Afternoon Lovelies and a very Happy New Year to you all!
This is my first post for 2020 so I wanted to make it one with some meaning. At the beginning of a new year many people are finding their own journey/paths to take and want to discover some new ways in which they can make this year coming the best year yet. That’s why I decided to write about a Japanese Art called Ikigai. It is a wonderful way that can help you to discover what gives you a meaningful and fulfilled life.We are all searching at some point in our lives for a sense of purpose. What will make our lives feel happier and fuller. The Japanese word for this feeling of purpose is called ikigai which roughly means ‘a reason for living.’ Many people believe that finding your ikigai is the key to living a life with meaning and with more happiness. A reason for living is more like a core belief or a feeling that characterises who you are and what you find is most important to you personally. Your ikigai is unique as it will only be personal to you as we all find happiness in different ways. For example; some people’s ikigai maybe a hobby or career that makes them happy, or perhaps it is caring and providing for family, making people laugh, spreading peace, creating beauty…and much much more. As you go through life you may even find that your ikigai changes as what brought you happiness at the age of 20 might be different to what brings you joy and meaning at 60.
Finding your ikigai doesn’t happen overnight because your technically putting all of your life’s purpose in one sentence. It’s a process that happens with time, self-reflection and insight as you have to learn to be completely in tune to yourself. Even if you feel like you roughly know what you ikigai might be it can still take years before you fully reach your conclusion.
We all know majority of the time what we like and don’t like doing but ikigai is much deeper than just knowing your passion for something. For example; You might love dancing, but ask yourself why do you love dancing? same for being a keen gardener, why do you love gardening? perhaps you love Diy crafts and artistry, again why? Is it because you love to see what you can achieve with your talent? Do you like the progression process of all it involves with the different steps building up to the finished project? Is it because you like to create beautiful things? For the gardening example, Do you like gardening because you like to see the continual progress of the plants and flowers that you tend to? Do you want to cultivate wonderful things? Is it because you like to keep structure and order? Once you have answered the question of why you love what you love then think about it in terms of your life as a whole. Do you enjoy finding structure, creativity, beauty, progress in other areas of your life too? When you look and delve deeper into what brings you joy you will start to begin to see patterns in your answers.
If after reading the above your wanting to find out a little bit more in more detail I have written below abit more information that covers the general areas of ikigai.
What Is Ikigai?
Ikigai is something that brings you joy/happiness and leaves you feeling fulfilled in life. Once you find your ikigai it will be a defining part of your self that you know is always with you so there isn’t an end line to your joy or happiness. Your ikigai can also be great in helping you to connect to the people around you as it’s often about what you give to the world and others rather than what you take for yourself. It will also be something that you pursue for the main purpose of bringing you happiness, which means it will be active and not passive. It might even be something as simple as going for walks, talking to a friend, reading. Ikigai is also often related to things that you can see developing and growing for example; improving a skill, working on a project, caring for something or someone and this is why your ikigai will not be a specific goal.
Why Find Your Ikigai?
Maybe your reading this and thinking what’s the point? why bother identifying my ikigai? If it takes so much effort and time why not just carry on doing the things that I like to do and avoid the things I know I don’t like? And my answer to that would be if you have a solid grasp on what makes you, you and a sentence that fully defines what your purpose is and who you are then it’s extremely empowering. Knowing what you ikigai is means that you have a deep understanding of yourself and what makes you feel the most joyous, at your happiest and feeling at your best. With your ikigai you will know how to find happiness. It can also give you a sense of control, allows you to pinpoint exactly what motivates you and can also help you to direct your life at times. I think a good visualisation for Ikigai is to think of it like an anchor, when times of difficulty arise then your ikigai can help to guide you through those more difficult moments in your life, because you know exactly what matters to you.
How To Discover Your Ikigai?
Like mentioned before it can be a long process and finding your ikigai can take many years. Most people who have found theirs say that it reveals itself over time. If you are wanting to find your ikigai then there are some questions that will help you to start the process of self-discovery.
- Start by asking yourself these questions…What moments do you enjoy the most in everyday life? What were you favourite things to do in the past or as a child? What do you do without anyone asking you to? What are your likes? Dislikes? What are you looking forward to?
- Once you have asked yourself these questions and other questions similar to them then you take a step back and observe your answers in more depth to see if you can find any patterns. Notice when you are curious about something and let yourself follow it and delve deeper. Deeply question your hobbies…why do you love doing what you do so much? Even though ikigai is more than a passion, hobbies are very useful to explore as they tell us alot about what we feel deeply within.
You probably will naturally have a sort of sense of what your ikigai might be as you most likely know what interests you and draws your attention. So don’t feel like you have to search too far beyond yourself or the life that you already live. What takes time is being able to put all of those feelings into a single sentence. If you do have a go at discovering what your ikigai is but haven’t quite yet defined your ikigai completely after taking time to do so, don’t feel disheartened and instead remember that everyday you have spent giving and paying attention to what brings you joy and happiness will help you to live a richer, more contented and fulfilled life.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I hope it was of some interest to you. I wrote this as a type of starter guide to ikigai, so if it’s interested you in finding out more definitely do your research, there are alot of good books out there explaining about ikigai in more depth which I would recommend. I would love to know any thoughts that you have on ikigai, if you are wanting to try it out I would love to hear your opinions or perhaps you are already on a self discovery journey of finding your ikigai I would love to know how it is going? Let me know all your thoughts and opinions down in the comments below.
I hope that 2020 is a wonderful and fulfilling year for you all whatever your 2020 journey or goals are…