Sometimes you can make all the right moves, land on all the right decisions and have a seemingly perfect life — perhaps that looks like a good career, a comfortable home, a loving partner, healthy friendships. And, yet, you still feel like something that you can't pinpoint is just off.
If you're feeling that way, you're not alone. You're just unfulfilled.
Here are seven signs that you're still unfulfilled, even after doing everything "right" — and how to change that.
1. You chew your friends' ears off with complaints.
If you're constantly venting to your friends as if they're your free, personal therapists, it might be a sign that you're feeling unfulfilled. Of course, friends are there to be sounding boards for you to word vomit all over at times — but if you're using them in this way all the time, it's not healthy. What you should do, however, is pay for a legitimate, trained therapist who can help you determine why exactly you're feeling what you're feeling.
2. You're beyond bored.
If you're sitting at the desk of your dream job feeling bored, or across the dinner table from the love of your life feeling bored, or at the park with your happy and healthy family feeling bored, you might be unfulfilled in some way.
It's important to take some time to practice self-care in solitude — to be with yourself to learn what it is that you're missing in your life. It might be as simple as that solo time.
3. You're never in the moment.
If you're constantly finding yourself dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, never thinking in the present, it's a problem. It might be a sign that the present isn't fulfilling you enough, so you're focused on other times of your life — perhaps wishing you'd done something differently in the past so that you would feel fulfilled now or preparing to set yourself up for a more fulfilling future.
Practicing meditation and everyday mindfulness through breathing techniques and positive self-talk can help to bring you back to the moment and appreciate what you have instead of stressing out about what you could have had or don't have.
4. You have a strong sense of jealousy.
Comparison is the thief of joy — it's as simple as that. If you find that you're constantly jealous of friends and family who seem to have ideal lives, it might be because you don't feel like your own life is so ideal. The best possible thing you can do in this case is to stop comparing yourself and accept that you lead different lives (everyone does!), and that's okay. Perhaps you need to take some time off of social media in order to let this set in.
5. You depend on someone else.
Maybe you "have it all"— a beautiful house, a fancy car, nice clothes and... a partner who pays for it all. Just because you've seemingly done everything right in life in order to have this lifestyle you enjoy doesn't mean that you are going to be fulfilled. If you're depending on someone else, knowing that they have control and could take it away from you at any moment, it's a scary thought. Independence, after all, feels fulfilling in and of itself.
6. You suffer from anxiety or depression.
Depression is a silent killer — others may never know that you're depressed by looking at you. Likewise, you might never guess that your seemingly happy-go-lucky friends and family members could be depressed, too. But depression affects approximately 17.3 million American adults, or about 7.1% of the U.S. population ages 18 and older, every year, according to a National Institute of Mental Health “Major Depression” 2017 study
If you're feeling depressed or suffering from anxiety, reach out to resources like the following:
7. Your head is filled with negative self-talk.
Sometimes, even if you feel confident that you've done everything right, you're still down on yourself. Your head is filled with negative self-talk, shaming yourself for unjustified reasons (shaming yourself is never justified!). This may be because, even if you have everything you theoretically want, you might be feeling unfulfilled. Perhaps the dream job isn't as exciting as you thought it'd be, or the dreamy partner isn't as perfect as you thought they'd be. And then maybe you shame yourself for even feeling bad about these things when you have it so good.
Practicing positive affirmations in the mirror every morning can help you to quiet the negativity. Tell yourself what you know you deserve and why. Tell yourself that you're more than good enough to have what it is that you really want — and that it's okay that if what you thought you wanted is no longer what you still want.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.