Have you ever wondered what makes you feel complete? What is it that makes everything fit and life worth living?
Maybe it is seeing your children having fun and playing or enjoying your family talking around a table, a fortune that not all people have.
Or it could be that job that allows you to grow professionally and contribute your grain of sand to other people’s lives.
Or maybe it’s something much simpler, like playing with your pet, taking a walk in nature, or just enjoying a quiet cup of coffee.
A song that moves you? The smell of wet earth or perhaps a landscape that takes your breath away.
It could even be a particularly vivid memory that has remained etched in your heart, like your grandmother’s hug when she comforted you as a child, the strength your father gave you when he encouraged you to overcome a fear, or the first time you hold your brother in your arms.
What makes you happy? What makes you feel complete?
There are many things in our daily lives that we take for granted but that contribute to that feeling of fulfillment that fills and satisfies us. I’m talking about that feeling that makes life worth living.
The 3 factors that make us feel complete, according to science
Each person is a universe, but humanity unites us, so, deep down, the things that make us happy are not so different. A study carried out by psychologists at the University of Zurich analyzed almost 700 people and revealed that we can feel satisfied with many things, but there are three factors that stand out:
1. Breadth of the “self” and life experience. It refers to our ability to pursue truly meaningful goals, be ourselves, and lead an authentic life in line with our values and way of thinking.
2. Life worth living. It is the perception that we are wisely investing our time, resources and energy to have a meaningful and valuable life that we are proud of.
3. Positive impact and legacy. It involves the feeling that what we do can make a positive difference, the idea that we can add value or be important in some way to the lives of others.
Interestingly, these psychologists also found that people who cared more about leading a full life and spent more time evaluating whether their daily lives fit their goals, also felt more complete. That means that personal fulfillment is not something we can leave to chance.
How to feel complete with yourself?
The feeling of fullness is not found in a manual nor are there magic formulas, it is something that each person must look for within themselves. However, there are certain attitudes that can help you find what fulfills you and makes you happy.
Cultivating hope, enthusiasm and perseverance when pursuing your goals, for example, is essential to leading a fulfilling life. Engaging in meaningful activities, those that you enjoy and have deep meaning for you, will also make you feel more complete.
How can you know what those activities are? Easy! Those that absorb you. The tasks in which the world around you blurs and you lose track of time because you give yourself body and soul.
The ability to set challenging goals, but that you can achieve and that really give you something, is also essential because it will give you a feeling of empowerment and achievement that will make you feel comfortable with yourself.
It is also essential that you take advantage of the power of gratitude, an almost magical feeling that will help you put everything in perspective so that you can focus on all those things that surround you and bring you peace, serenity or joy.
And don’t lose sight of others. Because feeling complete is also satisfying that deep need to contribute something valuable to those around us and knowing that we can make a difference at some point in their lives.
The good news is that researchers also discovered that life satisfaction usually increases with age, probably because maturity teaches us to separate the wheat from the chaff, we learn to focus on what is worthwhile and we enjoy more what fills us.
In short, it is about immersing yourself in the world with all your senses. We have a wonderful life that goes away in a flash. Don’t waste time looking for the missing piece. Don’t postpone happiness. Instead, appreciate everything you have – the much and the little. Life does not have to be perfect. And you neither. You just have to feel complete.
Baumann, D. & Ruch, W. (2021) Measuring What Counts in Life: The Development and Initial Validation of the Fulfilled Life Scale (FLS). Front. Psychol.; 12: 10.3389.