Living a Fulfilling Life

How to Live a Fulfilling Life

Published On: April 25, 2024

Many of my clients find themselves feeling drained and unfulfilled, even when they are successful and doing well for themselves.

They will often struggle with feeling as though they shouldn’t feel the way that they do when they have so many great opportunities and wonderful people in their lives. This adds a layer of shame on top of their emotional experience. As I work with them to release the shame and guilt they hold for feeling down even when they are outwardly accomplished, we discover a lot about what is most important to them and often how little time they invest in these areas. 

I frequently notice a theme of really successful people feeling emotionally disconnected. They may appear to have it all – the house, the car, the clothes, the vacations, the luxury – yet they feel empty. When I ask these entrepreneurs, CEOs, and high achievers what they value most, they’re often surprised to realize that they don’t really know. I reassure them that self-awareness is a skill that can be developed, and one way to begin creating awareness is to explore what their inner values are. When we allow ourselves to step back from the daily grind, we open ourselves to the possibility of changing the way we are living our lives for the better.

It’s no wonder that we feel depleted when we fill our days with tasks and to-do lists and spend very little, if any, time on what is most important to us. Sure, we may be productive and accomplish a lot, but what is the value in that if we aren’t feeling fulfilled or if we’re too drained to enjoy our achievements?

An Invitation to Slow Down and Explore

After transforming repression and shame to acceptance, we are able to work towards building a more fulfilling life. One way that I have found to be very effective is to discover our personal values.

There are a variety of ways I approach this, including engaging in a value card sort activity, identifying and sharing values that I notice in sessions with my clients, providing value journaling prompts, and more. One key component of discovering our values is allowing ourselves to be curious and wonder. 

Intentionally taking the time to explore our inner experiences can be very transformative. It may be useful for you to reflect on previous situations and ask yourself what spurred up different emotions in you. You may consider times in which you were your happiest or felt most like yourself – What were you doing? Who were you with? What were you thinking? Feeling? Think about times in which you were really angry. What was happening? What did you feel? What values were crossed? 

How Many Values Should a Person Have?

Although we can have many values, I really encourage you to select three to five values that are most important to you.

I find that with a smaller number, we are challenged to be more selective, as well as able to actually recall our values. This would be tougher if we had 10+ values to rattle off or mentally keep up with. Keeping the list short allows us to be intentional and mindful when integrating our values into our daily lives.

Mindfully Integrating Values Into Daily Living

After you’ve identified your top three to five values, you are ready to begin integrating them into your daily life. There are many ways that you may do this, including making choices that reflect your values, journaling or reflecting on your personal values, making time for your values to show in your life, and ensuring you reflect your values in your relationships with others. 

Final Thoughts

One of the many reasons I love exploring values so much is that it simply makes sense. When we understand our values and what is most important to us, it makes sense that we feel depleted when we aren’t making time for those things, or why we’re so upset in particular situations, or why we feel most aligned in certain areas of our lives. I find that understanding our internal values and making decisions aligned with our values results in more fulfillment, happiness, and peace. 

If you need help finding fulfillment in your life, a licensed therapist can be a tremendous help. At Counseling Unconditionally, we offer a variety of services to help you reach your goals.