What does it really mean to be fulfilled?

FulfilmentIn the last few days, I have been pondering on what it really means to be fulfilled. Why is it so important for us to be fulfilled and can fulfilment be attained? As with deep topics relating to life, there are many grey areas surrounding fulfilment but this is what I know; being fulfilled is tied to your calling and purpose in life. It goes beyond material or educational attainment. It is much deeper than that.

I want to share a piece I wrote a few years ago on the topic of fulfilment. I hope you learn something from it. We are all on a journey and it is my prayer that at the end of this journey, you would have lived a fulfilling life. Enjoy the piece ‘For the Love of a Fulfilling Life’:

I remember when I received that phone call informing me that I got the job I had applied for and I was to resume after the holidays. I was excited. Finally, my life is beginning to make sense. I had spent months at home doing absolutely nothing due to a series of unfortunate events. I felt that my life had lost its meaning and I struggled each day to motivate myself. I had applied to several companies and I never heard back from them. That only made me even more depressed.

Somehow, I managed to look past all the rejections and continue in my quest to get a job. The goal was to begin work and kick start my journey to financial independence, thereby living what I considered would be a more fulfilling life. That phone call gave me a jolt of energy that I had not felt in a long while and I couldn’t wait for the holiday to end. Ten months went by and everything was working according to plan; everything except this feeling of emptiness that I just could not shake off. Something was missing and it had something to do with the ‘ideal life’ I had pictured for myself.

Why was I feeling empty since I was beginning to achieve my goals? What more did I want? While debating these questions in my mind one day, the answer suddenly hit me. I had succumbed to society’s definition of what a fulfilled life ought to look like. We are made to believe that the pursuit of success symbols is the essence of life and society has burdened us by constantly showing us what a successful life looks like. The perfect job, all the money we can possibly acquire, the high status relationship…the list continues.  The pursuit of more seems to be the way of life that it appears absurd not join in the rat race that leads to nowhere.

I was finding myself being pulled into this rat race. I dreaded talking to my ‘friends’ or former classmates when I stayed at home doing nothing. I never wanted to answer that question “so what are you up to now?” because I didn’t have any fancy answer like I am an Associate at this consulting firm or a manager in an oil company. As I saw myself begin to dread waking up each morning and going to work, I knew deep within that I wasn’t fulfilled. The irony of the situation I found myself in made me ponder on what exactly fulfilment really is and how a person can achieve it, that is if at all it can be achieved.

Fulfilment can be defined as ‘the feeling of being happy and satisfied with your life because you are doing interesting, useful and important things’. Many confuse fulfilment with the pursuit of happiness. We are constantly moving towards what we feel will make us happy and happiness for us comes as a result of what we call success; that is achieving certain things we feel will make us happy. There is this happiness that comes with planning to do something and actually getting it done.

Fulfilment goes beyond what society calls a successful life. The ever–changing definition of success takes one on a disconcerting cycle which creates a void or a desire for something greater at best. Living a fulfilled life on the other hand is one of the deepest joys because you feel like your life is fully worth living and that you are fulfilling a greater purpose. You begin to realise why you were placed on this earth. That is the essence of life.

In my soul-searching, I discovered that fulfilment is not a destination; it is a journey. We don’t just achieve fulfilment in a moment and call it a day. Instead we strive towards a fulfilling life by ensuring that each day is lived with purpose and meaning. One of the first steps in this journey is to discover what your mission in life is. Why are you here? What is your purpose? I found that I could answer these questions by discovering God’s reason for creating me and I was right, God didn’t create me to move passively through life without any meaning or purpose. Instead He created me to make a difference in my generation by using the gifts and talents He has given me. Living a life of service is also an important part in living a fulfilled life. What legacy would you want to leave? What do you want to be remembered for? A lot of rich people get to a stage in their lives where they begin to give back to the society either through charitable donations or poverty alleviation projects. You don’t need all the money in the world to make a difference. All you need is to care about others and be willing to give what you have to those who don’t have.

I have commenced my journey to fulfilment and there’s no turning back. At the end of my journey I want to look back and say ‘a life well live, dedicated to service to God and man’. Martin Luther King Jr, in one of his many speeches made this statement: “occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfilment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”  I long for those types of moments in my life and you should too.

Photo Credit – Kamalaya.com


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