If you are struggling, you will never find self-fulfillment.
That is the lie I believe we have all been told. We cannot be happy or fulfilled if we are in constant struggle.
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The issue, however, is not the adversity itself, but how we perceive it. We regard struggle as negative, and to struggle is to fail. But it isn't.
To struggle means to advance, learn, improve, and grow.
At the best of times, self-fulfillment is elusive, but when faced with adversity, it appears to be even more difficult to find. Life is difficult and never seems to go as planned. Life just keeps getting in the way, seemingly throwing new obstacles in our path to personal fulfillment.
We're still trying to figure out how to start living a life of self-fulfillment, that feeling of pure happiness and knowing we're doing the right thing at the right time. That feeling that, no matter what, we made a difference in the world today.
In this article, you will learn what true fulfillment is and how to achieve it even in difficult times.
What Exactly Is Self-Fulfillment?
The fulfillment of one's hopes and ambitions through personal growth is referred to as self-fulfillment. It is about realizing your full potential, achieving success, and creating a happy life to be proud of.
It appears simple enough: in order to feel fulfilled, you must achieve your hopes and ambitions. Isn't fulfillment simply long-term happiness?
Happiness vs. Fulfillment
Fulfillment and happiness are not synonymous. Happiness is a fleeting emotion; it comes and goes until the next thing makes you happy.
Fulfillment is much more long-term and considers the big picture. Feeling fulfilled does not imply being happy and joyful all day, every day. Some days will be difficult, but if you are doing something you believe in, something you want to do with all of your soul, you will find contentment and fulfillment in your personal life.
It is not a happy or sad feeling, but rather an underlying feeling of complete love. You can love someone and be annoyed by them at the same time, but you know you love them. That is happiness.
5 Steps to Creating Self-Fulfillment in Adversity
In the face of adversity, here's how to cultivate self-fulfillment in your life:
1. Determine Your Core Values
What are your core values, and why are they so important to you?
Our core values are the characteristics that we admire or cherish in others that we value the most in the world.
If you meet someone who is your type of person but you can't put your finger on why, you've met someone whose core values are similar to yours. For example, if honesty is one of your core values, you will value and admire an honest person. You will have an unspoken aversion to dishonest people, just as you will have an unspoken aversion to dishonest people.
But how do your core values impact your self-actualization?
How you will find fulfillment is determined by who you are. If you want to realize all of your hopes and dreams, having a road map will make it much easier to figure out where to go. Every decision and interaction is influenced by your core values. You can't feel fulfilled if you're doing something that contradicts their values.
If you are an honest person who does dishonest work, you will be unsatisfied and will face adversity within yourself.
How do you come up with your core values?
There are several methods for determining your core values, but one quick method is to look at a list of them and choose the ones that you relate to the most. More information can also be found in this article: How to Discover Your Personal Values in Order to Live a Meaningful Life
The first step toward fulfillment is living in accordance with your core values. Once you start looking for them and making changes in your life to eliminate anything that contradicts them, you will notice your adversity fade away as you embrace a life you can be proud of.
2. Determine Your True Hopes and Ambitions
Work out your own hopes and ambitions, not those that others have told you to have.
Now that you know what your core values are, you can move on to figuring out what you want to do. What kind of person do you want to be? What are your plans? Playing the banjo for a living in Bali? Giving up your career to start a charity? Or do you want to give up your charity in order to work for a corporation?
We are not born with the knowledge of what makes us happy. We must discover it through trial and error, but fear frequently prevents us from doing so. We all feel ashamed of our interests and choices at some point in our lives. In order to avoid pain, we conform to what society expects of us and stop experimenting.
Our dreams become relegated to the back of our minds as life becomes too hectic for us to be concerned about them. We take jobs we don't want and fill the void with fun activities, food, and material goods because something is missing in our hearts.
Our dreams are the key to achieving a sense of fulfillment, which will lead to improved mental health.
3. Accept Your True Identity
Whatever you desire and whatever your core values are, you will never find fulfillment unless you accept yourself.
We deny accepting ourselves as we are because someone has told us at some point or many points in our lives that we aren't good enough, worthy enough, or simply wrong in some way.
It's critical to remember that flaws are subjective in this case. Your flaws, for which you have been chastised, are not flaws at all; they are simply incompatibilities with certain people. For example, if you are a very honest person, some may criticize you for being too direct, whereas others will praise you for your candor.
Accept yourself as you are. You don't have to change the world to be important or special, but by accepting yourself and embracing who you are, you can change someone's world.
4. Recognize That Change Is Inevitable Self-actualization is a fluid concept
You grow, learn new skills, and discover new opportunities—in a nutshell, you level up. You are constantly changing, developing new core values, and your dreams and goals evolve along with you.
Our own obsession with avoiding change is a common adversity we face. The root of anxiety is frequently our inability to control the uncontrollable.
But how does this relate to self-actualization?
The thing about fulfillment is that it is the feeling of having achieved your hopes, dreams, and goals, which are constantly changing. Holding on to your old self's goals when something important in your life has changed will not get you anywhere.
You are constantly evolving into a new person, and you cannot feel fulfilled if you pursue someone else's dreams. The old you is holding you back, so let it go and embrace this new, ever-changing you.
5. Recognize that happiness comes from living in the present moment
To be happy, you must embrace the journey, with all of its ups and downs and adversity.
We have this idea that once we achieve a goal, buy that house, or marry that person, we will be happy for the rest of our lives. Self-fulfillment, on the other hand, is deeply personal, a reflection of who you are and who you want to be. It is a continuous process; it cannot be accomplished in a single event.
You don't buy a house, have children, and get a dog and expect to be happy for the rest of your life. Because of our human nature, we are constantly driven to seek better and more. We are biologically programmed to do so, which means that no single event or goal can help us achieve fulfillment.
Fulfillment must be a daily process of embracing what you do and working toward your dream by providing value in a way that only you can.
You will always face adversity, but you don't have to struggle through it. You have the ability to change your life at any time, to change the adversity you are facing, or to change your perspective on the problem and situation.
To thrive, self-fulfillment requires gratitude, acceptance, and understanding. Without them, it is difficult to truly embrace that feeling of limitless contentment.
The most important thing to remember is that you can overcome any adversity, big or small. The biggest misconception about self-fulfillment is that it is eternal and limitless, which it is not. It comes and goes with the tides, but embracing and truly appreciating those key moments is what gives you the energy and strength to overcome any adversity.
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You have heard it all before: "Live life to the fullest", "follow your dreams", "be who you are" and "if it is meant to be, it will be". These are all wonderful quotes that are meant to help you live a happy life but they miss the point. Our lives are interconnected with each other and with the world.
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