Purpose

I am sure it doesn’t just happen to me. Other people must think the same questions that seem to come out of the blue, in idle moments, and shock you.

Mostly it’s:

‘what is the point of all this?’

‘What does it all mean anyway?’

‘Isn’t it just a waste of time, we are all going to die anyway?’

Maybe that last one is just my own darkness, but it drives me to find the purpose in my actions. It drives me to take the things that I do daily and connect with them with a greater purpose outside of myself, otherwise I would just stop doing the little things that I consider important. (Although these questions can help you re-define what is considered ‘important’).

As I have refined my thinking over the last few years, each time these questions come, I add a little more to my philosophical outlook on life and create more of my purpose.

Historically, my purpose is to “speak words that bring life”. It has been for 15 years. But what else, what does that actually mean?

Lately my thinking has been along the lines of “creating a better world through creating better people”.

This isn’t the final edit though. There is more refining to come, but the theme is clear. I find my purpose in bringing life and growth. I find my purpose in giving. I find my purpose in generosity.

I don’t have the language nailed yet, but aren’t we all just a work in progress?

The Generosity of Perspective

We know that other people see things differently from us. There are many different opinions about food, weather, raising children, pets, politics, movies, clothes, ice cream – everything.

We have no control over someone else’s perspective on life. We are unable to change their perspective, not matter how much we might want to.

What we do have control over is how we respond to their perspective and opinion.

We can do this well by asking one question – where do my own opinions come from?

As we begin to unpack that question and realise that our perspectives and opinions grow out of every single life experience we have ever had, then we can start to understand a little of how someone else can be so different from us. Their life journey has taken them down different paths, they have different values, they see things through different filters.

What is more challenging is when someone we know shares many of the same opinions that we do, except for one or two major issues in life. This can lead to strained relationships because ‘how can someone that is so much like me, think like this?’.

Someone once told me that the best way to approach marriage is to find the most optimistic reason why your spouse does the things that they do. In doing so, you don’t end up creating a mystical, negative narrative about someone you love, and it gives you the opportunity to discover more about them. This philosophy is not just for marriage relationships – it is helpful for all human interaction.

Just because people think or behave (or vote) differently to us, it doesn’t mean that they are evil, it means we don’t understand them yet.

We don’t have to agree with someone’s opinion to understand them.

The Dangers of Honesty

There is an old saying,

“Do not cast your pearls before swine.”

For the longest time I didn’t understand it, as I tried to imagine what pigs would do with a bunch of pearls. Until one day I opened up to someone about an emotional challenge that I had, and they threw it back in my face.

It was in that moment that I realised I had given someone one of the most precious things that I had, part of myself, and they treated it like scraps. They stomped all over it and eventually consumed it, spat it back out and then consumed it again (that’s what it felt like anyway). As I witnessed this take place, horrified, I realised that this person mistreated my treasure, not because they wanted to but because they couldn’t treat it any other way. They simply didn’t know how to. Just like pigs would treat pearls.

I quickly learned who I could trust with that which was most precious to me, and who I couldn’t.

Honesty and transparency can be gifts of great worth that we give to other people, but not everyone will treat them with the respect and care that they require. So we need to be cautious with who we give these gifts to, or be confident enough in ourselves and our own worth, that it won’t matter how people respond to being presented with this treasure.

Generosity is risky. It is dangerous. But the depth of relationship and intimacy that can be created through honesty and transparency are worth taking the risks and facing the dangers.