Harbula on Life Purpose and Relationship?
By Clarise Leopold
According to Dr. Patrick J. Harbula, Life and Relationships Coach, after a divorce, in the midst of illness, after losing a job or any life-altering event, the most important step is to reestablish one’s sense of self. According to Harbula: “When a relationship ends, people go through a natural stage of reassessing who they are, because there is a natural tendency to identify oneself in the context of the role of the relationship. When married, we introduce each other as my husband or my wife, and we take on that identification. When the relationship ends, the role ends and there is not only a mourning of the lost partner but of the lost sense of self-identity. “Now that I am no longer a wife, who am I.”
This same dynamic occurs when someone loses a job, because part of the self-identification is tied up in the work role. It occurs when one is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, because the identification as a healthy being has been challenged.
While pain is present in all of these experiences, there is also an unprecedented opportunity to rediscover oneself at a deeper level. The loss is what triggers the need to see more clearly into whom one is beneath the role identification that has been lost. Harbula uses a simple formula to identify and formulate a life purpose definition, which clarifies what an individual is about, what their highest values are and what they are here to accomplish in life.
He says that he defines life purpose as “what we love to do that makes the world a better place or in some way contributes to the lives of others.” While understanding life’s purpose does not guarantee that the pain of loss will go away, it does create hope for the future and fills the void with a recognition of one’s self-worth.
Harbula speaks of miracles that have resulted by using this formula with his clients. “This formula can create miracles for people no matter what their current life situation, but when people are going through life transitions, their receptivity to a deeper revealing of their essential life purpose is magnified. I find that women in general seem to be more receptive to this process than some men, especially in times of re-identification. Because of our historical cultural bias, which still exists to some degree on a practical level but more importantly on a psychological level—of men being the “breadwinner” and women the “homemaker”—women are generally more interested in going deeper into the discovery of who they are beneath their roles.”
According to Harbula the life purpose definition can become a mantra that is used to create a consistent application of life purpose into daily living. This is especially useful in helping people to move toward a specific goal, resolve conflicts in existing relationships, getting new relationships off on the right foot, and it is a most powerful tool for maintaining healthy relationships. According to Harbula, “once someone has identified their life purpose and they consciously apply that purpose in how they relate to their partner, an incredible shift occurs.
The life purpose definition becomes an intention that we can fulfill through any interaction at any moment in time, and believe it or not, it relates to the quality or guidance that we didn’t receive enough of when we were children. So if I didn’t get enough support as a child then my life purpose definition would have something to do with supporting others. I would feel my best when I am supporting others through my job and in any interaction with other people. It is what I struggle with the most to give myself and others, because it was not modeled for me as a child, but it is also what I value the most. When I have a strong intention to support my significant other when in relationship, I become be the best partner I can be, and I will be more fulfilled as well. Of course the most important place to apply this purpose is to myself otherwise it can become co-dependent.”
According to Harbula, “it may seem obvious that if I apply what I didn’t’ receive enough of as a child in my relationship that the quality of the relationship will be enhanced, but you would be amazed at how often it is, that the last place people apply their purpose is to their relationship.”
Harbula also helps people to through transitions by accepting, embracing, and honoring their feelings, recognizing what they have gained through the experience, and focusing on a grand vision for their life, something to move toward while they are applying their purpose in the here and now.
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Living Purpose Institute
2593 Young Avenue Thousand Oaks, CA 91360