It’s common in our everyday working lives to hear the buzzword of ‘fulfilment’. If you find fulfilment, you are undoubtedly more engaged and productive; happiness is a byproduct of finding your purpose, and striking out towards it. In treatment, in recovery, in our everyday lives, fulfilment lays the groundwork for building a meaningful life.
Making time for random acts of kindness
Fulfilment is crucial to mental health and wellbeing, and is now being seen as one of the keys to finding happiness. Surrounding the idea of fulfilment, there is a lot to be said for the value of random acts of kindness. This idea is so prevalent that in his book ‘Follow Me’, Danny Wallace used this method as the primary ideology behind his mock cult.
Finding fulfilment through unconditional giving is an immediate piece of evidence that we are nice people. Despite all the things we have done that do not correspond with our core values, we all want to see ourselves as intrinsically good. When we do a kind act, we know if it has strings attached – although the author of ‘The Selfish Gene’, Richard Dawkins, who considers all acts to have an underlying selfish purpose, may not agree. Dawkins aside, the values of kindness, showing respect, consideration and compassion results in us finding an irrefutable way to like ourselves, helping us find fulfilment by restoring a damaged sense of self.
The recipient of the random act of kindness is equally affected by the action you are finding fulfilment from. If a person is aware that an act of kindness has benefited them they feel validated, valued and it too impacts on their self-esteem. So, a quick way to help people to move forwards in their lives is to demonstrate acts of kindness, but also to facilitate opportunities where others can offer kindness to you. These acts do not have to involve giving money, it can be time, a helping hand, an offer of help to open a door. They all add up because the person doing it knows that fundamentally, they have demonstrated to themselves that they are kind, considerate and compassionate, and from this foundation they are worthy of love, effort and support. Positive feelings like this help you find fulfilment, because you are directly influencing and creating the change you want to bring about.
Finding fulfilment in recovery
You are responsible for your own thoughts, feelings and actions. When we show concern, we run the risk of having that concern mutilated, manipulated or used against us as a weapon. The fragility of these emotional discourses documents just how vulnerable our clients are. All the way along the recovery journey, boundaries will be tested, unfair blame may be apportioned and the caring messages and actual content of what you communicate can be distorted. To help clients to move forwards and invest in everyone around them, but also more importantly to invest in themselves, the key is to make them aware of their own role in their thoughts, feelings and behaviours.Finding fulfilment in your own actions can change your perception of every experience you undergo.
A simple tool to restore the fulfilment lent by this control is to make your client aware that no matter what happens, they are responsible for themselves. Rehabs incorporate this message as a central plank of rehabilitation, although many I have visited do not overtly convey this message, but instead demonstrate it through intense therapeutic learning experiences like encounter group therapy. In community services, this kind of therapy is not a treatment option. Because of this, we must rapidly instil the understanding that regardless of the behaviour of others, you are responsible for you. When working towards fulfilment, this key piece of learning is often groundbreaking and revolutionary for some clients who have typically used blame and attack to defend their sense of self. This approach can be adopted from any and every peer group around them; changing this thinking is crucial to developing personal fulfilment. As clients take responsibility for themselves, they also take control of their lives, and can rapidly build self-esteem as they move from a problem-focused approach to one of seeking solutions and progress.
The way you react to barriers in your life is crucial to your recovery. Finding fulfilment helps you find the positives, dealing with life on your own terms. Contact us to learn the tools to give service users a clear understanding of what will fulfil them and help promote a sustainable future beyond treatment.