Ive realized recently that many of my peers are asking themselves the question of why they exist. What purpose do they have on this earth as an individual?
I’d like to preface by mentioning that I have done no in-depth research on this subject. There are many communities online that delve deep into this subject from multiple different perspectives. I am only sharing my personal opinion.
Many people find this stand-point depressing, but I feel that there is no real ultimate purpose for an individual’s existence. In my studies of anatomy, physiology, chemistry, biology, and psychology, it seems to me that humans are a combination of different levels of structuring. Temperament, which is a huge part of a person’s personality, is shown to be highly influenced by genetics over environment. A person’s thoughts and impulses are caused by electrical impulses or chemical reactions. Of course, a human’s personality and individuality hasn’t been 100% explained up to this point.
The idea that an individual doesn’t have a unique purpose determined by an outside force, to me, is freeing. I enjoy the idea that no other outside divine being or influence has a say in how I am to conduct my life. It allows me to determine how large or how small I wish for my impact to be, if any.
I don’t expect myself to have an impact on anything in any particular way, really. I don’t need to save someone from suicide. I don’t need to help millions of people who are starving over seas. Would it be great to? Yes, and I do try to help when the opportunity presents itself. Do I think less of myself for not starting my own organization to improve the lives of a large group? No. Actually, it’s quite a lot of pressure to put on someone, or even just yourself.
If someone is putting themselves under that much pressure, its understandable why someone could give themselves a panic attack or suffer from severe depression. There is just no way to expect yourself to impact everyone.
This is especially evident when trying to change the mind of a specific target. You can spend all day explaining to a person why you think their ideals are wrong, but if they’re confident that they are right, it’s extremely unlikely for you to get through to them.
Instead of focusing on what I should be doing or what my purpose is, I focus on what I know that I can do. I know that I can clean up after myself, so my roommates don’t have to worry about my messes. I know that I can ask my friends to hang out sometimes, so we can have some fun together. I know that I can study diligently, so I can become a nurse who does their job well and properly.
I’m aware that these are all very small ambitions, but that’s the point. If I was trying to live up to some grand purpose, it would be difficult to appreciate myself for what I am able to do. All the small accomplishments just wouldn’t be good enough. I wouldn’t be satisfied with myself because I can never reach and idea of myself that is impossible.