11 clear signs you’re not leading your most fulfilling life

It’s not always obvious when you aren’t feeling fulfilled in your life.

Clarity comes with experience, which is all about going the wrong way sometimes.

And while you’re the only person that can discover all the specifics, it doesn’t mean you have to figure out everything on your own.

The first step to figuring out what works, is by asking what isn’t.

Here are 11 clear signs you’re not leading your most fulfilling life.

1) Excessive daydreaming

Daydreaming is an incredible tool to explore your desires through your imagination.

But like anything, if it becomes something that resembles an unhealthy coping mechanism, it can worsen whatever you’re trying to cope with.

So if you’re feeling unfulfilled in your life, daydreaming all the time might help you escape your reality. But it will feel that much disappointing when you have to face it.

And we have to ask: what are you avoiding? 

What is making you believe that waking up from your daydreams is worth the disappointment?

2) Feeling underappreciated

It might be that you’re feeling underappreciated in your life.

Which might feel like it came out of the blue, so it feels like you shouldn’t feel that way.

If you’re a giver, it might finally be that the joy from giving isn’t enough to sustain you. Especially if you went through a major inner transformation prior to feeling this way.

And especially if you’re someone who is introspective (which I’m assuming you are because you’re here), your first instinct is probably to look inwards.

But I invite you to look outwards as well and see if your efforts are being reciprocated. Whether it’s in your job, interpersonal relationships, or even the communities you’re a part of.

Sometimes, your needs change and that’s normal. It just means that you’re growing.

3) Chronic negative thinking

As I mentioned, before you make tangible change, it’s normal to feel the need for it inwardly.

During this time of discomfort, you might find yourself thinking a lot of negative things about yourself and the world around you.

Before you can identify these self-limiting beliefs, you might experience bouts of irritability, fatigue, and even insomnia.

This can happen when you internalize the behaviors of others and the circumstances you cannot control.

Good news is you’re not broken or beyond repair. But it is time you become aware of how you relate to the world around you.

4) Fixation on the past

If you’re scared of the present and the future, there’s only one place left to dwell.

The past!

I’m a nostalgic person by nature. But I know there’s something going on in my soul when I start harvesting beliefs that make me glorify the past.

Remember that memories are not real. What I mean by that is that your present perspective is a huge factor in how you remember things.

The past only feels like it was better because you’re not happy right now. And what is the past if not a point in time where you were learning?

So give your present self more credit because that’s the person that persevered. And is now in the process of persevering for the future.

You might feel clueless now, but I guarantee you know more than you used to.

5) Fixation on material possessions

clear signs youre not leading your most fulfilling life 1 11 clear signs you're not leading your most fulfilling life

We’re all human. And a little band-aid solution never hurt anybody.

But I find that an unhealthy level of materialism is characterized by a person creating problems where there aren’t any.

Like knit-picking the way you look, or how you dress. Or maybe feeling like your home isn’t lavish enough.

Even if it was enough for you at one point.

We all deserve a little upgrade here and there, but these upgrades should feel rewarding.

Not like salvation.

6) Fixation on other people

A huge theme in unfulfillment is the act of comparing oneself to everything around us. 

It’s a form of distraction so you don’t need to look in the metaphysical mirror.

Which is a mindset worth addressing if you find that you’ve always sought out external validation.

But I also want to acknowledge that feeling inadequate can be a byproduct of growth.

This applies to you in particular if you’re someone that considers themselves to be quite confident, but feel that green-eyed monster creeping up.

It’s not random at all, and I urge you to sit with that monster. And ask what it is that it thinks it lacks.

Write down a list of what you want, but feel like you can’t have.

Who taught you that? And what upholds that belief?

Keep asking questions until you feel a lightbulb light up somewhere in your soul.

7) Lack of boundaries

Alternatively, you can fixate on others by not having any boundaries with them.

I used to be someone who made being a cheerleader in everyone’s life my entire personality. 

The problem wasn’t that I was saying “yes” because I felt like I had to. It was that I didn’t know how to say “no.” 

That word lived behind glass, for emergencies only.

And the problem was also not that I “loved too hard”. It was that I didn’t know the difference between codependency and real connection.

No matter how you go about it, loving someone more than they love themselves will leave you with an empty cup. And block you from cultivating genuine connections.

Even if you have to hold back, give people space to fill their own cups.

And allocate that energy elsewhere.

8) Lack of creative outlet

Being creative has so many benefits. Allowing yourself to have fun being one of them.

But it’s also a way to process and understand your experiences. 

How can you end a cycle if you don’t understand it? Let alone realize you’re in one?

So maybe you feel unfulfilled because you don’t have a creative outlet in place to help you figure out what would fulfill you.

Or perhaps you need to spend more time being creative! Certain periods in our lives will require more self-reflection.

It can be difficult to be creative when you’re in a rut, but you don’t have to create anything beautiful or worthy of being sold.

Just start describing how you feel with no obligations to be digestible. 

9) Deep sense of loneliness

So let’s take inventory here.

You’re daydreaming of a better reality, which is making you think badly of yourself.

And in the process, you’re creating a series of hellscapes in the past, present, and future.

Which is creating cycles where you want change but don’t feel worthy of it.

And you’re not expressing any of this in a healthy way. What’s there left to do?

Self-imposed isolation!

Feeling lonely is not always about feeling like no one understands you. 

It’s also about not feeling like you have anything to offer because you feel so stuck in your life. 

It’s true that you’re the only person that can get you unstuck. But shame is telling you that support can only exist in the form of answers.

Talk to someone, you’re not a burden for going through a difficult phase in your life.

Just like creativity, allow this to reframe how you allow yourself to show up in the world.

10) Feeling disconnected from your intuition

Having a strong intuition requires you to believe in its existence. 

It’s what fuels discernment which happens when you trust yourself unconditionally. Without needing clear proof or reassurance.

When you constantly doubt the validity of your feelings, having a healthy support system can give you that confidence boost.

But when you are also isolating yourself, your intuition can feel like a murky place where you feel like you can’t trust anyone.

So if you find yourself making decisions based on fear and your guard is up like a zipper over your head, it’s a sign you are not in alignment with your most fulfilling timeline.

11) Lack of compassion

The two pillars that sustain a fulfilling life are inspiration and connection. Without either, it’s hard to hold space for others, let alone yourself. 

So along with the sinking feeling that comes with loneliness, there will be a desire for solitude. 

Almost as if your compassion just became a lot more expensive.

I consider this rock bottom and I encourage you to cherish it. I know, it sounds a bit morbid, but hear me out.

I find that rock bottoms are like wormholes where you get to take a glimpse into a future you don’t want. Think Scrooge! 

Or Matthew McConaughey in Girlfriends of Christmas Past.

Find the courage to focus on what’s going wrong during your darkest moments and you can change your fate forever.

More specifically: what do you hate about yourself the most and how can you show it grace without making excuses for it?

Do you feel like a walking contradiction that is splitting into a million different directions?

It might feel like you’re losing it, but it’s quite the opposite. 

Because truth be told, unfulfillment is just a sign that there are new doors of opportunity that have made themselves available to you.

Which would only be possible if you’ve gained more knowledge of the world and yourself!

Allow your grief to guide you but don’t let it fool you.

And choose the door, experiences and people that makes you feel right at home in the present.


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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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