Why no one you know is happy

By September 28, 2018Blog

It is so common today to hear ourselves say we aren’t happy with our jobs, our relationships, our bodies, or our social status. So we seek activities that are more fun and entertaining. We try to avoid foods that aren’t blasting with ooey-gooey, mouth-watering flavors, claiming they are boring. Buying fancy cars, clothing, and accessories to feel the rush of happiness and excitement from the new purchase and we call it “retail therapy.”

When we do all these things in the name of happiness, is it possible we are actually seeking fulfillment?

Our Declaration of Independence states that we have an unalienable right to pursue happiness. Happiness, being an emotion, is fleeting and superficial. The fresh-baked cookies or new clothes can give you happiness, but they won’t fulfill you.  Alcohol or drugs provide happiness or the absence of sadness, but they don’t offer fulfillment. Television and social media can potentially evoke happiness, but they rarely fulfill.

Fulfillment follows effort. Fulfillment comes when you invest a portion of your time and energy into a task, or a project, or another person. Taking care of yourself with physical activity and wholesome foods leads to a feeling of pride and self-fulfillment.

It is common for us to get a new client who has an enviable lifestyle: Nice cars, clothing, and a powerful career. A nice circle of friends with whom they have dinners out and enjoy quality wine routinely. Yet, they never had a chance to invest time in themselves: in their own body and health. Occasionally, they even mention to us their feelings of being unhappy yet feeling guilty about having that feeling because they are aware of their privileges.

Those are the people who become more fulfilled when they give their bodies the right amounts of better-quality foods. Those people become fulfilled when they exercise for a purpose. The exact purpose varies person to person, but that purpose becomes a part of their lives. The purpose is greater than any goal.

Having fun is a goal. Connecting with friends is a purpose. Connecting doesn’t require specific food, beverages, or entertainment, but it does require sincere and thoughtful interaction.

Losing weight is a goal. Loving your body is a purpose. Loving your body doesn’t require it to look a certain way, but it does mean you will treat it a certain way.

Train with a purpose each and every time you enter the gym. Eat with a purpose as a general rule and limit the opportunities of using food and drink as entertainment.

The feeling of knowing you have contributed to something of value, even if it is intangible, is an empowering feeling. Empowerment brings satisfaction and fulfillment. It will require your dedication, discipline, and planning. It requires your effort. When you are investing that much of your effort and energy, you will see progress. You will feel proud. You will have no fear of missing out. You will be self-confident and not easily influenced by your peers.

For more reading about happiness versus fulfillment, check out this blog post by Michael Hedrick on PsychCentral.com.

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