In 2020, Find Your Life’s Purpose (the japanese way)

    —
January 16, 2020

Why do you get up every morning? What motivates you to get out of bed every day? In Japan there is a term to describe our reason for living or being: ikigai

 

We all have an ikigai, even if we don’t know it. 

 

In fact, the search for an ikigai is what will bring large doses of satisfaction and self-fulfillment because when you connect with your ikigai, your life will acquire a meaning. Often we live a life that is full of appearances, possessions that appear to speak for who we are, jobs that provide much prestige but that we don’t enjoy, inherited stereotypes, scraps of other lives, and only superficial meaning. But that life full of appearances has a tendency to crumble and fall apart, and, when it does, it’s usually in the form of a crisis. For some people, the crisis that tends to happen in adult life is an opportunity to ask ourselves what our ikigai is and what the meaning of our life is. However, when you are suffering, it’s not the best time to find a meaning for your life, because from a place of lacking, everything is harder. 

 

Look for Your Ikigai

 

We have already established that at the very least you already have one ikigai, a reason to pick up your pieces. But I encourage you to think about what other ikigais you can find. Analyze the meaning of your life up until now and evaluate whether you need to redefine it. 

 

Sometimes, because we have good intentions, we mistakenly believe that our lives consist only of our children, partners, work, parents, or a long list of other things, but in reality, you must never allow all your life’s responsibilities to revolve around a single meaning or a single motivation.

 

I have many ikigais that I carry with me every day! I get up for myself and for everything I enjoy doing. I get up for my wife and for my daughter, for my clients; to go for a stroll, to go for a bike ride, or to get lost skiing in the mountains; to use my talent to remove psychology from the confines of the lecture theater, to learn and teach, travel, smile, and enjoy a kiss and a hug. Each morning I get up for the bear hug I will give my daughter, to feel the sun on my skin, to get drenched in the rain, and to curl up with a good book. I could fill pages and pages with my ikigais, though that wouldn’t make as interesting a book, now would it? 

 

An Exercise in Ikigai

To begin this exercise, ask yourself about the meaning behind what you are doing, where you are living, your work, your partner, your lifestyle, and your vacations. I encourage you to go over each and every one of the aspects of your life and to ask yourself whether they contribute to your happiness.

 

Start questioning the meaning of what you are about to do in each moment of your day. Even the mundane things! It may sound silly, but there is ikigai there!

 

What meaning is there in… Drinking a cup of coffee? Attending a specific conference? Helping a neighbor? In getting angry? In walking your dog? In writing a book? 

 

Moving forward, continue to ask yourself about the meaning of what you are about to do in any moment, and there you will start to discover your own ikigais.

 

Learn more about the powerful practice of healing trauma and finding purpose in Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of Embracing the Imperfect and Loving Your Flaws by Tomás Navarro.

 

Tomás Navarro is a psychologist who loves people and what they feel, think, and do. He is the founder of a consultancy practice and center for emotional well-being. He currently splits his time between technical writing, training, consultancy, conferences and advisory processes, and personal and professional coaching. He lives in Gerona and Barcelona, Spain.

 

 

 

 

Read Kintsugi today!

Sounds True | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound

 

 

 

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How to Stop Turning Your Back on Your Trauma

We Suffer Ahead of Time

There is a kind of pain that is born from the anticipation of something that we know will happen but has not yet happened. We suffer a lot for things that have not yet happened. We anticipate, in excruciating detail, the pain of a visit to the dentist or a planned surgery. We spend several months suffering the pain of giving birth. We suffer for the death of a loved one months before cancer takes their life. We suffer for things that do not yet hurt, in such a way that when real pain does arrive, our body and mind are already exhausted.

Our bodies are wise; this we have said already. Our bodies and our minds feel the impulse to repair the damage detected. When we feel pain, we activate a repair system with the objective of recovering the balance lost. But we must take care not to end up like Peter in the tale of “Peter and the Wolf”: he warned so many times about the wolf coming, without it being true, that when it did truly arrive, nobody believed him. If we activate the alert mechanism in the face of pain ahead of the time, then, when we need them the most, we won’t have any resources left to cope with it. 

The source of emotional pain is often caused by:

  • Adversity
  • Frustration
  • Disappointment
  • Unexpected change
  • Judgments and thoughts
  • Reality
  • Imagination
  • Fear
  • Anticipation

Suffering and adversity are just part and parcel of life. Any day we might experience the greatest and most unexpected of tragedies. But what really matters is not what could or might happen to us—which can be just about anything—but what is actually happening to us. When we speak about misfortune and adversity, we must speak about probabilities, not possibilities, namely the likelihood that any of the adversities we are exposed to might occur. Is there a chance that a piece of space debris might fall from outer space and split my head open? I don’t have the evidence to deny it. However, if I am going to be afraid of anything, in my case it would be the cows I meet in the mountains when I’m out for a run because it’s far more likely that I will be trampled by a cow than get hit by a piece of space debris.

So, if you ever ask yourself, “Why me?” remember that we are fragile; that we live in a hostile environment; and that sometimes, with the behaviors and the decisions that we make—or don’t make—we are taking risks that can lead us to adversity. However, at other times, the cruelest fate hits us with adversity.  

Building a Wall Is Not the Solution

Some people think that the solution to live more at ease is to build a wall to defend themselves. Do not make that mistake; the wall will defend you from exterior aggressions, but it will also prevent you from enjoying the wonderful things around you. If you build a wall, you will prevent disappointment, but you will feel bitterly lonely. A wall can protect you from fear of change but will create an inability to adapt to different situations. The wall will provide you with safety, but it will also make you a person who is dependent on its protection; it will make you insecure and fearful of what will happen when that wall disappears. I encourage you to build, instead of a wall, a library full of resources to help you maintain the level of emotional strength that you need.

What’s more, when we attempt to protect ourselves by adopting strategies that are damaging, and when we wear armor, we disconnect emotionally from the people around us and from reality. Building a wall is never the solution because it will not protect us from that pesky space debris looming above our heads. Don’t forget: prudence is good, fear is not.  

Reflection Exercise

I encourage you to do an exercise. Analyze the pain you are experiencing and try to identify its source. Don’t leave it for tomorrow. Don’t click to the next site just yet. Just pick up a notebook and a pencil, find a quiet place right now, and reflect. Take action, because it’s up to you to do something about this. Nobody will do it for you. 

Learn more about this powerful practice of healing trauma in Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of Embracing the Imperfect and Loving Your Flaws by Tomás Navarro.

Tomás Navarro is a psychologist who loves people and what they feel, think, and do. He is the founder of a consultancy practice and center for emotional well-being. He currently splits his time between technical writing, training, consultancy, conferences and advisory processes, and personal and professional coaching. He lives in Gerona and Barcelona, Spain.

Kintsugi: Filling in the Cracks of Your Life with Gold

Kintsuig Fill in the Cracks Blog Tomas Navarro Header Photo

The time has come to get started on the biggest work you will create in your life, the most important house you will ever own, the home of your soul. Let’s rebuild your life with strong materials of confidence, self-esteem, and courage. I want you to be a free and confident person, and to achieve that, we need to work hard.

Begin by getting to know yourself. You have no idea what you are like or what you are capable of achieving. During the most vulnerable years of your life, people made you believe that you weren’t capable, that you couldn’t do things, that you didn’t know how to, and that you were worthless. They ignored you, overlooked your achievements, and punished you, and all that has wreaked havoc on your self-image. Look for silence and try to reconnect with your essence. Discover yourself, and explore yourself. It’s no easy task, I know, but that’s no reason to avoid it. Observe yourself without judgment, and get to know yourself a little better each day, the same way you would with a new friend, car, or house.

Start analyzing. Stop being afraid, stop worrying, and stop running away without looking back. Forget about fear, stop reacting, and start analyzing. That is the key: to analyze instead of reacting. Life is a dynamic process, which is good news because you can grow, learn, change, and above all gain confidence.

Contextualize what happens to you without rushing in your appraisals. Now you are capable of identifying when you are carrying out partial appraisals based on fear or a negative self-image that do nothing but activate your alarm systems and generate anxiety for you. The first step toward gaining confidence is understanding, the second is detection, and the third is management. Engage in rational thinking to avoid the tunnel vision effect that a closed and imperceptive mind has tried to contaminate your soul with. Simplify reality, and eliminate the fear factor. I propose an exercise of imagination. Imagine you are at a meeting expounding your point of view on a project, and that suddenly your boss takes out a piece of paper and starts taking notes. You don’t actually know what they are writing, but if you feel afraid, you will believe they are taking notes on the things they didn’t like, when you don’t really know. Perhaps they loved it. Or perhaps they have simply remembered a task they still have to do. So when you don’t know something for sure, don’t rule out any of the options, either negative or positive. This, precisely, is what tunnel vision consists of.

You have many more virtues than the ones you imagine, and you are capable of many more things than you may believe.

Learn more about this powerful practice of healing trauma in Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of Embracing the Imperfect and Loving Your Flaws by Tomás Navarro.

Tomás Navarro HeadshotKintsugi Book CoverTomás Navarro is a psychologist who loves people and what they feel, think, and do. He is the founder of a consultancy practice and center for emotional well-being. He currently splits his time between technical writing, training, consultancy, conferences and advisory processes, and personal and professional coaching. He lives in Gerona and Barcelona, Spain.

Read Kintsugi today!

Sounds True | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound

In 2020, Find Your Life’s Purpose (the japanese ...

Why do you get up every morning? What motivates you to get out of bed every day? In Japan there is a term to describe our reason for living or being: ikigai

 

We all have an ikigai, even if we don’t know it. 

 

In fact, the search for an ikigai is what will bring large doses of satisfaction and self-fulfillment because when you connect with your ikigai, your life will acquire a meaning. Often we live a life that is full of appearances, possessions that appear to speak for who we are, jobs that provide much prestige but that we don’t enjoy, inherited stereotypes, scraps of other lives, and only superficial meaning. But that life full of appearances has a tendency to crumble and fall apart, and, when it does, it’s usually in the form of a crisis. For some people, the crisis that tends to happen in adult life is an opportunity to ask ourselves what our ikigai is and what the meaning of our life is. However, when you are suffering, it’s not the best time to find a meaning for your life, because from a place of lacking, everything is harder. 

 

Look for Your Ikigai

 

We have already established that at the very least you already have one ikigai, a reason to pick up your pieces. But I encourage you to think about what other ikigais you can find. Analyze the meaning of your life up until now and evaluate whether you need to redefine it. 

 

Sometimes, because we have good intentions, we mistakenly believe that our lives consist only of our children, partners, work, parents, or a long list of other things, but in reality, you must never allow all your life’s responsibilities to revolve around a single meaning or a single motivation.

 

I have many ikigais that I carry with me every day! I get up for myself and for everything I enjoy doing. I get up for my wife and for my daughter, for my clients; to go for a stroll, to go for a bike ride, or to get lost skiing in the mountains; to use my talent to remove psychology from the confines of the lecture theater, to learn and teach, travel, smile, and enjoy a kiss and a hug. Each morning I get up for the bear hug I will give my daughter, to feel the sun on my skin, to get drenched in the rain, and to curl up with a good book. I could fill pages and pages with my ikigais, though that wouldn’t make as interesting a book, now would it? 

 

An Exercise in Ikigai

To begin this exercise, ask yourself about the meaning behind what you are doing, where you are living, your work, your partner, your lifestyle, and your vacations. I encourage you to go over each and every one of the aspects of your life and to ask yourself whether they contribute to your happiness.

 

Start questioning the meaning of what you are about to do in each moment of your day. Even the mundane things! It may sound silly, but there is ikigai there!

 

What meaning is there in… Drinking a cup of coffee? Attending a specific conference? Helping a neighbor? In getting angry? In walking your dog? In writing a book? 

 

Moving forward, continue to ask yourself about the meaning of what you are about to do in any moment, and there you will start to discover your own ikigais.

 

Learn more about the powerful practice of healing trauma and finding purpose in Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of Embracing the Imperfect and Loving Your Flaws by Tomás Navarro.

 

Tomás Navarro is a psychologist who loves people and what they feel, think, and do. He is the founder of a consultancy practice and center for emotional well-being. He currently splits his time between technical writing, training, consultancy, conferences and advisory processes, and personal and professional coaching. He lives in Gerona and Barcelona, Spain.

 

 

 

 

Read Kintsugi today!

Sounds True | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound

 

 

 

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