Break out into a sweat when people innocently ask you what your life purpose is? Feel like there is something wrong with you because you are directionless? What should you do when you don’t have a clue?

1. Stop judging yourself.

There is nothing wrong with feeling directionless, and it’s a lot more common than you might think. Yes, even those people who secretly seem all together, aren’t. They are just doing their best attempt to look that way.

If we didn’t sometimes feel lost, we would never take the time to consider what it is we really wanted or how we might surprise ourselves. Sometimes we need to lose our bearings to start looking for a new way forward.

2. Drop the comparison.

Speaking of those people around you whom you are convinced are far more together, driven, and purposeful than you.

Stop comparing yourself to them.

If you can’t stop the comparison game, try the fine art of comparing down instead of up. It’s okay to sometimes notice how you are doing better than others. That you you at least have friends you can trust, or a job that you don't mind. It is good to feel grateful, and is a chance to have empathy.

A research study on how we compare ourselves using social media found that downwards comparison leaves our self-esteem intact compared to the more damaging upwards version.

3. Get to know a very interesting person.

That interesting person is you.

Often when we feel like we have no life purpose it’s because somewhere along the line we stopped being ourselves, or even knowing who we are at all.

This can come from an upbringing with a family where parents only loved us if we matched their idea of a ‘good child’. We learned to suppress the rest.

Or it can come from childhood trauma and neglect, where we learned to be what others want as a way to make ourselves invisible and avoid further trauma.

Try things like journalling, art, and creativity. Go for walks with no set destination and notice what you see that interests you. Join a group or a class that you think you might like. If you realise you don’t like it, then just move on to something else. You are allowed to change your mind.

4. Figure out your values.

A great way to get to know yourself and figure out what things in life might work for you is to hone in on what’s called your personal values.

These are the things that deep down you would fight for. They aren’t what your family says is important, or your friends, or even your partner. They are, again, personal.

Try asking yourself these questions.

  • If the world was going to end in one year, how would I spend my time?
  • Or if I won the lottery, what would I do with my time and energy?
  • On my death bed, looking back, what will I be most proud of?
  • What does all this teach me about what I value?

5. Be open to the idea of not having a single purpose.

Yes, there has been a big focus on ‘finding your life purpose!’ lately. And yes, it might sell self help books.

But the idea we are all here with an exact purpose is just that. An idea. Perhaps you have many purposes. Or your purpose is just to try many things. Or you’ll find the one thing that really works for you later in life.

6. Keep moving, one step at a time.

Action matters more than destination.

We can always take the ‘wrong’ road, then double back. It's rarely wrong anyway, as we learn things that we take on the journey. But if we just sit down and do nothing because we can’t decide, we’ll go nowhere and learn nothing.

Make small goals in line with your values and get out there and meet people who share your interests.

By taking small action steps and connecting with people and activities you like, you will discover more about yourself and keep moving forward.

What type of talk therapy can help me feel purposeful?

They all do, really, because all types of talk therapy help you figure out what matters to you.

But if you want a therapy that focuses on the issue, try existential therapy, which helps you find a sense of meaning, or transpersonal therapy, that helps you find your place in the world.

Really can't figure yourself out? Therapy helps. Use our easy booking tool now to find a therapist you like and start talking.

Need an Appointment ASAP?

Here's who's next available...

See other available therapists ›
Are you a therapist?
Apply to be on the platform  ›