I think it can be argued that happiness is the primary or fundamental goal for most people in life.
Think about it.
Whatever a person does, they do it to make themselves happy.
Whether it is eating their favorite food or finding the love of their life, what they essentially seek is to be happy. I think we can all agree on this.
However, what if I told you that there is a state of being that even surpasses happiness?
What if I told you that even if we found eternal happiness, we would still feel a little empty on the inside?
Well, if you haven’t already guessed, I am talking about fulfillment.
Happiness and fulfillment are often used interchangeably.
While people generally know and understand the basic difference between these two states, I don’t think most are aware of how different these two really are.
In life, it is important to understand your various emotions and states of being.
Only then will you be able to achieve them.
When it comes to fulfillment and happiness, this importance only becomes more pronounced.
So, let’s take a look at some of the vital differences between them.
Okay, so let’s start by defining the two concepts.
- Happiness is simple. We all know what it feels like. It is often defined as a state where you are pleased or delighted. In other words, it feels good to be happy. 🙂
- Fulfillment, on the other hand, is defined as a state where you feel complete on the inside. It happens when you are satisfied with yourself and your life. However, unlike happiness, fulfillment is not an emotion. Rather, it is a quality or a state.
Now, one of the most important differences between the two is that fulfillment is a far deeper concept than happiness.
That’s because fulfillment deals with the “why” of life. It is related to a deep sense of purpose, cause, or belief.
When you are pursuing something passionately, it is the why behind the pursuit that leads to your fulfillment.
For example, if you are an artist, you probably make artwork regularly. But the reason you do so is that you want to express your creativity to the world. It is in this expression of your inner self that you achieve fulfillment.
On the other hand, happiness can be achieved even from the smallest of things. If someone gets you a warm cup of coffee on a winter morning, that will make you happy.
But there isn’t a deeper reason for that happiness. You feel happy because something makes you feel good.
So, I think it’s safe to say that happiness depends on external stimuli most of the time. As such, it deals with the “whats” of life. It depends on what you do or get, instead of the why.
Another important point of difference between the two is that happiness is fleeting while fulfillment is much more lasting.
I think you’ve probably experienced this in your life.
You see, when you are happy about something, you will probably not be happy about it after a week or a month.
For example, when you ate your favorite food one month ago, you were definitely feeling very happy at that moment. You probably experienced an intense feeling of pleasure.
However, does that still energize you the same way it did back then? Does that still make you happy the way it did at that moment?
I don’t think so!
Happiness is an emotion or feeling and so, it is prone to change.
However, fulfillment is lasting.
When you achieve something meaningful that is aligned with your purpose in life, that achievement will stay with you for a really long time. The sense of completeness, once experienced, does not easily wither away.
This might sound bizarre at first.
How can it be that happiness isn’t always good for us? Isn’t the goal of life to be as pleasant as possible?
Well, it is. But not when it comes at the expense of something else.
For example, drinking alcohol or taking drugs might make you happy at that moment. You might feel like you’re on top of the world.
But is that happiness good for you?
Similarly, when you eat a lot of junk food or spend lavishly on shopping or other materialistic things, you might feel ecstatic. However, in the long run, we all know that these things can lead to bad consequences.
So, happiness isn’t always good for you.
It’s just that your mind makes you believe it is.
And so, you try to be happy by any means necessary, even if it is destructive.
On the other hand, fulfillment is always good for you because it makes you feel complete and content with yourself.
If you think about it, our souls do not actually seek happiness per se. It seeks fulfillment.
This is why so many feel like something is missing even when they achieve a lot of success and think that they are happy.
This, too, might sound bizarre at first.
I mean, didn’t I just say that our souls seek fulfillment? Then how come it isn’t always enjoyable?
Well, let’s try to understand this with the help of an example.
Let’s say you love motivating people and have committed to writing a weekly newsletter for all your followers/subscribers.
Doing so makes you feel fulfilled.
It makes you feel like you are aligned with your life’s purpose.
But let’s say one of the times when you are writing the newsletter, you happen to have a severe headache.
Now, even though you feel great about writing the newsletter anyway, you would be dying on the inside because of your headache.
So, fulfillment doesn’t necessarily come with happiness.
It involves doing the right thing even if it means sacrificing pleasure.
It’s strange, but it’s true! 🙂 and you know it deep down 🙂