Do you ever feel lost and unsure about your purpose in life?
You know what I mean. A sense of being adrift, directionless, empty, or stuck.
Well, you’re not alone.
We all grapple with uncertainty and confusion here and there. It’s in our nature.
And according to statistics, around 51% of us admit to having thoughts of hopelessness.
But that doesn’t make it any less overwhelming. Not to mention lonely.
Here’s the thing.
Our existence is something philosophers have pondered for eons. And it’s this unrelenting search for meaning that has led to a wealth of literature, musings, and poems on the topic.
Enter Rumi (Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī), a 13th-century poet, mystic, and renowned Sufi.
Best known for the Masnavi (a series of six books) Rumi teaches tolerance, love, and how to reach your goals.
Plus, so much more.
And while he touches on spirituality (and God), you don’t have to be religious to appreciate his epic pearls of wisdom.
Hey, there’s a reason that he’s still a bestselling author (over 800 years later)!
You’ve probably seen some of his quotes posted on your favorite social media platform.
But don’t just take my word for it.
Famous names such as Madonna, Tilda Swinton, and Coldplay’s Chris Martin (to name a few) have used Rumi’s aphorisms to guide them on their journey.
Even Beyoncé’s daughter is rumored to be named after him.
So, how does this help you?
Here are six unforgettable lessons from Rumi’s poetry that will help anyone feeling lost in life.
Ready for some serious soul-searching?
Let’s go! Or should I say…
1) Let go
“When you let go of who you are, you become who you might be.”
Look, we all have our personal demons.
The list is endless. From fear and self-doubt to an unwillingness to step out of our comfort zone.
But here’s the thing.
Rumi believed in personal growth. And those self-limiting factors?
Well, they’re holding you back.
Instead, you need to “let go” of your preconceived notions and bad habits (your current self). That along with the negative self-talk.
Only then, can you tap into your true potential and hidden talents.
Not to mention, a world of possibilities on your new journey of self-discovery.
Simply put – be open-minded to change and transformation if you want to grow and develop as a person.
2) Exhibit gratitude
“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.”
In this quote, Rumi refers to gratitude as a “cloak.”
Let’s face it.
Not many people are rocking one of those nowadays (not unless you’re a young wizard). But back in the 13th century, they were all the rage.
Think of it as a coat or a hoodie of yesteryear. Basically, something you wear every day.
And by referring to gratitude as a garment (more specifically, outerwear) it suggests that it should be an integral and constant part of our lives.
Not only that.
But it provides comfort and strength, helping us weather difficult times by cultivating a positive perspective and mindset.
Let me put it this way.
Gratitude is great.
Not only is it an excellent way to show the people closest to you that you’re thankful for everything they do but expressing gratitude can actually improve your health.
It’s scientifically proven.
So, if you want to feel more fulfilled in life, don’t dwell on the negatives.
“Wearing” gratitude is a daily reminder to be thankful and count our blessings (e.g. affirmations), even when times are tough.
TL;DR – focus on what you do have and not on what you don’t.
3) Have a growth mindset
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
I remember when I was young (and naive). I would jump in head first without considering the consequences.
I thought I knew it all.
Worse still, I would judge others. Thinking I could do better.
But now that I’m older (maybe more mature), I’ve learned that, first and foremost, change begins within.
Not only that, but it pays to be kind, empathetic, tolerant, and nonjudgemental of others.
Of course, I’m not saying to completely change who you are.
Not at all. It’s what makes you, well, you.
I’m talking about having a beginner’s mindset.
By this I mean.
Continually looking at the world through a new lens.
What’s more, you need to acknowledge, and then embrace your shortcomings to enable personal growth through introspection and reflection.
Especially, if your goal is to find and better understand yourself.
Then, and only then can you contribute to making positive change in the world.
4) Follow your passions (and your heart)
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind. Unable to see the wood through the trees.
It’s enough to make anyone feel lost in the monotony of life.
That’s why it’s important to stop, take stock, and listen to your gut.
In other words, follow your heart.
That way, you’re free to pursue the things you love (and don’t). That’s how we learn and grow as individuals.
It can be a scary thought. After all, it’s not an exact science.
But aren’t you curious?
Putting aside time to discover what brings you joy (your passion) is the first step to understanding what makes you tick.
As Rumi suggests, “it won’t lead you astray.”
But take it from me, the journey is just as important as the destination. And you may be surprised by what you find.
5) Don’t give in to fear
“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”
Fear is a funny thing.
On the one hand, it provides us with drive and motivation. An instinctive need to keep going in order to survive.
But in the same breath, fear can also hold us back.
And what I think Rumi touches on here, is that to move forward you need to leave your comfort zone by embracing change (and with it your fear).
In short, spread your wings.
Explore uncharted territory, try unusual foods, and learn new skills.
In the process, you’ll gain confidence and self-belief, while shedding yourself of self-doubt and the fear of what may or may not be.
6) Forge your own path
“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
In life, it’s difficult not to consider what other people are doing – or how they’re doing it.
You know, keeping up with the Joneses.
In fact, it’s perfectly normal to compare ourselves to others.
It’s human nature.
But that doesn’t mean it should dictate how you lead your life.
At the end of the day, you’re the master of your destiny. Only you can decide what path to walk down and how.
And what I think Rumi is stressing here, is that if you want to be successful or make a difference in the world you need to be the author of your own story.
So, if you truly want purpose in life you need to step up and take action.
Stop being a passenger, merely waiting around for the perfect time or the right place – it doesn’t exist.
Ultimately, nothing’s going to change unless you do something about it.
Quite simply, be the change.
Just because it turned out one way for another, doesn’t mean it will be the same fate for you.