On my last post, a commenter posed the question: What is Fulfillment? As with most philosophical questions, there is no real answer, but something worth talking about anyhow. Lately, I have been feeling quite, unfulfilled, so maybe attempting to figure out what that actually means, will grant me some solace. As usual, lets start with a dictionary definition of the word:
1. to carry out, or bring to realization, as a prophecy or promise.
2. to perform or do, as duty; obey or follow, as commands.
3. to satisfy (requirements, obligations, etc.): a book that fulfills a long-felt need.
4. to bring to an end; finish or complete, as a period of time: He felt that life was over when one had fulfilled his threescore years and ten.
5. to develop the full potential of (usually used reflexively): She realized that she could never fulfill herself in such work.
The above definitions aren’t bad, especially #3 and #5. I believe #3 is the most accurate as to what I am looking for, with one problem, you would then have to define the word satisfaction, which would be sort of circular.
To me, fulfillment is something you feel. You either feel fulfilled at a given moment, or you do not. The feeling to me, is mostly about feeling like I have done something useful, toward the betterment of my self. For some reason though, going to work, getting a paycheck, or paying a bill on time, does not fulfill me. What does fulfill me, is, taking a day off of work to do things I enjoy, writing a blog post, or helping out a friend. I suppose, to me, being fulfilled is directly tied to feeling like I am making a difference in someones life, even just my own life.
The problem is, for me, that feeling is rare, and often short lived.
Do you feel fulfillment should be something along the lines of a “high” where you feel it directly after you do something useful, or more of a constant? I tend to believe it should be a constant. You should feel like your life is fulfilling, all the time.
When people see my life from the outside, they think I am just some sad dude, with no reason to be. I make a good living, have a stable job, a great girlfriend, a house, a new car, and a dog. What’s not to like? To quote another comment on my last entry by MooGoo:
I’m starting to think that overall, happy people are happy regardless of their situation, and depressed people are depressed regardless of their situation.
Happy people have this mystical ability to accept whatever life throws at them. Non-acceptance, always wanting something else, thus never having what you want, is depressing.
Knowing that “you have it pretty good (compared to some other people)” is small comfort. After all, you’re not some starving African kid with AIDS, so you should stop bitching right?
I have to say, I agree with this 100%. I am starting to believe that I am simply one of those glass is half-empty sort of people, and as such, never satisfied. Being compared to someone less fortunate than I, does nothing to make me feel better about my current life.
If I was a starving kid in Africa, and you gave me a warm house and tons of food, it would probably only take me a few weeks to complain about something.