I could not stay away! I was going to wait till tomorrow to post, but I had a thought and had to share!
I speak with readers and writers throughout the week and it is so gratifying to talk and converse and meet so many different types of people. Meeting people is my favorite aspect of what I do. One of the most common questions or dilemmas that is put to me is “How do I live a fulfilled life?” And as I was sitting in the kitchen eating lunch the answer came to me with sudden clarity.
Most people seek fulfillment or seek to live a fulfilled life. And this fulfillment desire is one of selfishness. The truth in fulfillment is exactly the opposite of what most people think. I propose the idea that in order to be fulfilled one must learn to do for others and focus less on self.
There exists a truth in every human being, a true self, if you will. I am talking about the You that speaks during the honest, soul emptying moments with friends or therapists, not the You that plays the part in the movie called Your Life. Not the you that is always “fine” or the you that envies, lusts, desires, yearns, hates, etc. This You looks to the outside world and desires for material things. This You wants things, success, acceptance, love. This You focuses on itself and its needs, wants, desires.
My belief is that until you put this You in its place and begin living a life focused on adding value to the world around you, you will not experience any type of fulfillment. You must convert your thinking to that of a servant. You must begin to help others. You must deny yourself and devote your life to helping, giving, loving others above yourself.
Until this happens you will continue to seek that which you cannot have. Some use the word “happiness,” but I refuse to use this word. Happiness refers to an emotion and is not a state of being. Happiness comes and happiness goes. I have written in the past about my views on happiness, Stop Trying to Be Happy. Fulfillment is the objective as it is unaffected by our mood or emotional state. I can be sad that someone dies, but still live a fulfilled life. I can be angry that someone has stolen my car, yet still be fulfilled.
Fulfillment can only be found when you step out of focusing on yourself and step into a world of focusing on others. Find a way to add value to your world. Volunteer your time at a local nursing home. Sign up to be a Big Brother or Big Sister. Register to be a driver for Meals on Wheels. Serve lunch at the homeless shelter. Volunteer to sweep the floors at the Battered Women’s Shelter.
Take your life and devote it to helping.
When you find a way to add value to the world around you, you will no longer need to find fulfillment, fulfillment will find you.