Is there a difference between happiness and fulfillment?
I believe there is... particularly when it pertains to your dream(s).
I think happiness is really a state of mind, a choice, an attitude or an approach to a moment, to your day, or your overall life. We can seek to find the good in things, the positive point of view, glass half full... and I think our ability to allow ourselves to be happy in the NOW is important because it will shape how we approach almost everything we do.
Fulfillment is another story. In the American consumer culture, we are taught from birth to want MORE - bigger, better, other. When I have __________ (fill in the blank) then...
Generally, people also (eventually) look for meaning, for peace maybe. We want to have an impact. We want to be loved. We want to fill that hole in the center of ourselves that never seems to get full. So we look to things, products, books, science, psychology, philosophy, religion or spirituality, and of course other people -- our spouse, our kids, our pets -- or our jobs and any number of other things to finally find that ANSWER.
The ONE thing.
We confuse the attainment of __________ with fulfillment in general. And we usually confuse happiness with this too equating one with the other.
As we've discussed before - I also think there's a difference between contentment and fulfillment too.
But here I talk about Dreams... your Vision for your life and of course about writing things down. My fundamental philosophy is that you cannot ever obtain what you truly want and need for your life if you don't take the time to think about what that is. And the best way I have found to do that is by writing - IN DETAIL.
So who cares? Why all the wordsmithing?
I bring it up because I think people can become easily disillusioned and disappointed when we put all our emphasis on complete fulfillment and expect THAT to be attainable goal or part of our vision.
As a spiritual person, I simply do not believe human beings are designed to ever reach and subsequently maintain FULFILLMENT in this life. I think we were created to seek more, to learn more, to do more, to BE more... all in that quest to 'fill in' and "complete" ourselves. We look for that sense of wholeness primarily from our spouse, kids, or job... but I think THAT too is unrealistic and actually can be a little destructive sometimes (context, please :)
We've forgotten the simple truth that there really can be Joy in the Journey.
We don't like to wait. To be still.
And honestly, we're often so busy filling our days with activities, trying to get from here to there or to drown out the pain we're in that we miss out. We succumb to the 'live and let live' or 'whatever happens is meant to happen' cliche rather than ACT. Because if we ACT, then we're accountable. Uh oh!
Then again, we get so focused on attaining that next thing and so afraid to lose any ground that we sacrifice the real future we want for the immediate gratification of now.
So we go in one of two directions: (for example)
- We settle for a 'good enough' or maybe even a great person or job available now rather than continue to be alone/lonely or wait for our ideal, the soulmate, etc. OR
- We focus ONLY on that dream and neglect or forget to LIVE.
I truly BELIEVE the key here is to BALANCE -- to allow ourselves to be and experience happiness in our daily lives while we work toward achieving our goal: our vision for our life. So it becomes even more important then to write down that Vision - to define it, clearly, coloring in the features of it so when we DO get it, we recognize it for what it is...
...and don't expect it to deliver on something it can't: THE complete, sustainable fulfillment for our life: mind, heart, and soul.
So once again -
WHAT DO YOU WANT? What is your dream, your vision for you?
THINK about what you want in your spouse --- Write it down.
THINK about what you want in/for your 'job' --- Write it down.
THINK about who and what you want to be --- Write it down.
RECOGNIZE/ACKNOWLEDGE what is in your heart of hearts --- Write that down too!
All those things you write down will give you some insight into YOU! From there, you can DECIDE what's important and order your steps accordingly! When you do that - you're on your way to achieving your VISION! Your DREAM!
Don't be afraid to be accountable for it and don't expect it to be more than what it is! If you master those two things, then I think your choice to be happy now will be an easier choice to make.
THINK. WRITE. BELIEVE. ACT.