I love your writing, Alex (have followed for a long time) and there’s a lot of truth here. But for some of us (women in particular), our purpose has long been defined as “be of service to others” and “help others,” which ends up trapping us in subservient/subjugated roles. I know that’s not what you’re suggesting here — rather, it seems you’re suggesting that the navel-gazing/self-defining activities we do as a way to deal with anxiety/pain can lead us so deep into introspection and isolation that we increase our pain and anxiety. Essentially we trap ourselves in our own idea of ourselves, and then spin out in that little box for a long, long time. So this step of looking outward/helping others can be essential. However, for me, an essential step wasn’t thinking about how I could improve the lives of the people who matter to me. That’s what I’d been trained to do my whole life: be a good mother, sister, wife, friend, supporter. My step forward is realizing that I exist for my self, not for anyone else. My purpose is to be who I am, whether or not that pleases or supports those around me.
I think it all depends on where we are in the journey.
Thanks for a thought-provoking piece.