It seems that everyone is in search of happiness. The token phrase we often hear is, “I just want to be happy.” Or, “I just want you to be happy.” We’ve come to view happiness as the ultimate “life goal.” Like obtaining it will somehow solve all of our problems.
But why is happiness so elusive and difficult to find?
Because happiness is fleeting. Because happiness is a moment-to-moment emotion. And because happiness is not a long-term state of being.
We all find happiness from time-to-time, hopefully multiple times throughout each day. Sometimes these moments get strung together to give us the elusion (or delusion) of “finding” happiness. It’s in those moments that we wish we could bottle them up and keep them with us always. Going on vacations often string together these moments. But even joyous occasions can be anti-climatic, leaving us with a feeling of disappointment.
The real reason you haven’t found happiness is because you’re searching for the wrong thing. What you’re truly seeking is fulfillment.
I think many people simply got the two confused along the way, or never learned about fulfillment in the first place. Okay, so perhaps I’m describing myself. But maybe you’ve done this too?
How is fulfillment different from happiness?
Fulfillment is more permanent. When you’re fulfilled, your life consists of people and things you’re passionate about – a cause, meaningful work and loving relationships. To reach fulfillment, you need to feel as though your life has meaning.
You deserve to be fulfilled in life. You deserve to live a life you feel passionately about. To do work you feel passionate about doing. To be surrounded by people you love, who have your best interests in mind and who push you to be your best. You’re worthy and deserving of love and respect.
You deserve all the good that life has to offer, just like everyone else.
Of course there are still unhappy moments and even days in a life of fulfillment. But they become easier to weather when you’re happy with your life as a whole.
The mindset of seeking happiness is problematic because you believe that you should always feel good. When you seek happiness, you focus way too much on how you FEEL from one moment to the next. We must learn to live with some level of uncomfortableness. Life has many unpleasant, tedious, and monotonous moments. The sooner we accept this, the sooner we can stop the misguided search for happiness and focus on the true life goal, fulfillment.
The ability to withstand discomfort allows us to achieve our goals faster.
It’s never too late for a change of perspective.
Something you can do to work towards fulfillment right now is Identify Your Core Values (a handy download is available below!). Consistently living in alignment with our core values is essential to life fulfillment.
Core values act as a personal guide directing the behaviors and choices we make. They’re kind of like our personal rule books for living life. We all have them, even if they’re a bit loose. But defining clear-cut values makes life much simpler. For example, clearly defining our core values minimizes indecision.
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What are you passionate about? What brings you meaning in life?