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Not knowing our purpose in life can be so overwhelming, stressful and painful that it can contribute to our addictions and mental health issues. We feel pressure to succeed and to make a name for ourselves. We want desperately to be perceived as good enough. We’re battling insecurity, feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. We don’t feel as though we have anything to contribute to the world, or anything to offer of ourselves. We see ourselves as failures, and we don’t recognize our own worth. When we’re down on ourselves, we’re trying to dig through layers of toxic emotions which can make it even harder to unearth our purpose. Not knowing what we’re meant to do and why we’re here can be painful. It makes us feel empty, alone and unfulfilled. We can feel like we’re in competition with other people and don’t measure up because we haven’t found our purpose yet. What are some steps we can take to help ourselves find our purpose?

One element of self-discovery is exploration. We think we should have everything figured out by a certain age, but the truth is we often haven’t yet given ourselves the time or space we need to explore. We haven’t committed any energy to exploring what we love in life, who we are, what we’re good at, what our talents and passions are. We feel unfulfilled often because we haven’t yet started the process of self-exploration. This process can be daunting, so much so that we avoid it at all costs. We distract ourselves with television and social media. We numb ourselves and self-medicate with our addictive substances and behaviors. We use escapism, denial and avoidance to separate ourselves as much as we can from our inner selves, because facing ourselves can be so emotionally challenging. We’re afraid of feeling our difficult emotions, and this fear keeps us from finding our purpose until we muster the courage to face ourselves and our truth. When we are able to do this, we open ourselves to the self-exploration necessary to find ourselves and our purpose.

Let’s ask ourselves some questions to help ourselves unearth the deeper meaning in our lives. Who am I, and what do I love about life? What do I love to do? What are my unique strengths, gifts and talents? What did I enjoy about life before addiction took hold and dominated my time and energy? What do I have to offer the world and myself? What dreams and goals do I have that I’ve been neglecting, avoiding and suppressing?

Recovering from our addictions means committing time to finding our purpose. Without understanding ourselves and what we’re meant to do in this lifetime, we may always struggle to feel fulfilled and satisfied in our lives. We might never feel at peace within ourselves. Finding our purpose is an important part of our healing because without it we aren’t truly connected to ourselves.

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you heal the issues contributing to your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.