Let’s be real. There is a tonne of reasons that you aren’t feeling fulfilled and rather than getting all Eat Pray Love and ditching your current life like last season’s dress, I encourage you to do the following:
Step 1: Lift your arms into a shrug
Step 2: Say these words “eh, sometimes life is just life.”
Chasing ‘fulfilment’ and throwing in the towel when the going gets even remotely mediocre is, I am ashamed to say, a very-millennial thing. Do not chase me with a pitchfork just yet, I am saying this as a millennial and as a person who wants to live a ‘fulfilling’ life. So I have created this list for both you and myself; the list to explain why we aren’t feeling fulfilled.
We are putting all of our eggs in one basket
I don’t know about you but I have quite a few eggs; a full-time job, a part-time blog, a banging boyfriend, a dysfunctional & cross-country family, a varied group of friends and last (but not least) me.
Expecting all of these things to all be performing at 100% fulfilment 100% of the time in a synchronized melody is not only unrealistic, it is just plain bananas.
Some weeks (heck, some months), work is just work. It isn’t necessarily scooting around Google HQ on your bike, sipping your green juice kind of work. It is just plain, old-fashioned work. You know, the kind our parents and grandparents did. And I don’t know about you but my grandparents didn’t scoot from one job the next everytime they felt the grind.
And do you know what? No matter how much I love Brandon (the aforementioned boyfriend) we might not always be skipping around a field, with our fingers interlocked singing happy songs. Just because our relationship is not a cupcake of fulfilment it does not meant that it’s not adding immense value to my life. Even when our relationship is just chugging along, we are still making a conscious decision to choose each other every single morning when we wake up. This steady foundation allows both of us to seek fulfilment in other aspects of our life; I find this especially helpful during the times where another element of my life is pulling more focus and energy (*cough* work *cough*).
The long-winded point I am trying to make here is that if I 100% relied on work for fulfilment I would be sorely disappointed. Just as, if I solely relied on Brandon and our relationship for fulfilment I would be sorely disappointed. You cannot rely on a single thing to provide you with 100% of your fulfilment! Spread your eggs out into different baskets.
You are looking outwards, not inwards
When I talk about ‘looking outwards’ I am referring to two things:
- Seeking fulfilment from other people
- Looking at other people with the ‘grass is always greener’ blinders on
Looking outwards to seek fulfilment from other people is a dangerous game that you do not want to play (although we are all guilty). And let me tell you why:
- Firstly, your fulfilment is reliant on their mood; I don’t know about you but just because my best friend is having a particularly shitty day, it doesn’t mean I want to have a shitty day too.
- Secondly, what happens if that person was to leave your life? Would you really want them to take your fulfilment and happiness with them? Hell no! They can take their baggy shirt you like sleeping in and that is it!
- Lastly, and to be brutally frank, it is plain selfish to expect anyone to fulfil you. Putting that much pressure on your partner, friend or family is not fair. It is your responsibility to fulfil yourself, just as it is your responsibility to bathe yourself. You aren’t five-years-old anymore Rebecca.
The other way people ‘look outwards’ is the good ol’ game of viewing someone’s life and thinking that the grass is greener. Do you know what? Not to get all 90-year-old grandma on you but I blame social media (and I also kind of blame @elisecook – I love you but damn she makes life look good). If you jump onto Elise Cook’s Instagram, it is easy to assume that the world is a heavenly place full of oceans, rainbows, and fulfilment. Guess what? Not the freaking case. I have no doubt in my mind that your favourite influencer and their partner (#BoyfriendsofInstagram) have petty fights, that they poop somewhere on the national average spectrum* and that they don’t feel fulfilled across all aspects of their life 100% of the time. To make any form of life decision based on your perception of someone else’s life will lead you down a crazy road that will not take you to the Destination: Fulfilment.
*If you were wondering the national poop average is anywhere between 3 times a week to 3 times a day. Don’t ask how or why I know that, just say thank you and be on your way.
What we need to do instead is look inwards. Look into our souls, brains and being and seek fulfilment from in there. A sure-fire shortcut to seeking fulfilment? Personal development. When you develop yourself and are performing to your standards, life is a pretty cool place to be, but more on this soon.
Your diet/fitness is less than desirable
Food is medicine. Dedicate more time to improving your food and increasing your fitness and you are well on your way. I am in no way an expert in this so I am not even going to try to delve into this topic.
You are a hormonal freak-of-nature
Ladies, two words: bleeding hoohaas. I don’t know about you but it is hard to feel particularly fulfilled when my uterus is busy shedding and my insides are cramping. But guess what? There are another 3 weeks in our wonderful 28-day cycles, which is full of hormonal peaks and troughs. Let your body feel through this and don’t expect yourself to be on cloud nine all of the time.
You are forgetting to count your blessings
Put your hands up in front of you. What do you see? 10 fingers? Sweet. 9 fingers? Heck, at least you still have hands.
Go open your fridge, is there food? Yes. Amazing.
Open your Smartphone, log into your banking app and see how much money is in your bank account? Money? You are doing fine.
No, I am not giving you an ultra-patronizing lesson in gratitude, but I am bringing it back to basics. Counting your blessings can be a very grounding experience. If I am feeling ‘unfulfilled’ or ‘hard done by’, and I can catch myself out on it, I try to imagine telling a child in a war-torn country how hard done by I am and that quickly resets my thought process.
You have plateaued
In my opinion, the biggest reason that you feel like you are lacking fulfilment is that you have hit a plateau. How do I know this? Because, like me, you are a go-getter. And us go-getters do not like standing still. We feel anxious, guilty and dissatisfied which leads to feelings of unfulfilment.
For me, the definition of success is not driving that car or going on that holiday or wearing that label. Instead, my definition of ‘success’ means that I am making a significant contribution to my field of expertise and/or passion. When I feel as though I am not on the upwards trajectory to hit that goal of ‘success’ I do not feel like I am living each day with purpose and therefore I am not being fulfilled.
So what do I do? I educate myself by reading books, studying behaviours, furthering my formal education, seeking mentorship and utilizing the world wide web which is literally bursting at the seams with resources. My definition of success is very work oriented but I also know that work (as much as I love it) will sometimes just feel like the daily grind. That is another reason I started this blog that you are reading today, it is yet another egg in the basket to help me feel fulfilled. I can work on my craft, upskill and utilise tools and techniques without relying on work.
Okay, breathe. I know we have covered a lot today but I do not want you leaving this page without some concrete actions.
6 things I want you to action right now:
- Write down 5 different ways you can source fulfilment
- Write down this affirmation five times: “It is unrealistic of me to want to feel fulfilment every single moment of every single day – not even Oprah is on that level.”
- Make a plan of how you are going to add value to your own life through education (it can be as simple as listening to a Podcast episode every day this week)
- Remember that when life isn’t particularly fulfilling you have the option to shrug and say out loud “eh, sometimes life is just life.”
- Think of one element of your life that is making you fulfilled right this very moment. LEAN IN TO THAT!
- Sign up for my newsletter (scroll to the bottom of this page) so I can feel fulfilled (whoops, sorry I am seeking fulfilment by looking outwards – did I learn nothing?!?!)
Thank you so so so much for reading,