Purposeful living is living a life guided by principle and driven by value. If it were easy to live such a life, everyone would. But in reality, doing so requires much mindfulness. (For more on this see: Self-Mastery Requires Mindfulness.) Unfortunately, most of us let our appetites and aversions govern our lives. We see things we like and move toward them. We encounter things we don’t like and we run from them. And some of us lead undisciplined lives. We let our impulses run the show. An urge grabs hold of us, and we act on it, often without much thinking.
So much is available to us these days. And much of that is available instantaneously. Ours is an age of instant gratification. So, it’s easy to let our likes, dislikes, and urges, rule. We can even become robotic in a way, a slave to our desires, aversions, and impulses. This is the exact opposite of mindful living.
The Cost of Robotic Living
Letting our appetites, aversions, and impulses drive us actually costs us plenty. We can feel pretty good in moments. But low points inevitably follow. Moreover, in the process of riding that roller coaster, our soul begins to die. To live mindfully and purposefully, we must subordinate our appetites, aversions. Also, we must have mastery over our impulses.
The third step in most 12-step programs addresses this challenge. It involves turning both our lives and our wills over to a higher power or authority. Now, most of us have difficulty doing this. And some of us have greater than average difficulty. Still others find the whole idea anathema.
The founders of A.A. cited one thing as pivotal to “recovery.” And that one thing is willingness. But coming by the willingness to turn ourselves over to something bigger usually happens by grace. (However, we don’t see it as a grace at the time.) It can happen in dramatic fashion, too. Sometimes, we suffer total defeat. (12-step group adherents call this “hitting bottom.”) Other times, great love sweeps us away. It makes us forget ourselves. It invites us to surrender. But in either case, it’s usually not of our doing. It’s a true intervention. (Stories about this can be found in The Judas Syndrome.)
Coming by the willingness to lead a purpose and value-driven life is hard. But it’s easier when you possess a sound conscience. (A well-developed, properly formed conscience is the hallmark of good character.) Unfortunately, ours is the age of character disturbance and dysfunction. Accordingly, all too many among us have underdeveloped consciences. Conscience-impaired folks lack appropriate care and concern (i.e. empathy). So, they often behave in a hedonistic fashion. And they often act on impulse, too. For these and other reasons, they easily use and abuse in relationships.
I worked with character-impaired individuals for many years. And I consistently focused on helping them develop greater conscientiousness. To do that, I had to benignly confront and help them correct their thinking errors. I also had to benignly confront and help them correct some pretty nasty habits. (I’m speaking here of the habitual responsibility-avoidance behaviors I outline in In Sheep’s Clothing.) Slowly, they began to see things differently. Consequently, they began to think and act differently. Not all of them had a true change of heart (i.e. experienced metanoia) as a result. But some did. And whenever that happens, the results can be most impressive. (For more on this topic see: How to Spot a Converted Heart.)
The Mindfulness Key
Mindfulness is key to purposeful living. At any given moment we have a choice. We can allow baser inclinations to rule. Or, we can put ourselves squarely at the service of a higher cause. However, it’s no good if we do this reluctantly or resentfully. We have to do it both knowingly and freely. Fully and freely turning ourselves over to something bigger is liberating. It’s the way we free ourselves from the slavery of what usually drives our actions. Serving something higher, we begin to live purposefully, abundantly.
I’ll have more to say on this in the coming weeks.
22 thoughts on “A Guide to Purposeful Living”
I am sorry I am not on topic. I was just wondering can two Narcissists marry or are they generally just looking for someone who is unaware of their tactics and who can satisfy their need to be in control and be the center of the universe? Would two narcissists be repelled by each other because they are the same, or does it happen sometimes?
My understanding from what I have read is that, yes they can and do. There are different kinds of narcissists. My guess is that they would be different in their areas of being “special”. I would imagine that most go for a non narc though.
I would imagine if two narcs had a goal in common that may be enough to draw them together. I don’t know, but I think that may be a possibility since they are in it for themselves ultimately.
Yes, I think you may be right. I think eventually they will destroy each other.
I’m wracking my brain to see if I know of a married couple. I know in my employment arena many of the judges are narcs but I don’t know their spouses.
I’d love to watch the interplay between a narc couple. It would be amusing.
It is very common for narcs who hate each other to group together to take another person down.
Narcs do marry other narcs for many reasons that usually will be to the benefit of each other. A greater narc will marry a lesser.
Also, it is common in old age that the old decrepit malignant narc can be hooked in by a much younger narc looking to take advantage of the older. Remember, who really would want one of these CDN except one of their own kind.
Lucy is right about the court system being full of them, most attorneys I ever met are narcs along with the judges and the rest of the judicial systems, cops are also notorious narcs along with I would say 90% of all politicians.
You could call it poetic justice……..
It’s only amusing to actually hear them talk about them being abused by each other because of the incredible havoc they wreak on people of good character. Otherwise it’s just sad and infuriating. Watching your grandkids being emotionally abused and begging to come to your house to get a break from their own parents at 3-4 yrs old is quite literally heart breaking.
I had the RARE occasion to hear DIL say she thought a friend’s wife who got divorced from husband, “”she was NOT a NICE person”.
When I asked her why she stated how this girl would never be nice to my DIL and talk with her. AS SHE SAID THIS TO ME SHE ACTUALLY HAD A GUILTY LOOK COME OVER HER FACE?????
This DIL of mine came over to my house for 3 yrs prior to engagement as well as ALL the parties surrounding wedding and gave me the roll of the eyes, silence and other forms of disrespect. NOT ONE OF HER FRIENDS OR FAMILY INCLUDING HER WITCH MOTHER EVER HELPED HER WITH ANYTHING FOR HER WEDDING BUT ME.
I was smart enough to know though, that my son was trying to get me to pay for some of their wedding items such as flowers!!!
Didn’t care about the flowers for the first time in my LIFE, and I’m a flower girl!!!! Didn’t pay.
I know several couples who are married and narcissistic. They constantly have battles because neither one gives in. They both constantly run from anything that is hard. They abuse many people in the family including their own children. Mostly emotional abuse. Thankfully, and sadly two of the ones in my family are dead. They were miserable in every marriage, 3 and 2 marriages each. They were also miserable parents.
The other two I speak of are so selfish to their little kids, their parents and often each other. They lie all the time, if their mouths are moving they are either lying, exaggerating or conniving against someone. They laugh about all the evil they do to others. It’s very sick and we have disconnected from them.
Have any of you had a narcissistic grown child, sorry I can’t remember now, but I am wondering how you deal with it. Did you continue the relationship, do you talk to them even if you do not go in their presence, or did you go no contact? How is it working out? Thanks.
In the process of going no contact. They are just miserable people towards others.
I really feel for you, I have been thinking about your question since this afternoon. I am going to pray about this question. I am asking myself, what would Jesus do?
As for my CD son who shows up ever so often, maybe not for a few years, every 6 months and the visit does not last long. He will be nice for a short time and then he shifts to questioning, then accusing, actually lying because it his version or it never happened at all, then demanding an answer from me, to blaming me for all his problems in life. When I tell him I am not discussing past issues or tell him I will not be disrespected or manipulated he leaves.
I think he is a CDN, probably on the lesser side. I know he just stopped drinking and this can alter a persons personality too. Truly, it is sad to say a grown man acts this way but I refuse to be manipulated by fear, obligation, guilt, projection and their bags of sick tactics. When he leaves I am sad, at the same time relieved as I can’t tolerate people like this anymore.
One other thing that works is I start talking about Jesus love for us and about sin. That usually gets him to leave fairly quick too. I know he will pop up soon as he is living with a woman and she is going to have a baby soon. I really feel for her as one with his DC does not change just because of a child.
I also know he got engaged to her last year and the date was set for June, now pushed up till Sept. So what does that tell you. I really feel for the woman as she sounds like a nice lady, sadly, an enabler. I guess her husband died and left her with two children who are now in their teens.
I will pray for the best but I think once the novelty of fatherhood wears off and he is further restricted from living with the freedom he has enjoyed he will go back to his own ways.
It takes time for one to change, it is a process and doesn’t happen overnight.
One other comment, he always knows what he is doing………………….
I hope one day your son will be restored. Its hard to watch someone you love do those things, especially when they are your child. I think it was easier with the Narc ex than it is with my daughter. She has not been diagnosed and it can be confusing because sometimes she seems normal and other times she does many things that mirror her Dad.
Sometimes I get confused, is it me or her? I have my own issues. She is moving out of state and her husband offered my son a good job where he is at, so I guess I am having a meltdown, we all have always lived in the same area since they were born. Maybe I am reading into it but she seems to get great delight in telling me her brother will never come back here. I am glad that he is getting an opportunity for a better job, and it was an answer to my prayer, but its still hard.
It’s hard to see a loved one objectively, at least for me, but its the constant belittling comments, and I know I am allowing too much but I am confused as to where it starts and stops. I guess it doesn’t matter if she is a Narc or not, but if half the time I get off the phone I feel bad about myself that’s a sign something is wrong. Last weekend her and my granddaughter were telling me that two of my other grandchildren were identical not fraternal twins, I said no, their mother told me they were fraternal. They both said they were not and were laughing scornfully about it and saying “you learn something new every day huh. I said to text their mom (my son’s ex) and she said they are fraternal. After that I said “learn something new everyday huh” just to give them back their own words. They quickly changed the subject. She is training her daughter in this, she lies a lot and she is good at it. This is just an example of a lot of our interactions, her belittling me. It doesn’t matter what I say to her, it never changes.
There is so much going on here and from what I glean you are alone, by no means and easy place. So much is discombobulated and at odds and the games of one up, confusion, OMG and I do not say this in sacrilege.
In these days there is a culling going on, when it will end, though I think soon we can only stay in the light and pray.
I just got done speaking with my Mom this morning about my CDN siblings who treat her badly but are looking for the remaining assets. No will, I just told my Mother I am only concerned with her health care directives and leave me out of the money hoop. She is so frightened to do anything, sad to say it is her own offspring that are the ones that are causing her distress instead of helping, loving her and realizing once their mother is gone they will have no other, it doesn’t matter their hearts are hardened.
Many times we need to love enough to let go, put all our trust in Jesus and let him be in control and then take care of ourselves as our own children do not have the love inside them to care for us as we ourselves know is right. It is sad to think and acknowledge strangers have more regard for are well being.
As you know it is said ” As in the days of Noah so shall it be.” Prayer is our weapon and it is powerful, we are instructed to pray without ceasing and God does hear our prayers.
Kat, if you ever and I know we can be alone so alone if you would ever like to speak off the blog as it seems we have similar situations, contact Dr. I know it helps and above all being sisters in Christ is a Plus in prayer to uplift one another and in many times I have had others help lessen the burden of loss and pain.
This blog has been a blessing to me and many who I have met here, above all I know the power of HG can conquer anything, though it is the always the will of God. You, my Sis are now in my constant prayers. Let your son know he is always welcome to contact you, though beware of the manipulation and information gathering the CDN do as flying monkeys. I know as this happens to me.
Always take the high road, your son may need to learn some difficult lessons, but lines are being drawn. In your not taking offense, giving your blessing and most of all love sets you apart. Pray for both of them but at the same time let your son know you love him and your door is always open. God has more power indwelling in us, his children than those in the world.
Hugs, keep posting and know your not alone. Above all keep posting, we all care for you and feel your pain. Gods blessings and I do know how hard all this is and we have already endured so much already. I think us similar in age and know this, the prize is within our grasp, give it up for No One.
Gods Peace and Blessings Kindred Spirit
BTOV, I just wrote a response to you and it didn’t post for some reason, it said just what I wanted to say. Darn! Anyways, I feel bad for your poor Mom, they have no hearts. It is so good you are there for her, unless they change their ways we both know what will be their end. My son is not a narc, just extremely selfish. I wrote him a letter about forgiveness and how it is so important to forgive his Dad and ex wife or he will carry around anger, resentment and bitterness the rest of his life and how unfair that would be to him. But he doesn’t recognize what he is doing unfortunately. I thank you for your offer BTOV, I know it is heartfelt. I covet your prayers and would like to include you in mine as well. It would be good to know we are praying for each other and each others lost families.
You have such courage, you inspire me. I know I need to make a change in me, and put up a boundary when I am disrespected. Before I stayed fairly silent because I knew it wouldn’t make any changes to her, but I now see I need to speak out for me and not allow myself to be disrespected, its just not right. I have to do some thinking about that. The rest is up to her to deal with.
Its good to know we are sisters in Christ, your words are truly healing to me, they are loving and wise and I so appreciate you.
I can on say “thank you Jesus.” Its not me, God works through me and I am just a simple conduit. If I have helped in any way all the credit goes to Jesus as he works through me, otherwise, I am as corrupt as the next.
My heart goes out as I experience much of the sam as you, the only difference is it is God who leads me and any wisdom I shed is thorough our Lord Jesus Christ, it is of not me, at all, I say such I wonder how much I could have been if I had put all my trust in God. Now, I look forward to the end.
Never stop praying and never be ashamed of your love of Jesus.
Hugs and many blessings,
For all who forget “Well all are the Children of God.”
Love and Peace
I have a scenario to ask you about, here is a frequent type of interaction with my daughter which happened recently. I was saying where she is moving to would have a lower cost of living because you wouldn’t need a four wheel drive, you could buy a car. She came back with “I would never buy a car, I hate cars, and etc. about why she hates cars, but said in a defiant loud tone of voice which I believe she is trying to belittle my opinion with her over reaction to my idea. I know this doesn’t seem like much but this is just an example of what happens pretty frequently. I can’t really say anything because it sounds like just different opinions, but it is the harshness of her voice and the over reaction to what I say that tells me she is trying to belittle me. I will usually just stop talking about it at that point, and what can a person say to that? It seems like a covert way to belittle me. Sometimes I wonder is it me or her.
I know you have said quite a bit in the past and many of the things you have gone through in caring for others like your X you have my utmost respect. I think you said you have a boy and a girl. If so, can I ask their ages, I think you said she is married and you also have a few grandchildren.
Thank you, for asking me my opinion and that is all it is and will try to give it thought and answer accordingly from that point. I reread one of my posts and the errors, I need to wear my glasses and then my script is way off, also, using my Mac now and it keeps changing my wording and its all so small, Its like my Mac is trying to pre think my thoughts.
I am glad you are asking these questions as I seem to deal with a lot of the same. Perhaps, you can help shed some light too. Good questions.
Just a quick comment. You have been posting for some time now and you are always gentle in your demeanor, kind and non confrontational compared to some posters. I think your gut feelings in dealing with either your children, others that come and go in our life is always the best indicator. Above all and we agree on this, our spiritual compass is also very accurate.
I hate to hear about anyone having to deal with this type of put down, negativity, etc., especially from the children who are part of us and we gave life to, but in these times it shouldn’t surprise us when we know the word.
Stand strong, let the HS lead you and give you strength and peace. There may come a time and you will know it when you will have to walk away, rather than let your child bring you down. It will be painful to watch our loved one wallow at the bottom and at the same time we must pray they will cry out for mercy and Gods Grace. Many may not understand what I am talking about, I know you do and it will be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do in your life but at the same time it will take a love that many will never comprehend.
Know this, I am praying for you and your loved ones and God knows who you are and what is needed. Prayer is our most powerful weapon, just as I am grateful for your prayers
Thank you for your feedback about my character.
I think you are right, I will know if that time comes. I did with the ex, although I hung in there too long because he had me doubting myself, which believe me is not hard to do at times. But thank goodness for the Bible which guides us. I am praying for you and your loved ones as well, and your Mom – I hope she is can be at peace despite the vultures. That’s awful but I have heard this happens often, and some peoples hearts are as cold as ice. I hope I haven’t put you on the spot, I know public forums can be awkward. I thank you for your encouragement as a Christian, you just can’t get that from anyone else but another Christian and its the most important part of our lives.
BTOV, my daughter is 40, and my son is 38. I must mention, she does this to everyone, her daughter and her husband have been the targets of her anger when they have had a different opinion. She doesn’t do it all the time, but often enough. There are the lies she tells as well, that make a person look bad and manipulate others to think badly of you. But its always done behind your back and you only figure it out when someone says something about what you supposedly did or said to you.
I think computers are being programmed with so much artificial intelligence now that they are getting good at knowing a lot about a person. I was reading that the computers know where you look on a page and for how many seconds so they can find out your interest and habits for marketing. Its pretty scary to me. That’s the future.
Mothers day is coming up and I want to wish you a Happy Mothers Day. Do you have any children besides your son? I realize its a public forum so not sure how much you want to say.
I guess my goal is to change myself and how I react, I don’t want to tolerate rudeness and disrespect, its just wrong. Not with the goal of changing her, that’s up to her but to respect myself enough not to be treated with disrespect.
I missed this recent reply in-between my last reply to you. AI, the average person has no perception of what is going on with the Beast System…… This is why I suggested the other method of communication if you felt so inclined and the offer is alway open. Lets just put it this way, this is Dr. Simons blog a resource no other venue offers freely, Dr. allows us a open forum based on trust, so in this respect I will try to stay on the topics of DC and otherwise will try to tie it in how other sources can be relate to.
So much of our private information which was highly protected at a period in time, now it is being freely bought and sold by none other than the CDNSP in the world system. I will add to this statement Dr. Simon does not mine any of our information and he has in place as many resources as he can utilize to protect our information and identity.
I have 3 children, 2 boys and a girl between the ages of 46 and 41.
Thank you so much for the well wishes and at the same time I can only wish you the same but at the same time say a Prayer of Healing.
I will get back to you on this tomorrow. I know a friend will remind me to remember “Fear Not, God is in Control.” There will come a time where all this pain and suffering will be gone, He hears His children and above all we must remain faithful.
I will comment again soon to your post, you bring up some interesting questions and points. If somehow, I miss answering, as comments can come and go so fast, cut and paste it for me, but for now, to you Sis, A Blessed Mothers Day to you too.
You are gracious and understanding. It is indeed difficult to share our information as it is being mined by every source imaginable and in actuality serves no one except those who will use it to profiteer.
In the last para in your post to me Kat said: ” I guess my goal is to change myself and how I react, I don’t want to tolerate rudeness and disrespect, its just wrong. Not with the goal of changing her, that’s up to her but to respect myself enough not to be treated with disrespect.”
A while ago Dr. Simon did a series called the: The 10 commandments of Character Development. The intent is at some point in time Dr. Simon has a book coming out on this exact topic. Please go back and read all the Topics and posts as it is exactly what you are talking about. It’s about changing ourselves.
If you haven’t already, please take time and go into the archives and read as I think you will benefit immensely . I am not sure when Dr. Simon plans on publishing this book but I would think it should be soon as it has been in the works for some time now.
Just thought I would suggest if you weren’t aware of.