Having a purpose gives our life value
Before my run yesterday, I was looking forward to getting outside and looking at the colors of the autumn leaves and enjoying time with my girlfriend. After a couple of miles, my environment became the beautiful background while a purpose materialized: To drive myself forward, head up, until the trail ended. I felt good for getting through the hilly terrain and accomplishing my goal.
Happiness requires acceptance first, purpose second
At one point, I wanted to stop running, but I pressed on and finished. The idea of stopping was resistance coming from my mind. One of the most pleasurable feelings in my life is when I push through resistance. However, if I had stopped, I would have accepted it, because I accept myself. Happiness starts with accepting yourself. If our value was defined by things outside of ourselves, we would need other people to be happy, and society’s standards for our values. As I ran the trail, I knew my value without the trail telling me or comparing myself to other runners.
Accepting ourselves is not enough to be happy, because we need a purpose
Accepting ourselves is not enough to be happy, because it is a human trait to want to accomplish something. Paradoxically, a person becomes a Buddhist monk when he learns it is human neediness that makes everyone unhappy, but when he becomes a monk, he tries to eliminate all of the mind’s needs expect for one: the need for happiness. He continues searching in an effort to be happy because he wants to grow as a person. Even a Buddhist monk knows we cannot stop striving.
Purpose is about doing something valuable
So we all must grow and learn from the foundation of acceptance of ourselves. Running faster and farther, learning how a cell phone works or a car runs, writing a story, or being a good friend, parent, or lover requires us to accept who we are and set goals to grow. John C. Maxwell said:
“We cannot achieve our wildest dreams by remaining who we are.”
Who do you want to be?