Happiness vs. Fulfillment

I hear people use the word “happiness” in referring to a state of being, which I personally do not like to use.  I find it sets people up for failure and frustration.  Happy implies smiling, laughing, giggling, enjoying, grinning, etc.  And when people set this as their expectation they can find nothing but disappointment.

The word I prefer to use is fulfillment.  Some might argue that this is really an case of semantics but I disagree.  The word “happy” conjures up very particular mental images to which we then compare our lives.  When those two do not match up, frustration sets in.  Try using the word fulfillment.

I wrote about this subject several months ago, but thought I would offer an article to refresh our minds:


Big Dreamer


31 thoughts on “Happiness vs. Fulfillment

  1. Well said Sire!!
    Happiness should never be functional though, it should be every man’s state of mind, regardless what we go through..
    It should be the state,we condition our minds to feeling..
    It’s priceless only when we accept it as a free gift of nature..
    You don’t pay for happiness, you just live it..
    Fulfilment on the other hand, is a result of our continual use of happiness, as a free gift..
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us as always.
    Bless 🙂

    1. My point exactly. You just used “happiness” in a form to describe a life that is complete or content or fulfilled. “Happiness” is an emotion as is fear, sadness and anger. To say I just want to be “happy” would make as much sense as to say I just want to be “angry.” “Happy” should not be used to refer to your life state as happiness comes and goes. I can be sad that someone has died but that has nothing to do with affecting my fulfillment.

  2. You know this makes sense. I have spent my life looking for “happy” (bipolar and depression) and now I am stable with meds, but not happy. However I am fulfilled here with my blog and I think you hit the nail on the head. I am not looking for happiness per se, but fulfillment. Thank you my friend for clearing something up for me.

    1. I puts a smile on my face to read your comment Tessa. I think of you often and the pain you go through. I want you to know you are in my meditation and prayer moments. I hope you sleep well tonight and have a great Sunday!!

  3. We were discussing Buddhism in my comparative religions class and there came a point where we were actually debating over happiness and contentment. The conclusion which arose was that, “Happiness is not always the state of euphoria, it is much more. It is where you are satiated with your life. You try and enjoy every bits of it. Search good in every kg of bad and keep learning, as to make your life interesting.” I personally feel that both are inter related somewhere. I don’t know if I make sense though.

    1. It makes great sense. I guess my intention is to remove the confusion by stopping the use of happiness because there is an immediate preconceived understanding that most people have with “happy.” Remove the word and it paints a different picture.

      1. The preconceived understanding of happiness as you imply it, i.e. smiling, laughing, giggling, enjoying, grinning, etc. is the way how you express the state of being you are in. So it cannot be removed. It is a part. It is there because you’re content and you are satisfied. The dictionary meaning of happiness itself means showing pleasure or contentment.
        So if one desires it in the long run, that means, one indirectly desires fulfillment.

      2. I’m not saying to remove it, I am saying to stop striving to be happy all the time, which infers smiling, giggling, enjoying, grinning as it is impossible to be such because other emotions exist. You will experience sadness at some point, but you can be sad, which is not happy, while still being fulfilled in life.

      3. By “preconceived” I was not meaning “fake,” but more that the word is affiliated with smiling, joking, elated, emotion. And because it is impossible to live in a state of constant happiness I assert we need to stop using “happy” to describe a state of being. Thus the use of fulfilled or fulfillment.

      4. Good. It can be tough to discuss this type of topic via the written word. Much easier to express in a real conversation. Hopefully I expressed my point so you could understand.

  4. I never understand the need for constant happiness either. Happiness and sorrow are two sides of the same coin that stem from events and circumstances. To me stability is the keyword. Stability is way to peace and that is what I hold to dearly.

    1. Very good word. I know lots of people they are seeking “happiness” and they do tend to be up and down emotionally. I like the word stable. Thank you for leaving us with your thoughts!

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