When I was 22 and fresh out of college, I lived on a really loud, busy street. I’d wake up every morning to the sound of cars racing by. But then, I loved city noise—craved it, even. It was comforting in a way. As though it was the perfect distraction to muffle my negative thoughts about myself. Thoughts that I wasn’t enough or I would never be who I wished to be.
I can’t even count the number of destructive things I’ve done in my life or the situations I’ve put myself in out of fear and lack of self-worth. Like the time I did a coffee enema to lose weight and wound up in the hospital, or the time I stayed in a job for years even though I was miserable. Terrified I couldn’t do better and afraid of failing, I worked without direction, purpose, or joy. Yes, I was making money, but, on some days, it felt as though I’d forgotten how to smile. There were also countless times I dated wealthy men, just because they had money, because deep down I didn’t believe that I could ever really take care of myself or that anyone would love me—I mean, really love me.
For years I sought external gratification to find meaning in my life (for instance, buying clothes I couldn’t afford). And I pursued things because I felt I should and it was the right thing to do, even though my heart was screaming for something different. I was so lost. But I can remember my revelation clearly. I was a waitress at a fancy sushi restaurant, standing in my black uniform and all I could think was anywhere but here. Anyone but me.
Then it hit me. All this time I’d felt that I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted or what direction I needed to go in. Yet some part of me knew well enough to admit to myself that my current situation wasn’t right. I realized that nothing can exist without its opposite—for every up, there’s a down. And therefore, every bad thing also comes with some good. If I was having such adverse reactions to my life, then there must be some light at the end of the tunnel I’d find my way to. Some deeper part of me had an inkling of what my soul was searching for—and it was up to me to discover what it was.
Then suddenly, standing with a tray full of martinis, I felt more alive than I ever had. My job wasn’t being a waitress. My job was to discover what my purpose was! To find what brought me joy and would make me want to fall to my knees in gratitude. I felt excited to discover it all. I wasn’t fixated on what it would look like or how it would come—I just knew it was out there, waiting for me to find it.
From that point on, everything else just felt easier. My job wasn’t so miserable, my skin didn’t look so bad, and come to think of it, I even looked pretty good in those jeans.
And it’s from this place of discovery I write to you now, in my quiet, softly lit apartment on a quaint little street. Remembering those loud screeching noises outside my window years ago, I think about how I welcome silence—and how far I’ve come since. My greatest wish is that you, too, discover how to tune into your potential and tune out the negative stuff that no longer serves you, and gets in your way. I wish for you to discover your purpose, and joy, and yourself. Here are three simple steps I’ve learned along the way to help inspire you.
Even if you don’t know what that purpose is, know that it’s there and that all roads lead to it. Everyone has one. The first step to finding it is to acknowledge that you wish to discover what it is.
Before bed, when everything is quiet, ask yourself this question: What is my purpose? Don’t expect to hear an answer. Just know that, in my experience, the more you seek something, the more answers pop up in your life, even if in subtle ways. Whether you hear something on the radio that lights you up inside, or read a passage from a book or magazine that jumps out at you to the point where you want to rip out the page—the point is, pay attention. Take the time to ask yourself the question and stay open to what inspires you.
This is the most important of the three, because the hardest thing in life is keeping commitments. But make the commitment to discover your purpose, every day. It only takes a moment, but those moments add up over time. And the next thing you know, you might be a walking, talking advertisement for happiness.
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Kit Rich is Los Angeles-based fitness trainer with endless exercise and nutritional know-how. Hollywood’s hottest stars are addicted to Kit’s unique, multi-disciplined approach that combines cardio, yoga, Pilates, and weight training. Kit’s clients are immediately taken by her funny and honest approach to health and fitness. She treats her clients as she treats herself, “with a hard challenge, sensibility, sensitively, and a good laugh.” Follow Kit on Twitter @kitrichfitness.