• jbean

Fix your Trauma Mindset, Step Five - Give yourself a purpose

Updated: 4 days ago

You know what sucks? Waking up day after day, seemingly without reason. Feeling trapped in a pointless existence. Trying to pass the time, just to see another miserable, dreadful morning. Wondering why you were brought into this world and how much longer you have to keep doing it.

Do you ever open your eyes and feel immediate dread, exhaustion, and agitation? Do you struggle to find motivation to do… anything? To want anything? To care about anything?

Do you ever open your eyes and feel immediate dread, exhaustion, and agitation? Do you struggle to find motivation to do… anything? To want anything? To care about anything?

Been there. Makes it pretty fucking difficult to care about getting better when you’re shrouded in indifference, forfeit, and boredom.

When everything feels heavy and difficult, it sure doesn’t help to also feel like your efforts are frivolous. Why work so hard when nothing matters? At least, if you were working towards a personal calling, there would be a reason for all the suffering.

So, let’s change that.

A quick note: I have this whole thing laid out “step by step” for a reason, but if you’re needing life-inspiration to get started with the “earlier steps” of healthier living or making time for yourself - start here instead. No problem.

For me, it was necessary to quiet my body, gain some confidence, understand where my pessimism started, and begin recognizing other possibilities before I could find a new life goal to focus on. Knocking down those hierarchical needs to free up some brain space and recognize new possibilities, you know?

You might be different. Do what you gotta do in whatever order you gotta do it.

Step One - Get Mad

Step Two - Reduce your Dietary Discomfort

Step Two point Five - Move your Ass

Step Three - Get Educated on Trauma Physiology

Step Four - Write your Trauma Narrative

Step Five - Give yourself Purpose

Step Six - GIve yourself a Break

Don’t pressure it.

I feel like this is an easy step to get overwhelmed by.

“Just choose your life destiny!” - right, we all heard that in high school and made great decisions under pressure back then.

Lawl. It’s not simple. That’s why 60 year olds are still making career changes.

Try not to put too much stress on this. Your motivator can (and will) be fluid. People are fluid. Your brain is going to feel very different now, versus six months from now, versus 6 years from now. That’s fine.

You know who finds their true calling and never waivers? The kids who peak as high school football jocks and turn into alcoholic hometown all-stars. Gotta re-assess and let yourself change with the times.

If you aren’t dead set with a “true life calling” at this moment, don’t even fucking worry about it. Try finding a “current life interest” instead. That’s more realistic and honest.

There’s nothing wrong with motivating yourself in stints, or having a wide array of interests that give you new and refreshed meaning as you naturally pick them up and set them back down.

Follow your natural energies and adapt to life circumstances compassionately.

Identify one interest

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn about?

Try to quiet the icky feelings that question might bring to the surface. It’s super easy to twist my question into the shameful accusations like, “What haven’t you worked hard enough at?” or “What have you failed to do?”

Nah, nah, nah. Not what we’re saying.

Big picture speaking, what are some natural interests of yours? What activities lit you up at some point in your life? What do you wish you had gone to school for or pursued professionally? What hobbies do you want to be engaged in?

If that’s not working, try asking these questions. What are some skills or personality characteristics that you envy in other people? Who do you want to be? What effect do you want to have on others?

A while back, I made a small list of WHO I want to be when I grow up.

I’ve always wanted to have my own small business/self-employment/personal project. I want to learn how to connect to people. I want to exude a positive, thoughtful, calming, compassionate energy like Krista Tippett (haha). I want to explore my creativity and personal depths. I want to project a healing energy, become a positive influence, and bring out the best in others. I want to prioritize time in nature, learning, and personal expansion. I want to help people talk about the dark things that come naturally to me and with great resistance from others - mental health, self-sabotage, and living with one foot in the grave.

Slowly start filling your life

Take your interests and start to integrate!

Feeling resistance immediately? No worries. I think the key here is to think as little as possible.

If you’re interested in learning to take better photographs, google “best photography youtube channel.” Make time for it and clear your head of things you “should do.” Start watching. Let your interest spread from one channel to the next. Make it a habit to tune in when you have spare time. If you’re having an anxious or triggering day, turn to your favorite subscriptions and learn.

If you’re into the idea of having more time in nature, google “nature trails near me.” Buy a cheap pair of hiking sneakers based on reviews from Amazon. Get in your car and go one day. If you’re nervous, ask a friend to come with you for the first time or have an engaging phone conversation while you travel. Every time you start feeling off balance, habitually climb in the car and go to your nature place. Don’t debate it, and don’t talk yourself through the disaster scenarios. Just go. Let it become a part of your life.

Keep things simple. Find a way to dip your toe in a new pool of water. Stop creating obstacles on the way to the beach. Learn the path and walk down it instinctively.

Give it time.

Once you’re moving, don’t lose momentum.

Don’t clog up your brain with accumulative forward thinking. Don’t get discouraged because of the voices in your head. Just stick with it, and let your interests develop naturally. Let them be fluid. Let new information deepen your commitment or change your mind.

Keep working at it, keep growing, and let your “purpose” solidify naturally. Hopefully, you’ll reach a place of peace and consistent personal work that begins to feel like the universe is “leading” you to the right place.

Again, this “purpose” can be fluid. You’re different from moment to moment; you might have a different intention for every day of the week. The important thing is to find a reason to get up in the morning and enter the world, and to feel grateful relief when you’re working on a forward goal.


When you have interests, goals, a sense of agency and purpose, mornings will become a welcome experience. You’ll actually look forward to your time every day. The hours laid out before you won’t feel like an empty void, filled necessarily with restlessness, anxiety, and fear.

You won’t have time to waste arguing with your significant other. You won’t have patience for the things that trigger you. It will become clearer and clearer what your priorities are. You can begin cleaning up your life and organizing your time to make the most of your high-level activities. You can find excitement in setting intentions for the day. You can feel fulfilled and satisfied when you go to bed at night.

My purpose.

It should come as no surprise, this project has been my main purpose throughout much of my learning. For the past year-ish, I've been expanding my life by finding purpose. Thanks, Fuckers!

My early interests and assumed “purpose” initially revolved around utilizing my creativity, sharing my artwork, and organizing my brain with the power of nature. I started a few instagram handles devoted to woodland macros (Mas.Moss, holler) and designed a website all about integrating more nature into your life as a means of mental health management. I wrote articles about bringing plants into your home with less hassle for indoor nature therapy. I designed a “hiking metaphor recovery journey” to describe my newfound experiences in anxiety and depression management. I preached slowing down and touching the moss from time to time.

As I continued developing my website and diving deeper into the media inspirations that kept me optimistically engaged, the project started to evolve. I learned more about trauma. I realized how desolate and isolated mental health matters made people feel.

I inexplicably had people asking me (on the internet and in real life) how I had made so many mental health changes. I wanted to keep everything within the realm of nature therapy, but truthbetold, there was a lot more going on behind the scenes to keep my brain in order.

At the same time, the podcasts that I gluttonously consume were continually preaching the necessity of aligning your unique life experiences with your life fulfillment. According to them, the universe made everyone an expert at something. Huh... well, there is one area that I know a lot about. I'm basically an inside expert on the pillars of trauma.

If there was one thing the universe equipped me with, it was surviving difficult experiences, relating to others, and having the words to write about it. Maybe I needed to focus more on my experiences, connecting folks who felt similar, and sharing lessons learned.

Long story short, I hope this writing/community prodding helps ya’ll, because it definitely helps me. This “purpose driven” thinking forces me to spend more time taking care of myself. I can’t wallow or feel bad for myself when I know that’s the wrong energy for progress and support. I have no excuse not to get outdoors and work on exploring and organizing my brain. I have no room to hide shitty behaviors from you fuckers. And I’m getting a little closer, with practice, towards becoming Krista Tippet.

Boom. Purpose.

Final motivator

I know, this is a tough one that you probably don’t want to start.

I can feel the empathy “walls” being thrown up, the stomach clenching, and the hypertension that emerges when presented with an overwhelming new idea. The “Resistance.” (If you’ve read the War of Art, you know)

Life purpose. Scoff.

“I’m not the type who figures that shit out. It’s too late for that. I don’t have a fucking purpose.”

Stop feeling bad for yourself and complaining. Fucker, you got a purpose.

To tackle your inner resistance

(And you should, because it’ll keep coming up along your learning journey), try using deep out-breaths.

If you empty your lungs and lower stomach of air, how does it feel? Pause and sit silently for a few seconds. Notice the bottoms of your feet. Feel your heart.

Reapproach the idea, and repeat the deep breath technique until your angry butterflies disappear.

Get started doing SOMETHING. Learning something. Reading something.

Just start moving in a direction, every day. See where you wind up.



Traumatized Motherfxckers

Not doomed. Not damaged.

Not dead yet.

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