So, ever since I could remember I had always felt the reason why we’re all here on this planet is to find our purpose or passion. And with that purpose, there would be fuel within yourself to conquer your hour, day, month, year, lifetime. With that energy, you would be able to share your passion with people or help people because of this purpose.
I think that because I thought this, my whole life has been about chasing this purpose. Every day I would ask myself, “Why am I here?” or “What the fuck is my purpose?” and “What am I even good at? And how do I become great at it?” And now, as a 24-year-old college drop out, there’s not an hour that goes by where those questions don’t start circulating inside of my brain. It fuels my depression and anxiety.
When I was in college, I changed my major four times. If I was still in college, it would have been changed probably another two times. I know that sounds insane, but whenever I would go to class and I would see how passionate and how great other students were around me. I couldn’t help but feel so out-of-place. I wasn’t truly passionate about anything I was trying to pursue, so I dropped out.
One day I was working on some projects on my laptop in Barnes & Nobles when I noticed the word: ikigai. When I looked it up, I understood that the word had roots in Okinawa and literally translates to “a reason to get up in the morning”; that is iki (to live) and gai (reason). The idea behind ikigai is to find the purpose to “wake up with joy” every day.
The more I thought about this, the more I felt pressured to find that “reason to get up in the morning”; the purpose. That is, until now. As I lay in my room at 2:58 am listening to Vance Joy, I realize that this purpose is not something attainable, like a dream job or straight A’s. It’s not even an emotion, like love. It’s truly me, myself, and I. I am the reason and purpose that I get up in the morning.
We, as a society, have to stop putting pressure on ourselves to find that perfect job and to find that soulmate. We need to focus on loving ourselves, knowing our worth, and trusting the process. I feel that when you practice self-care, all of those things like a perfect job and a soulmate will fall right into place. Be your own ikigai. Be the reason why you live to wake up. Wake up happy, confident, and proud to be you. When you’re able to do that confidently, everything else will fall into place and you’ll find other reasons for your ikigai.
So tell me, do you struggle with self-love? I know that struggle is so real for me. How do you cope with it? Do you have an ikigai besides yourself?