How Finding Your Purpose Helps Heal Trauma

“Look … I know I’ve got trauma. It’s just not something that I really ever thought I could ever work through. But when my wife came home talking about finding her purpose, and told me you were going to talk to her this week about how finding your purpose helps heal trauma … I just couldn’t let her come without me!”

My client that I wrote about last week returned with her husband in tow. However, he appeared to be leading the way, and even more excited than she was.

“I just hope you’re not going to make me do any of that crazy stuff that she talks about doing with you,” he added.

I had to laugh out loud, and then join in the fun.

“Well … your purpose is not found in your comfort zone. So, if you really want to find it, you’ll have to do a few crazy things! At least they’ll seem crazy to you! But I promise I won’t make you do the chicken dance!”

His wife was delighted that I challenged him, and with a little boy grin, he noted: “As long as you promise not to record it and show it to anyone, I’m in!”

It is true that you cannot and will not find your purpose while hanging on to your comfort zone for dear life. But it is also true that finding your purpose can do amazing things to help heal the trauma in your life.

Dreams and their purpose, always turn up the volume of the stored negatives that loop in our heads on a low hum … AND ones we never thought were there. Trust me, it’s common for us all … so press on and lean in! When they turn up the volume, we will “bust” the negativity.

I love what a great marriage and family therapist writes about finding our purpose and how it can affect our trauma:

“I have found that when you’re able to discover real meaning and purpose in the trauma that has happened to you, not only does it provide you with some peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment, but it also helps with managing PTSD symptoms.” Jami Delowe

And as another therapist says:

“Consider the type of trauma you went through. Perhaps your purpose now is helping others who might be struggling with the same things.” Gina Patrella

Some of the greatest Coaches that I’ve trained and certified through the years were those that worked through their own trauma, and desired to see the same healing and transformation occur in others.

Whether or not you become a Coach … finding your purpose will set your life on a trajectory of making a huge contribution and leaving a legacy!

Finding your purpose in an unfolding.

It is one right step then the next.

It’s repetitive strong-willed moments that become life habits.
It’s arriving at an epiphany that you’ll never be the same.

You wake with a reason and a joy to live and give yourself away.

The voices in your head are now the ones you’ve chosen.

This week let’s look at 3 ways that finding your purpose can bring healing to your unresolved trauma.

1. Finding purpose provides us direction when trauma sends us drifting.

“Although I’ve done really well in my career, I always get this sense that I’m just drifting through life. I remember reading what you wrote about drifting once, and I knew it was talking about me,” the husband commented.

“You said something about drifting takes you to places that you would not choose,” he said with regret in his voice and on his face and then he continued.

“I always knew I could do more. I wanted to do more. In my career, in my marriage, with keeping my body in shape. And, like you said, I never would have chosen a stressful and unfulfilling career, ending up in marriage counseling, or to be 40 pounds overweight and out of shape!”

I responded with encouragement.

“It’s not too late. We can help you find your purpose… and ‘the drift’ will stop!”

Drifting is indeed something that many people with unresolved trauma struggle with. And to quiet the head-noise and victim talk that ‘drifting’ fosters inside, many cope with substance abuse to feel better and to help them ignore the guilt that chases after them … only to make the cycle worse! 

It’s not that we have no hopes, no desires, or no ambitions. It’s just like the wherewithal to direct ourselves … is somehow dullened at best.

However, all that changes when we have a purpose. When we know our purpose. Once we identify our purpose, it has what feels like a powerful magnetic pull on us. No longer are we aimlessly drifting.

If we stay with new regimes of daily disciplines, even as the negatives drone on, we will arrive … when we least expect it … and know that we are becoming conquerors of purpose!

We will no longer find comfort in being adrift. Not only will we not find comfort doing that, but our tolerance for it will diminish.

His wife commented carefully, “I’ve watched him struggle with this for years. It’s been heartbreaking. He’s so gifted and talented … and he has great intentions…”

She paused in thought and continued.

“But somehow the ability to shift from drift to drive seems to escape him. Then he feels terribly about himself.”

I nodded with understanding.

She went on.

“To be honest, in a very different way, the same has been true for me.”

I smiled and said to both of them.

“It’s such a beautiful thing to see you coming together for you each to discover your purpose.”

They waited for me to go on.

“Not only will it put an end to the drift, but it will call you forward. And once you find your purpose individually, we will find the purpose in your marriage!”

I hope you will embark on the journey of finding your purpose. Finding yours first, then finding the purpose for your marriage. Followed by finding the purpose for your family.

Victimhood is both toxic and comfortable. The best definition of evil. It’s this settle-for-it-zone that keeps you angry, complacent, and chasing relief from what you know you must do …  

Please! Surrender, heal, and change the babble loop in your head!  

Purpose is the glue that holds marriages and families together, and it’s like it adds a “touch of wonder” to all relationships! A unifying, unseen joy to our atmosphere.

As we move forward, looking at how purpose is very healing to the fallout from trauma, I hope you’ll become determined to find your purpose.

2. Finding your purpose sets a standard that is higher than the low standards that trauma keeps us stuck at.

“I cannot believe it! I’ve been reading the book that you recommended, and I just read the part where Dr. Hardy spoke about raising our standards!” my client said with excitement as he went on.

“This week I read what he says about standards:

‘Standards in psychology is that which you are most committed to. It is your floor and your ceiling. It’s what you say yes to. So, if you want to know what your standards are, check what you say yes to’!”

He was excited as he shared.

“Then I made a list of what I say yes to:

  • Too much wine every night
  • Vegging out in front of the TV all weekend
  • Complaining about my weight and eating ice cream every night
  • Complaining about my job and doing nothing about it
  • Spending money on fantasy football like I was independently wealthy.

So … I’m guessing you’ll say my standards suck!”

I just smiled and didn’t say a word. I knew the book I recommended would rock his world, as it did mine.

“Will finding my purpose change any of that?” he asked.

“Yes. You don’t do those things because you’re a ‘lousy human being.’ You do them to medicate trauma. Finding your purpose will definitely raise your standards!” I commented.

The truth is … trauma causes us to lower our standards. Sometimes we lower them slightly, sometimes we lower them to do ‘just enough to get by’.

Again, it’s comfortable. But when easy becomes our motivation, there is none. It evaporates!

Because unbeknownst to us, we had to replace our uniqueness from previous moments (that traumatized our brains) with the survival negatives that keep us in stall mode … What are those survival negatives? Anger, fear, drugs, victimhood-thinking, and apathy.

Regardless, when our standards get lowered by trauma, the fulfillment in our lives are lowered exponentially. 

Here’s what Tony Robbins says about our standards:

“You don’t always get your goals, but you always get your standards. Everybody in life gets their ‘musts’ but they don’t get their ‘shoulds.’ When we make something a ‘must’ … we attach ourselves to it and it becomes a part of our identity. Human beings absolutely follow through on who they believe they are. The strongest force in the whole human personality is to stay consistent with how we define ourselves. Wants don’t get met consistently … standards do!”

The first time I heard that, it resonated deep within me.

My trauma had left me scared to death of life.  When I was in Fiji with Tony Robbins, with 20 other people in “Date with Destiny”, he said to me: “You do know that fear is the lowest standard in life?”

I remember being appalled. Because I had never been intoxicated, never smoked anything, never taken an illegal drug … I thought that made my standards high.

Maybe it made my standards high, in regard to protecting my brain.

But not in other areas of my life.

My client jumped in.

“My wife has said to me so many times that the standards I hold for her, and our kids are so much higher than the standards I hold for myself.”

“Of course that pisses me off every time she says it, but to be honest, I’m sure it only bothers me because I know it’s true.”

I nodded.

He continued: “I’m sure it lacks integrity, but honestly… I just wanted better for them than I could seem to get for myself.”

With admiration, I commented: “I honor your courage to own that. And I can assure you of this … finding your purpose will definitely heal the low standards that trauma has left you with.”

They remained solemn as I went on.

“You must understand that trauma so diminishes who we believe we are or who we believe we can be … or who we believe we were created to be, or our ability to do anything worthwhile in this life. It knocks the wind out of the sails of any standards.”

I knew by their looks they were getting it.

“Your standards are not low because you’re a lost human being. They’re low, because likely you believed them to be the best you could do, as the result of trauma.”

I continued as I sensed hope’s presence.

“I can assure you that finding your purpose and committing to stepping into it … will be the greatest healer possible for your low standards. “

Purposeful-purpose change, becomes a metamorphosis that can and will take on a life of its own, as we stay committed to best-next-step thinking and execution, that become our life habits.

The same is true for you, my friend!

3. Finding our purpose restores our hope that our life matters. Trauma steals that from us, purpose heals it.

As his voice broke and his lip quivered, I waited. I knew we were now on sacred turf as the husband spoke.

“I’ve spent my whole life wishing that my life mattered.”

I nodded with complete understanding because I once, too, felt that way.

“I didn’t even have enough belief in myself to think it was possible for my life to matter,” the wife commented.

He reached and took her hand, and I got to witness a precious and priceless moment.

I see it often in my Power of Purpose workshops.

Two people who love each other more than life itself, but neither of them ever dreaming that their life had purpose … or that their lives could matter and make a difference. 

Working through the process of finding your purpose changes all of that in a heartbeat.

Sometimes people know there’s a purpose within them, but they struggle to identify it, or to believe it.

That’s one reason I think it’s important to be in fellowship with like people with like purposes. When you feel you’re not alone, you no longer feel you are.

When you join a fellowship of like dreamers with the of hearing similarities and not the differences, you know and hear the parallels to trust your own heart instincts.  

Regardless, if you’re someone who has experienced trauma, and you don’t believe you have purpose, or believe you do, but don’t know how to find it, or maybe you just hope you do … that’s all result of the trauma.

We all get stuck at our tree of good and evil. Moving through the devil’s playground of uncertainty, cycling through the head-noises that say go for it and/or give up. Limbo is hell!

But when you do the work to find your purpose, those questions and doubts fade away. Quickly!

There’s nothing more fulfilling than finding your purpose and watching great healing from your trauma occur!

Purpose is in our every heartbeat … I love this ancient proverb that declares our deep longing towards the wonder of life.

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
    to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” 

King Solomon


I was one of those people who longed to have a life that mattered. To have a purpose that might serve others.

It’s probably the reason that I was driven to pursue a career in counseling.

Partly because I knew I needed healing, and thought if I learned how to heal others, I could heal myself.

But even more, I wanted to help others … to not struggle the way I had.

When I found my purpose, everything changed! What is my purpose?

“To emanate the healing power of love, and impart healing, hope and wholeness into any and everyone possible!”

There is nothing more fulfilling!

On days like I experienced with the couple I wrote about above … seeing them reach across a little table and take one another’s hands, determined to find their purpose … I knew I‘d lived my purpose that day.

What about you, my friend?

Are you ready to find your purpose?

Are you willing to allow the trauma in your life to heal from finding your purpose?

Are you ready to live a life that matters, doing something meaningful with your purpose?

I believe you are.

Whether you attend a workshop like mine (The Power of Purpose), whether you watch YouTube’s on finding your purpose, or whether you go see a coach or counselor … I challenge you to find your purpose!

(I had lots of requests about my Power of Purpose workshop after last week’s blog. Here is the link if you’d like to learn more:

“Dig deep enough in every heart and you’ll find it: a longing for meaning, a quest for purpose. As surely as a child breathes, he will someday wonder, what is the purpose of my life?”  Max Lucado

Let’s find your wonder again! (It’s embedded in your purpose!)