Karl Jung considered most people living an externally focused life during the first 4 decades of life. Learning, developing skills, building a life, starting a family, buying houses, cars and stuff. All important to create security, direction and growth. However, around the age of 40 new questions arise: why am I doing all this, what is the point or what is the meaning, who am I, what is important to me, what are my values? Introspection becomes more important and people are changing their life’s focus and start living more in tune with their values and their true nature.
Sometimes it is approaching retirement, which sparks off these questions. Looking back at work achievements with a lack of satisfaction or fulfilment or at last having time, while moving from a life of obligation to a life of inspiration.
During nearly two decades of working as a psychotherapist, I know that people who have faced serious challenges in early life (bereavements, dysfunctional upbringing, traumas, etc) often struggle with similar feelings. Feelings like ‘I am not good enough’ and ‘I am unlovable’, which facilitate unfulfilling and abusive relationships.
When you think you are not enough just the way you are, it seems important to justify your existence by working hard, focusing on making others happy and putting yourself in the background. It is a way of surviving, but it blocks thriving and feeling completely happy.
And then, earlier or later in life, the question arises: what is the meaning of all this? Why am I here? Surely not just to make up for the fact that I am not good enough?
The quest begins and the answer is in a personal mission statement.
My personal quest
(I grew up in a dysfunctional family and my mother didn’t really want me. I lived my life trying to please her in order to get some love back. To no avail.)
When I was younger I thought I knew why I was on this planet. I wanted to help people. That was a nice thought, widely accepted and I became a nurse. Which is definitely a way of helping people. But soon I discovered that it didn’t suit my personality. My blueprint doesn’t fit what goes with the profession of nursing. It was very difficult for me to be part of a formal and rigid system and there were lots of elements of the real me, that I couldn’t express in the profession. I can see that now, but at that time I just felt lost and disappointed. I left nursing as it felt the right thing to do, but I wasn’t quite sure what exactly wasn’t right.
Even though ‘helping people’ was my purpose, I couldn’t make that happen as a nurse. Because of my personal make-up.
I then went to university. I am a bit of a nerd, love learning stuff and getting my teeth into something that requires thinking. I studied external communication, languages and psychological processes when using language. Loved it, but there was no link to ‘helping people’.
After my PhD, I got sucked into the corporate world, enjoyed it but knew that this was never going to be my end station. I still wanted to help people and I didn’t perceive writing press releases and organising events fitted that bill. I remember a voice in my head saying: ‘You are learning, you are developing skills that will help you when you change when you are 42. Not sure where the 42 came from…. But when I reached 42 I was a psychotherapist, helping clients and teaching counselling students.
I kept on learning about self-sabotage, confidence, internal dialogues, anxiety and more. And how to deal with these challenges and make changes, supporting well-being and happiness. Reading and learning, combined with my creativity resulted in designing effective coaching programmes and writing blogs, courses and even a book.
I now know that I want to help people by making them think. This is in alignment with my personality and my gifts of being an original creative thinker and having the ability to translate my thoughts in a way that makes them easily accessible and understandable.
Knowing myself and why I was here was a brilliant discovery. I summarized it in my personal mission statement, which informs how I deal with people around me, situations and how I make choices. It has made my life more fulfilling and clear.
Mariette Jansen Mission statement
I am here to learn, grow and develop myself each day and become wiser, more authentic and independent of others and more true to myself in order to empower others to get to know themselves, become emotionally independent of others and live more true to themselves.
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