saw no point for their passion to continue living. When you don’t hold on to the purpose of life, it feels monotonous and passion seems wasteful.

 “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

For me, if a person finds their purpose they can find passion in even the most torturous circumstances like Victor Frankl and the prisoners in the concentration camp. I still need to find my passion but I know that at this point in my life I have understood my purpose. The purpose and goal for my life has been changing this year as I am beginning to plan my career ahead. Something I have noticed about myself is that every time I have my breakdown of emotions and fears are all around me, I could get through them easily when I give myself a challenge or a purpose to fulfill. The feeling that something still needs to be fixed and that something still needs to be achieved made me strong enough to overrule my fears, boredom and frustration. Those fears seemed meaningless. They now became warm and beautiful rather than being horrible and scary. 

For me, my purpose is always related to my family. I always wanted to make my family proud and happy whenever I recall a time when we were facing a huge economic crisis. During that season, I started to yearn for the time when I did not know about their situation thinking it was more peaceful and beautiful. I started to get frustrated over anything life had to offer. I was not living each moment but grieving over the peaceful mindset I had before knowing about my family’s situation. I felt everything around me has changed and everything was so stressful and full of struggle. I started to feel that my life was unfair in comparing it with my friends.                                                    

“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such is the meaning of a sacrifice.” – Viktor Frankl

This phrase helped me understand my suffering since I could see the reason behind it. Finally, I realized that I could change our struggle to something purposeful and meaningful. I felt I was blinded by the emotion of unfairness that I could not see the little sunshine in my life. This made me appreciate the little things that came to my path. When I understood that my struggle is meaningful, I could understand my life and my struggle from a very positive perspective. It made me appreciate the little things that brought happiness to me.

Image by Ashlesh Kshatri from Pixabay

Being a Hindu, I can relate with the concept of purpose in life more personally and spiritually since we have a very similar concept that is धर्म (Dharma). This is an order of the universe that rules it and includes life’s duties, rights, conduct and virtue and a way of living. Fulfilling this Dharma is the purpose of our life as a Hindu, which will surpass our suffering and end samsara; the cycle of life and death (reincarnation). One can find a difficult situation but one shall always act on their Dharma. This simple concept is to follow your Dharma in order to end your suffering and continue to reunite with the common soul and universe once again.

It’s okay to struggle and have complications. Our situation cannot be controlled by us but like Victor Frankl mentioned we can control our way of interpreting it and our way of acting out at that moment of struggle and circumstances. In a situation where I was not able to control my surroundings, I was able to control how I felt about it. People may have many struggles and troubles and there are days where I feel so broken inside. But that does not make me lose my purpose since I have taught myself to give meaning to my struggle.

Published on: December 2, 2019
Written by Diwa Ghimire, a WYA Headquarters intern from Nepal

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