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Stop Seeking Higher Purpose and Discover your Lower One

(Not ‘higher’ in terms of heavenly. Not ‘lower’ in terms of Earth or hell. This is not a spiritual article.)

You want to take the high road, learn from all life’s challenges, and come out the other side more enlightened. So do I.

Wanting to find a higher purpose when bad things happen makes a lot of sense. Yet, sometimes life – and our behavior – makes much more sense when viewed through the lens of a lower purpose along the low path!


What’s a lower purpose?

It’s the sobering reality that we often seek out the very things we complain about. Your lower purpose compels you to make bad decisions and feel bad about yourself. When you feel tempted to go ahead and screw things up again; when you can’t help but feel awful about yourself, rest assured that you are acting out of lower purpose.

Wouldn’t it make sense to understand more about lower purposes and lower paths? When you do, you may even be able to correct your lower purpose. One day, you may even find yourself on a higher path, without having to worry that you’re going to fall off.

Let’s go there. Let’s take a sobering look at lower purposes.

Your lower purpose is to continue playing out all of the negative scenarios you’ve experienced in life – again and again.

Some examples of lower purpose in action:

Your parents rejected you, so you find a mate that tends to reject you.

Your father betrayed your mother. You betray your partner, or find an untrustworthy partner.

Your parents were cold and distant from you, so you are cold and distant from your kids.

Your parents were controlling, so you are drawn toward controlling people.

You were often embarrassed and humiliated in school, so you anticipate more of the same wherever you go.

You watched your parents get taken advantage of again and again. You get taken advantage of again and again.

And so on. Your lower purpose justifies decisions to put yourself into these kinds of situations as an adult. When you’re in these situations, you feel awful. Your lower purpose continues recycling these awful feelings as if you actually wanted them to be part of your life.

What’s the higher purpose in the lower purpose?

You could say that the higher purpose is to learn something, to move beyond the conditioning and enjoy more freedom and choice.

However, knowing the higher purpose often isn’t all that helpful unless you really understand the lower one. The problem is, your lower purpose is sneaky. It doesn’t want to be caught. Your job is to catch it!

The sneakiness of the lower purpose is contained in the justification it offers. In other words, you are compelled to excuse or enable the very decisions and behaviors that make you vulnerable to rehashing all the pain.

Some examples:

I know he looks untrustworthy, but he’ll change.

Just this once. I’ll be good again tomorrow.

I can’t help myself.

I know my kids needs me, but nobody was ever there for me as a child. They’ll be fine.

This is my lot in life, to feel like a fool.

In other words, we talk ourselves right into living out the lower purpose. Higher purposes don’t stand a chance as long as we do this.

The higher/lower purpose frame of reference is to get us to understand that we are universally prone to self-sabotage. And there are  (often hidden) aspects of our personalities that don’t seem to mind this fact. In fact, we often find ourselves down on that low path, making excuses to stay there.

This is why I suggest we uncover and get to know the lower purpose – the parts of ourselves that seem to be OK with self-sabotage. There seems to be plenty to learn and so much more opportunity to grow by doing so.

It requires an openness to the fact that we can all be a bit twisted, but self-sabotage is really worth understanding. To learn more about why self-sabotage exists and take steps to overcome it, watch this free and enlightening video.

Stop Seeking Higher Purpose and Discover your Lower One

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2015). Stop Seeking Higher Purpose and Discover your Lower One. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Aug 2015
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