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Release yourself to find your purpose (ikigai) in life

posted in: Ikigai | 0

Free yourself from the constraints that hold you back and you will find that over time you can manage even the most stressful times and enjoy your days a little better. You will feel less dependent on others and more confident in yourself. Indeed you will feel an immense sense of satisfaction in all that you do. So get started and release yourself to find your purpose in life, your ikigai.

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Releasing vs. detachment

Do you ever feel like, you are caught up in life’s daily routine and you succumb to the status quo without any struggle? How often do you head off to work, do your chores, set your schedule, keep time, and partake in all the mundane things needed just to get by?

Somehow it can seem like giving up and heading straight for corporate slavery. Working forty plus hours a week to enrich someone else’s life without ever taking the time to focus on yourself is a waste. In other words, it doesn’t make sense to make someone else’s dreams possible and not your own.

Of course, many of us feel this way. We don’t actively choose this lifestyle. It just kind of happens. And once we get secure in such a place, it is painfully difficult and downright scary to change directions suddenly.

Among other things, fear sets in. Fear of failure, fear of losing what you have, fear of others, and much more. These tend to frighten us much more than motivate us. Oftentimes we are rendered immobile.

Break free. Release yourself from it.

It is important to point out that there are two ways to go about this, detachment and releasing yourself. Both are types of mindful meditation that can be effective ways to deal with clutter and unnecessary stress in your life. However, contrary to some beliefs, they are not the same.


Simply, detachment is the act of completely letting go of something or someone. You distance yourself from people, bad habits, and unpleasantries by removing them from your life.

Practicing detachment can help you to maintain focus on what is important to you and not being confined or controlled by anyone or anything. The underlying concept with this is that you are actively seeking positive experiences by discarding negative ones completely.

Releasing yourself

Releasing yourself may seem quite similar to the concept of detachment, but its purpose is different. The concept here is not to move away from discomfort, but rather to think differently about it, removing preconceptions and embracing diversity.

Releasing yourself is more about understanding yourself and what makes you feel empowered. It helps you to accept your surroundings and more importantly, yourself.

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Release yourself from it all

This article included, there are multitudes of great advice and real-life examples on how to attain happiness and live a purposeful life. All of which can be valid, if they are aligned with your beliefs. Suffice to say, any notion of having to feel, think or act a certain way to attain happiness and live a purposeful life is nonsensical.

Finding what works for you can be somewhat challenging, but one way to approach this is to free yourself from what you are not. Start by releasing yourself from the rules.

Releasing yourself from the rules gives you an opportunity to understand who you really are. It builds the courage to accept yourself and discover new frontiers. Also, it helps you cross boundaries and opens unbeaten paths to a more meaningful life.

Arguably, releasing yourself from the rules is one of the most important aspects of reaching a high-level of ikigai.

Release yourself from materialism

Take a look around you right now. What do you see? Perhaps the phone in your hand, the sofa you are sitting on, the TV… Do a quick inventory and in your mind add up the amount of time and money you spent on these things. It doesn’t have to be exact, but rather a feeling.

Now, mentally remove yourself from the scene. Imagine the same sofa without you sitting on it, the same phone lying there, the same TV and so on. Other than you not being there, what has changed?

The answer is “nothing,” not the phone, the sofa or TV. More importantly, you have not changed either. Sure, you may feel anxious about not having your phone with you, but you as a person, your values and beliefs have not changed.

In our materialistic world, there seems to be an ingrained desire to have the newest thing. Everyone is trying to outdo each other, showing off what they bought or what they have got. And although these toys are quite fun to have, it is important to understand that they are merely tools, some more effective than others, to help you do one thing or another.

That is not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t own and enjoy them. The point here is to say, they are not tied to you. Trust that you will be you without materialistic things. And in many cases, you will be able to make better choices with your time and effort to live a virtuous and purposeful life if you accept that they are not you.

Release yourself from such dependence.

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Release yourself from the past

Dwelling on past mistakes can be lethal to your ikigai. It is a sure-fire way to frighten yourself enough to where you never take the next step. It diminishes the confidence you have in yourself and generates anxiety within. Over time you will find that you are managing regret or guilt rather than your purpose in life.

Oddly enough, you should not spend your time reminiscing of the glory days of youth either. Sure, it might be fun from time to time as surely you have a lot of good memories, but don’t let it prevent you from acting now.

Fortunately, hindsight is 20/20, meaning that after the moment has passed, you can look back on the circumstances and events that got you to where you are now. You can analyze what worked and what didn’t and learn from it. It is a healthy practice for thinking about your adventure.

But remember, at some point, you have to move on. You are not the same person as you once were before the moment. Give yourself permission to let it be, and move on to the next big thing.

Furthermore, there is no reason why you cannot create new moments. If you could do such wonderful things once before, there is no reason why you cannot begin a new journey. There is nothing preventing you from starting once again.

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Release yourself from tomorrow

Just as dwelling on the past can cause paralysis and slow your progress forward, so can worrying about what may or may not happen in the future. It is impossible to predict.

Of course, there may be a few good indications about what might happen next, such as the likelihood of it happening. This, of course, becomes more evident one way or the other as you get closer to the event. Though there is no sure-fire way to know for certain that it will. Trying to predict an outcome with any amount of certainty is futile and a waste of precious time.

That is not to say that you shouldn’t make plans or set goals. Indeed, it is necessary to have direction. A good plan will provide you with a road map to where you want to be. 

However, don’t stop there. Having a plan is not good enough. You have to act on it and adapt as you go forward.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. – John Lennon

Also, stressing out about what might happen in the future at the expense of the moment is a loss of the only commodity we really have, time. So, try not to do it.

Stay within the here and now. Focus on what is before you and put your efforts into that. Stay in control of yourself. Think about what needs to be done for the future, but release yourself, remain in the present and act on it.

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Release yourself from work

Letting go from work doesn’t mean quitting your job or becoming so detached that you couldn’t care less about it. Also, it doesn’t mean that once the five o’clock whistle blows you should stop thinking about work, either.

In fact, releasing yourself from work means quite the opposite. It is a positive action that will improve your ability to do the task. To release yourself, in this case, means to stop thinking about the task as being troublesome, and start thinking about the value you are creating.

Become ultra-focused

Get involved in the work. Challenge yourself and grow with it. Above all, have some fun with it. Children call it playing, but adults think of it as getting into the zone.

In other words, get in the zone to where you become so deeply engaged in what you are doing that you tend to block everything out and lose track of time. As pay attention to all the details of the work and stop thinking about anything else, including your own negative thoughts and unpleasant feelings, you will immerse yourself in what is in front of you so completely that you will become extremely productive.

Interestingly enough, when you do find that spot and become absorbed in the task, even if you are inherently opposed to the task, you naturally improve your knowledge, methods, and skills in relation to it. You begin to formulate an educated opinion and solidify your convictions. This, in turn, can make the task more enjoyable and more worthy of your time. This is especially important when it comes to ikigai and living a life of purpose.


The difficulty, however, lies in doing tasks that you are uninterested in or averse to. These are the tasks your most likely to put off until the last minute.

Once procrastination kicks in, it puts the task is in danger of never being completed. This, of course, is not limited to work, but true of other things such as studying, chores, or obligations.

Which is why releasing yourself from negativity takes practice and is built up over time. The more you try to find the value in what you are doing, the more likely you are to engage with it and learn from it.

Release yourself from others

We all want to be loved and accepted. It is human nature to seek companionship and harmony with others. Whether we are introverts or extroverts we live in a symbiosis that connects all different walks of life. Different customs. Different beliefs. Different colors, shapes, and sizes. Diversity is a great strength that should be embraced.

And though our diversity should unite us, far too often there exists a certain amount of jealousy or presumption. It is easy to compare ourselves to what others are doing or what others have. Furthermore, there is no way to see into someone’s mind and know what they think.

From there we begin to seek some type of validation. Worse yet, when there is none, we begin to doubt ourselves. So, putting your thoughts and efforts into this is a waste of what you could be doing.

It is important to acknowledge and accept yourself as who you are as an individual. Give yourself permission to not be anything other than what you want to be. People will form opinions regardless.

Then you can release yourself from others by discarding the people you are not. Go through names if you must, but give yourself permission to say, “I am not her. I am not like him.” Then you can begin on knowing just who you are. 

This is integral to following your purpose in life.

Head thinking meaning release yourself from biases
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Release yourself from biases

There is some debate over how many times humans think in a day. According to The National Science Foundation, however, it is about 50,000 times.

Though that is quite a lot, it is needless to say that as humans we tend to think. We think a lot. Indeed it is mind-blowing.

However, regardless of the actual number, one thing for sure is that our thoughts often turn to belief and subsequently those beliefs turn into action. In other words, if you think you can, then you will eventually believe you can, and ultimately you will achieve your goal.

Conversely, if you think you cannot, then with the absence of any evidence proving the contrary, most likely you will believe that you cannot and ultimately fail at achieving the goal.

The irony in this is that through our own consciousness we often impede our own ability to act in a positive way without any factual evidence or historical representation. We tend to rely on preconceived notions, biases, and to some degree prejudices. Such notions limit you and your ability to move forward.

Therefore, there is merit in removing yourself from your own biases.

Be mindful if you find yourself thinking negatively or saying to yourself that it cannot be done. Instead, tell yourself the opposite. Say to yourself, “Yes, I know it will be difficult. But I can do it.” Your conscience will have little to debate after that.

No preconceptions

All in all, releasing yourself is a form of mindful meditation in which you can get in the right frame of mind (the zone) and remove yourself from all the materialism, past and future events, what others think of you and even your own restrictions. Accepting yourself in this way will shed light on new ideas and paths to take.

By breaking out of the norm you will begin to see yourself as you want and not by imagining how you might fit in. You will give yourself permission to find meaningful success.

It is not difficult to practice such mindful meditation and the behavior that it facilitates will lend itself well toward a life of purpose.

Remember, your ikigai is only for you. It is a play for an audience of one and it matters not who recognizes it. Live your ikigai for yourself and only for yourself. If you do so, you will truly be happy.

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