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Last Updated on January 6, 2020

5 Steps to Create Self-Fulfillment in Times of Adversity

5 Steps to Create Self-Fulfillment in Times of Adversity

You will never find self-fulfillment if you are struggling.

That is the lie I felt like we are all told. If we struggle, we cannot be happy and therefore cannot be fulfilled.

But the problem isn’t the adversity itself, it is the way we look at it. We see struggle as bad and, to struggle is to fail. But it’s not.

To struggle is to progress, to learn, to improve, to grow.

Self-fulfillment is an elusive concept at the best of times but when faced with adversity, it seems near impossible to find. Life is hard, messy and doesn’t ever seem to go the way we plan. Life just keeps getting in the way, seemingly throwing new obstacles for us to hurdle over in order to reach fulfillment but it’s like with every hurdle, the finish line just gets further away.

We still search for self-fulfillment, that feeling of pure happiness and knowledge that we are doing the right thing at the right time. That feeling that no matter what, we added value into the world today and we are so proud of us.

In this article, you will discover what true fulfillment is, and how to achieve self-fulfillment even during tough times.

What Is Self-Fulfilment?

Self-fulfillment is the fulfilment of one’s hopes and ambitions.

Sounds simple enough, to feel fulfilled, you have to achieve your hopes and ambitions and at a glance, that doesn’t seem too hard. But isn’t fulfillment just long term happiness?

Fulfillment vs Happiness

Fulfillment and happiness are not the same thing. Happiness is a temporary state, it happens and it goes away until the next thing makes you happy.

Fulfillment is much more long term, more about the bigger picture. To feel fulfilled doesn’t mean to be happy and joyous all day long everyday. Some days are going to be bad, but if you are doing something you believe in, something you want to do be doing with all of your soul, you will be fulfilled.

It is not a feeling of happiness or sadness, it’s an underlying feeling of complete love. You can love someone and still be annoyed at them, but you know you love them. That is fulfillment.

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Why Is Self-Fulfillment Important?

You are reading this because you are struggling, you don’t feel like fulfilled in your life and you are looking for the answer that you’re missing.

When you feel fulfilled in your life, it’s like you are never looking for the emergency escape door, and it is a delicate balance to get it right. When you do find it, you get that warm cosy feeling all the winter movies promise.

5 Steps to Create Self-Fulfillment in Times of Adversity

Here’s how to create self-fulfillment in your life in the face of adversity:

1. Work out What Your Core Values Are

What are your core values and why are they important?

Our core values are the qualities we value most in the world; characteristics we admire or cherish in others.

If you meet someone and they are your type of person and you can’t explain why, you have met someone whose core values are in alignment with yours. For example, if one of your core values is honesty, you will value and like an honest person. Just like if you meet a dishonest person, you will have an unspoken aversion to them.

But how do your core values affect your self-fulfillment?

Who you are defines how you will find fulfillment. If you want to achieve all of your hopes and dreams, it is much easier to find out where to go if you have a road map. Your core values affect every decision, interaction and build up the person you call yourself. You can’t feel fulfilled if you are doing something that goes in direct contradiction to them.

If you are an honest person and you are doing dishonest work, you will not be fulfilled and you will without doubt, be facing adversity within yourself.

How do you find your core values?

There are several ways to work out what your core values are but a quick way is to look at a list of them and pick the ones you relate to the most.

The first key to fulfillment is to live in alignment with your core values, once you start to find them and make adjustments to your life to cut out anything that goes against them, your will start to find your adversity fading away as you embrace a life that you want.

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2. Work out What Your Real Hopes and Ambitions Are

Notice I mean work out your own hopes and ambitions, not the ones you have been told to have.

Now you know what your core values are, you can move forward on working out what is it truly that you want to do. Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? Play a banjo in Bali for a living? Giving up your corporate life to start a charity? Or do you want to give up your charity to take a corporate job?

We all grew up being influenced by so many factors and people. None so more than our parental figures, who in most cases, only wanted the best for us. They told us who we were going to be so we could be successful and we didn’t have to struggle as they struggled. But nowhere, down the line, did anyone actually stop to ask what you wanted and who you wanted to be?

We aren’t born with the knowledge of what makes us feel fulfilled, we have to find it through trial and error but fear stops us from searching. At some point in our lives, we get ashamed for our interests and choices. To avoid pain, we conform to what the populus want us to do and we stop experimenting. Our dreams get confined to the back of our heads and life gets too busy for us to worry about them. We take the jobs we don’t really care about and fill the void with fun activities, food and material goods because there is something in our hearts that is missing.

The dreams we have are the key to fulfillment.

If you want to feel like you are achieving your hopes and dreams, then you have to actually be doing something to do with your hopes and dreams, not the dreams you have been told to have because of fear.

If you’re trying to figure out your dreams, this article can help you: How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life

3. Accept Your True Self

Whatever it is you want and whatever your core values are, you are never going to reach fulfillment without self-acceptance.

Who you are is who you are, and there is nothing wrong with who you are.

Sure, you’re not everyone’s cup of tea. But I have some news for you, some people out there, don’t like drinking tea. Most people drink turmeric lattes nowadays!

The reason we deny accepting ourselves as we are is because at some point or many points in our lives, someone has told us we aren’t good enough, we aren’t worthy and who we are is wrong.

To that person, that may have been true to them. But here is the long hidden secret about people, flaws are subjective. Your flaws that you have been criticized for aren’t flaws at all, they are just incompatibilities with certain people. That flaw you were criticized for (shall we say Honesty), you were once too honest and someone told you it was bad. Someone else might appreciate your candor while you hung onto the negative that no one will like you if you’re honest.

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Your flaw is actually a benefit in the eyes of somebody else. Which means, you can’t have flaws at all, you just have qualities that some other people don’t like. Some people will and some people won’t and that is okay.

Accept yourself for who you are, worts and all. You don’t have to change the world to be important or special. But by embracing who you are and accepting yourself, you can change somebody’s world.

Learn how: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

4. Understand That Change Is Not Only Important, but Inevitable

Fulfillment is fluid.

I have spent the first 2 steps telling you fulfilment is based on who you are and your core values but, can you honestly tell me you haven’t changed?

You grow, learn new skills and unlock new possibilities, you level up. You are always changing, you grow new core values, your dreams and goals grow and evolve as you do.

A common adversity we face is our own obsession with avoiding change. We hate change, change isn’t safe, survival instincts kick in and we don’t know what could happen, we aren’t prepared and we lose control.

The core of anxiety is our lack of ability to control the uncontrollable.

We hate change but one of the most dependable things in the world is that everything changes. We all change, all the time. We suddenly decide we like marmite now, we buy new hats to mix it up a bit. When we control the change, we are fine; but with the stuff we can’t control, we go a little bananas.

But how is this relevant to self-fulfillment?

Well the thing about fulfillment is, it is the feeling of achieving your hopes, dreams and goals and they are always changing. By trying to hold onto your old self’s goals and thinking hitting them will make you feel fulfilled, is just silly.

You are evolving to become a new person all the time and you can’t feel fulfilled if you are hitting someone else’s dreams, hopes and goals. The old you is holding you back, it’s time to let them go and embrace this new ever changing you.

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Which leads us to the next step.

5. Understand That Fulfillment Comes from Living in the Moment, Not Hitting a Goal or a Task.

To be fulfilled, you have to embrace the journey, with all its ups and downs and all its adversity.

We have this idea that once we hit a goal, buy that house, marry that spouse, that is it, we will feel fulfilled forever. But fulfillment is deeply personal, it is a reflection of who you are and who you want to be. It’s an ongoing process; it can’t be achieved through one event.

You don’t buy a house, have kids and get a dog and then just go Bam, Fulfilled Forever! That is not in human nature, humans are driven to constantly seek better and more. We are biologically programmed to do so, which means one event or one goal cannot possibly help us create fulfillment.

Fulfillment has to be a daily process of embracing what you are doing and working towards your dream by offering value in a way that only you can.

Try these 34 Ways To Live in the Moment And Grow in the Moment.

Final Thoughts

You will always face adversity, but you don’t always have to struggle while you face them. You have the opportunity to change your life at any time, change the adversity you are facing or change the way you look at the problem and situation.

By working out what you value, what you really want, and understanding that it could all change at any moment, you have to accept yourself for who you are and live in the moment. This is the swiftest way to self-fulfillment.

Self-fulfillment needs gratitude, self acceptance and understanding to thrive. Without them, it is hard to really embrace that feeling of unlimited contentment.

The most important thing you need to know is that you can overcome any adversity, no matter how big or small. The biggest illusion about self-fulfillment is that it is eternal and endless, it’s not. It comes and goes with the tides but embracing those key moments and really appreciating them are what give you the energy and strength to overcome any adversity.

More About Finding Fulfillment in Life

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

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Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Get Unstuck in Life and Live a More Fulfilling Life

How to Get Unstuck in Life and Live a More Fulfilling Life

We all know the feeling—when you sense that you are not completely happy and fulfilled with your life—things are not where and how you envisage them to be. You go through the motions everyday, angry with yourself and the universe for throwing you such an unfavorable dice.

You can’t help yourself but feel a perennial envy towards those who are smiled upon by karma—the lucky individuals who seem to have the Midas touch and everything they undertake ends up with success, recognition and greater opportunities. Life must be so exiting.

Unlike yours.

We call this sensation many names: I’ve hit a wall; I’m not making progress; I’m stagnant; I’m moving in loops; Something is off in my life; I’m off balance.

Or simply: feeling stuck.

In this article, we’ll look into the reasons behind this feeling and how to get unstuck in life and live a more fulfilling life.

Is Being Stuck Really Such a Bad Thing?

Is it really so bad to be stuck in the status quo? After all, not everyone can be a super-star, right? What’s wrong with living a quiet life, with not many turns and twists and just going with the flow?

True—there is not much fun in this, but there is not disappointment, anxiety, stress and ill-ambition either. Life is easy and uncomplicated.

So why do we keep hearing over and over from the greats that staying is one place is not a good thing?

Tony Robbins gives us an elegantly simple answer to this question:

“If you are not growing, you are dying. “

“Progress equals happiness,” he says. “That ’s because reaching a goal is satisfying but only temporarily. Life is not about achieving the goals, life is about who you become in pursuit of those goals.”[1]

There you have it—staying in one place makes us unhappy.

We all know that the comfort zone can be great. It’s like a warm old blanket you wrap yourself around on a cold winter night, cuddled in front of your favorite TV show.

But just because something feels comfortable, does it mean it’s ok to stick to it forever?

Progress equals happiness, remember.

You may not even fully be aware of the small voice in the back of your mind that’s been bugging you, but you better learn to listen carefully—because you may wake up one day and realize that your productive life is gone and you haven’t achieved many of the things you wanted for yourself.

Pretty gloomy picture, indeed.

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Simply put, what the wise men advise us of is not just some self-help fluff for them to gain more popularity or sell more books. It is true—as you will learn below—that not moving forward, not even making the effort to do better or become better—even if you don’t always succeed in these endeavors—is a mental demise and a waste of your potential.

The Common “Stucks”

There are many reasons why you may feel stagnant in your life—some may be completely out of your control even. The main thing, though, is to be able to identify the reasons and then try to take some remedial actions.

But it starts with an awareness—because you can’t fix what you don’t know about, right?

Here are some of the main contributors to your feelings of stuck-ness:

You Lack Purpose in Your Life, or the “Why” of What You Do

Simon Sinek, the best-selling author and motivational speaker tells us in his famous TED talk that every successful endeavor—be it related to an organization, your career or personal life needs to begin with defining the “Why.” You need to be able to explain to yourself why you do what you do and what drives you.

It is the thing (s) that gives meaning and inspires you to wake up in the morning and to want to take on the world. It is your reason for being.

You Like the Status Quo

You may like your comfort zone. After all, it’s…well, comfortable. But as we established, the good old blanket is not necessarily going to make us fulfilled in life. You can watch so many TV shows wrapped in it before you get bored.

We, humans, still carry our ancestors’ fighting instincts—for hunting, for self-preservation, for taking actions to make our lives better. Inaction is not what made the mankind create all the innovations we enjoy today.

The Good-Old Fear of Failure and of the Unknown

Admittedly, it’s not an emotion to be taken lightly—it can be quite real and powerful for many of us.

According to a Gallup poll done a while ago among U.S. teenagers, the fear of being a failure and not succeeding in life was at number four.[2] More specifically, this feeling was described as “making mistakes that will mess up my life,” “not measuring up,” “not leaving a mark.”

So, fear can be a powerful paralyzer and can elicit a “safe-mode” response—i.e. stuck-ness.

Your Crowd

We all know the famous adage that we are the average of the five people we rub shoulders with. So, if your in-crowd is similarly stuck as you are, although it may be consoling at times, you won’t be motivated to make much progress yourself.

It’s called a social proof bias—if everyone around you is doing (or not doing) something, then it is ok for you to follow suit.

Comparisons to Others

While comparisons are not always bad, according to the Social Comparison Theory,[3] they have to be handled with caution.

Faring against others can make you very unhappy with yourself. Failing to recognize that your path is not the same as others’ and that there are many ways to get to an end-point (goal) can be very discouraging to taking the first step to unstuck-ness.

Personality

Our temperaments can also contribute to a sense of feeling stuck. For instance, you may be more of a passive, dreamy kind of person who prefers observing to taking action, pensiveness to gregariousness, solitude to venturing out in the world.

That is, you have more of a slow-burn personality vs. a fiery one—therefore, it takes you longer to contemplate all alternatives before taking the plunge.

And that’s ok. But you need to recognize that this may also be the reason why you are not progressing as fast or as much as you would like towards your goals.

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And while changing who you are is hard (impossible even, according to some psychologists), there are things that can be done to make it so much better for yourself, which I will discuss a bit later.

A final point to note here is that, paradoxically, it is possible to feel both stuck and unstuck at the same time. For instance, you can have a great career, but your family life may feel a bit stale, or wise versa.

As our personal and professional lives constantly fight for the top spot on our attention list, the feeling of stuck-ness may also depend on where you are on your life’s trajectory.

For someone who is younger and single, stagnation may be felt more vividly in their professional lives, as opposed to someone who is in their mid-life, where family takes priority—such individuals may not feel as down-hearted that they are not progressing quickly enough professionally.

How to Get Unstuck in Life

The neat thing about your path to becoming unstuck is that it follows the so-called Principle of Equifinality,[4] which states that the end state can be reached by many means.

It’s not just one thing that can help you to start moving forward again. There are many avenues you can explore to find out what works for you and with your own story and personality.

1. Show up and Be Willing to Do the Work

Woody Allen has famously said that “80% of success is showing up.” That is, you need to begin with the right motivation and willingness to take action towards unstucking.

You must want to improve your current state. And you must follow through.

2. Self-Reflection

Spend some time alone. You need to figure out why you are stuck—that is, what is the root of your discontent. Meditation may help here too. But this step is essential:

Packing on some self-knowledge and awareness on why you are where you are in life can help you discover a whole new universe of ideas on how to make it better for yourself.

It is as the saying goes: Identifying the problem is half of the solution.

Start to do self-reflection with the help of this article: The Power of Self-Reflection: Ten Questions You Should Ask Yourself

3. Break a Sweat

There is an avalanche of research on the benefits of exercising for the body and the mind. The latest research tells us that if you want to put your mind in the best possible focus shape, a 15-minute jog will do the job better than 15 minutes of relaxation and meditation.[5] It also clears your thinking, improves your attention spans, and can generally make you feel like a “brand new person.”

4. Find a Purpose

As I already touched-upon, the “Why” behind your actions is a prime driver of self-progress. If you link your goals—be them personal or professionals—to a “bigger-than-me” aspiration, then it will be so much easier to convince yourself to keep moving.

According to recent research,[6] we all have a specific purpose-seeking style—similar to our own way of writing, dancing or speaking.

There are four types or “Whys”—creative, prosocial, financial and personal recognition. The prosocial approach to finding meaning, though, which is based on kindness and compassion towards ourselves and others, is the best one in the long-run—it was shown to lead to greater caring, integrity and personal growth.

Here’s How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person.

5. Find a Passion

It’s barely a secret that if you enjoy something, you will want to do more of it and it won’t feel like an obligation. You will have an internal motivation to keep going despite setbacks, despite the stress or the tiredness you may experience at times.

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So, find what thrills you and makes you come alive and strive to become better, the best even, at it. The more progress you make, the more confidence you will have that you can apply the same passion and dedication to all other parts of your life that feel stagnant.

Learn How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life.

6. Nudge Yourself

The Nudge Theory[7] has been around for a while and has shown some wonderful results in positively influencing people’s behaviors—from making us conserve more energy, to improving the payment rates of fines, to making job-seekers more engaged and involved.

Small things as daily reminders in terms of micro-goals you can set on your phone, for instance, can have a profound favorable effect on becoming unstuck.

Nudging can also help overcome some of these personality traits we talked about—like passiveness or acute proneness to procrastination.

7. Seek Different Experiences

Even if you are in a happy relationship, you may still feel stuck—i.e. you may be unfulfilled, uninspired, or bored even of doing identical things over and over. The same rings true for your professional life.

The end-point is that you need to feed your brain different experiences if you want to get unstuck. If you repeat more of the same thing, you will end up with more or less similar outcomes. Change requires taking the path less trodden, experimenting, learning new ways, seeing new places, reading, travelling—it’s an endless list, really, to personal growth.

According to research covered in Psychology Today,[8]

“Activities that lead us to feel uncertainty, discomfort, and even a dash of guilt are associated with some of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of people’s lives. Happy people, it seems, engage in a wide range of counterintuitive habits that seem, well, downright unhappy.”

8. Leave Behind the Things That Are Not Constructive for You

Arianna Huffington put it in a great way:[9]

“You can complete a project by dropping it.”

Assessing the things that make you feel stagnant is important. But equally valuable is to recognize that just because it may be hard or even impossible to get something that you really want, it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed or that you are necessarily stuck.

Maybe it’s simply not your thing. For instance, you may want to become a professional golfer. You practice and practice but you can’t quite reach the level of Tiger Woods that you aspire to. Perhaps it’s time to take stock of your life and shift your focus.

9. Compare Wisely

Comparisons can often make you feel down and create a sense of stagnation, which may not always be valid. You must realize that your pace of progress differs from your friends’, neighbours’, siblings or even significant others’.

Just because you are not a millionaire by the age of 30, or haven’t started your own business, or written your third bestseller yet, doesn’t mean that you are not moving forward.

So, mind how you measure your progress and your state of stuck-ness. Your perceptions may differ from reality.

Besides, it’s never ever too late to start things over! Here’s how:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

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10. Ask for Help

Finally, remember that you don’t have to do it all alone. If you feel stuck in your personal life, you can speak to your close ones and find a solution together. Maybe they feel the same way.

At work—raise your hand, speak to your manager, volunteer to do things that can help you learn and become more valuable.

You don’t have to come up with all the answers right now. The most important thing, going back to the first idea, is to be willing to make a change.

When Is Enough Enough?

Seeking progress is a great thing. Who wouldn’t want to become a better version of themselves after all?

But the pursuit of growth should be handled with caution. It can become very addictive and sometimes even be counterproductive.

It’s true—you may experience a “runner’s high” and success can make you overflow with dopamine, but the constant chase of “more” can toss you into a never-ending spinning wheel.

You will never be happy with the status quo and won’t accept things as they are—which, naturally, can open a Pandora box of mental health issues.

That is, too much of a self-improvement drive may leave you unable to enjoy your life, to be fully present in the Now and to appreciate the person that you are.

And this is not necessarily a good thing.

So, should you strive to improve yourself, so that feel unstuck and free again? Absolutely.

But remember to take a breather and be grateful for what you have.

Summing It All Up

The feeling of being satisfied or unsatisfied with one’s life is very personal. Similar to its cousins—happiness and success, it is best measured by and depends on our individual histories, personalities and paths—i.e. my trajectory is different than yours and what makes me feel content may not create the same feeling for you.

For instance, you may be happy to be in a position where you help others and their gratitude is sufficient enough reason for you to wake up in the morning. But for someone else, this situation may create a sense of stuck-ness.

The main take-away here is that you shouldn’t compare your story to anyone else’s because you may end up feeling constantly stuck. And this, speaking from experience, is not the best place in the world to be.

Progress is great, but don’t forget that your life is here and now.

So, try to enjoy yourself some too, while making your grandiose plans to take on the world, will you please?

Featured photo credit: Camila Cordeiro via unsplash.com

Reference

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