There are four words that make up one important question. I remember the challenge this presented to me and the way I was stunned for the moment. I was stunned because I lacked an answer.
The question is “What is your why?”
What is your why? As in, what is your reason or what is your purpose? What is it that gets you up and out of bed in the morning? What’s your drive?
When you hang your hat at the end of the day, what is your takeaway?
What do you want to leave behind? The initial question is “What is your why?” but the question is bigger than just one simple thing.
The other questions this leads to are simple, yet, the challenges they present were amazing to me.
The question itself is direct and to the point. And yet, suddenly, there was pressure on me like nothing I had ever felt before. I was on the spot and could hardly speak.
What is your why?
With all we’ve gone through in life and with all the battles we’ve faced, whether we faced them secretly or openly, and with all the stumbles and falls, the adversity, and for all the times we bled or sweat, and after all we have lived through in our lifetime, what do we want this to mean? Was this all for nothing? Or, is this what built us up to lead us to the here and now?
There is, of course, the reflection we see in the mirror each morning. No one else will ever see this reflection the same as we do. The question here is with all that we have and all that we are, what do we want this reflection to look like?
Do we want to see us as imperfect or do we want to be satisfied and pleased?
I have heard the question before. What is your why?
What is your purpose?
There are times when perhaps we might look around and wonder, “Is this it?”
Is this what I wake up for?
Is this as good as life gets?
There is in fact a core to us all.
Deep within everyone is a drive. There is a purpose. There is a yearning and an eagerness to be, breathe, live, love, laugh and learn. But yet, sometimes there are distractions that distort our views. There are roadblocks or problems and obstacles in the way.
There are memories of our mishaps and emotions that distract us. There are trained and subconscious biases that have destroyed our belief system as well as experiences that discourage us. Yet, at the same time, the answer to the questions have not changed.
What is it that you want to do with your life?
The question is simple. I know it is.
The question is simple but it seems as though the answers can be difficult.
The truth is the answers are only difficult because we complicate them. The truth is our dreams will always be our dreams. Hope will always be hope and desire will always be desire.
Beneath them all is the furnace. This is our drive. This is our fire. This is our vision, which can be daring to say the least because in the past, disappointment has doused the flames in our belief system. Disappointment has led us astray. This attachment has deviated us from our path. And still, the question remains the same.
What is your why?
My problem with this question is I had no answer. I didn’t know what my purpose was. I had no vision because for too long, I never dared or allowed myself a view beyond the basic, understandable world in front of me.
I forgot about the feelings of exhilaration. I forgot about the thrill of achieving something or to overcome without the thought of outside influences.
I never dared to look beyond me or my personal intimidations. I forfeited my dares to dream that me as I was, or that me with all my trained beliefs, faults and insecurity could be anything other than this, which was just me. I gave up. I never dared to take the challenges to live the way I chose. I never chose to love the way I wanted to or to laugh and to learn about the life I’ve always dreamed of.
I often write to you about the different aspects of mental health. We’ve shared a lot about ourselves together. Trust me, we have.
Even if this is strange to say because in fact, perhaps neither of us actually say anything. After all, this is just the written word; and yet, I challenge that idea because since this is written from the heart, you have read this with your heart. And since this is true (or at least I hope this is true) then you and I have talked about our lives together.
Even if this only happened in our mind, we share things with one another. We’ve uncovered truths. And this is raw because some of our truths are often uncomfortable. Sometimes this reveals more than we’d like to admit.
Sometimes, we are stuck with the rawness of emotions and the sting of truth. Often, we recollect the pains from our past. We uncover our past rejections (or so-called rejections) and we find us behind the eyes.
I say we find ourselves behind the eyes as if to mean that we see our inner truth. This is something that no one else can see. No one else can truly see our hopes or dreams, our desires, or aspirations, nor can anyone else see our vision of what we want our life to look like.
There is this thing we commonly face on a daily basis.
This is life. Good or bad, ready or not, here it comes. Time moves and yet we all know this. We can’t feel the earth turning. We only know that it does.
We know that the clock never stops. No matter how much we want it to sometimes, the seconds are always ticking. There are times when the clock can’t move fast enough. There are times when all we want the clock to do is stop, at least for a minute, except time has no mercy either way.
We have talked a lot about our mental health. But what does this mean?
What is mental health? The simplest answer is mental health is our range of ability to live, love, laugh and learn. Anything that affects this will affect our mental health.
There are times when athletes train. There are times when weightlifters feel the burn in their muscles. There are times when it seems like we are running a race and yet, our legs are weak and so is our spirit. This is our fitness. This is our ability. This is where we need our endurance the most.
The only source of fuel we have is to understand that beyond the hurdle is the other side. Beyond the pain and through the struggles is the victory of understanding. This is where we find personal enlightenment.
On the other side of depression is the success that we have lived through so much together. You and me. We did this. And we never quit.
Even if we think we quit, the truth is we never did because we are both still here.
The only fuel I have is my reasons why I continue. The only source I have to keep my sense of endurance which helps me outlast my doubts is my purpose. Those things don’t have the energy I do (unless I feed them).
I used to hold this challenge because I wanted to succeed where others said I would fail. I used to keep going to defy the people that believed I would quit or give up and walk away. I used this as fuel but in a sense this energy was draining and left me empty.
My purpose has nothing to do with anyone else. My hopes and my dreams are not hinged upon anyone else’s approval. Plus, no one else will lose sleep if I allow myself to quit or continue.
My purpose has everything to do with me. And the voices and the internal narrative, the self-doubt and self-talk are all on me. Everything and everyone else is only a distraction.
What’s my why?
The reason I get up is because there was a time that I never believed I could last this long.
My “Why?” is because I have dreams I want to see come true.
I want to reach them. I want to leave something behind that says I was here and through it all, with all that I have, all I’ve done, and all that I am, I pushed and pulled and dug in deep to make my way through.
What’s my why?
It’s to live.
I say this quite simply because there was a time when I didn’t think I could live another day, let alone another minute. There was an afternoon on the floor in the bathroom that I was supposed to die. And this wasn’t for a lack of trying. I was supposed to die by my own hand.
But I didn’t. There has to be a reason for this.
There has to be a “Why?”
My job for the rest of my life is to learn as much as I can about this because this is my purpose.
Oh, and confidentially, so are you!