4 Key Questions to Feel Fully Fulfilled and Content

“The person who lives life fully, glowing with life's energy, is the person who lives a successful life.” ~Daisaku Ikeda

More often than not when we want to create something new or different in our lives, our true yearning is not about what we want to do on the outside that will make us feel fulfilled and content, but a certain way we want to feel in ourselves.

That fancy car might give us a feeling of power, or esteem, or pride. That successful business might make us feel like we “arrived” or we are recognized. That trip to Nepal might make us feel like a world-class adventurer. Losing 10 pounds might make us feel more desired.

But ultimately what we are really searching for is a certain experience we want to have on the inside.

When I was younger, I wanted to be an actress. I wanted nothing more than to express my emotions on stage.

Looking back, I realize I was trying to gain self-esteem through receiving applause. But inside, I really felt I didn’t matter. My true inner calling was to be able to freely express my feelings. Acting gave me a safe container to do just that.

When I became a psychologist, I had a desire to help others through their emotional strife.

The truth is I got a Counseling Psychology Masters degree to know myself more and understand the makings of my own psychology. I was able to help others and learn more about myself.

The point is there is always an underlying reason why we want something. And the key to feeling fulfilled is to become aware of why we want that something in the first place.

What are you really looking for? Meaning, what is the way you want to experience your being within?

Here are 4 key questions to explore what you really want to feel fully fulfilled and content:

1. How do I want to feel on the inside?

What is the feeling you desire? For example, are you yearning to feel freer? Ask yourself, “How might I create the experience of feeling freedom inside myself first—before striving for that external goal?”

Perhaps you struggle with accepting yourself as you are in the moment. If so, then, the intention could be to give yourself more permission to be who you are.

Once you experience this state of freedom on the inside, you will have the freedom to create what you want out in the world.

This goes with any inner state: joy, happiness, peace, creativity, aliveness, etc.

2. Is my drive to do something out in the world really a wish to escape my interior experience?

Many times we want something “out there” in order to mask or avoid something we are feeling within.

We might want a fancy car to make us feel special, only to realize once we have it that we want the next upgraded model.

We might go into a business just to make money, only to realize we feel as unfulfilled with money as we felt without it.

We might want to go to India, only to discover we are the same lonely person in India as we were in Indiana.

Or we lost 10 pounds because we wanted to feel sexier, yet we still don’t have the reinforcement from a man or woman we desire.

The key is to become aware if you are searching for something outside of yourself in order to feel better about yourself within.

For example, how might you reinforce your own specialness? How might you make loneliness your companion? How might you create a sensation of “sexiness” within?

3. What is my gut telling me?

Sometimes we are in touch with our feelings, but we have so many that we feel overwhelmed and don’t know which to follow.

A friend of mine is never in one town more than a few months at a time. Constantly on the move, he is an eternal wanderer.

While having coffee one day, I asked him what was next on his agenda, and he gave me a list of various choices. He could go to Italy, New York, Woodstock, or Thailand, and he backed each up with an interesting creative or business opportunity.

I asked him, “Which is the brightest star in that constellation? Which one out of all the places you mentioned is your Venus?”

He corrected me to say that Venus is not the brightest star because it is a planet. Cirrus is the brightest star and sometimes Mars is brighter than Venus. Even though his correction was right, it seemed he was avoiding answering my question. So I stopped waxing poetic and asked him instead, “What is your gut telling you?”

Obviously, our feelings shouldn’t always skipper the boat. But our gut can be our guide. It sends us messages.

Each town, job, and opportunity held interest for him. When he tuned into his inner being, he realized his current location had the most energy. After taking a moment he admitted he was looking for the next thing in order to avoid the deeper experience of remaining still in one place.

To discover what you really want, listen to your gut. Not the rational, explained, or reasonable mind but the part of you that is in touch with your inner needs.

For example, are you longing for happiness? What can you do right now in this moment to invoke that feeling? Maybe a ride on your bike in the park on a bright summer day with a friend gives you joy. Invoke this energy within, and then bring it with you to all that you do.

What you produce from this internal feeling on the outside is secondary. What primarily matters is that you find ways to experience what you really want within.

4. How can I accept all that I feel?

Sometimes, we believe that in order to be successful we must always feel good, but pleasure is only a part of the equation.

The trick is to accept the fact that pleasure comes and goes—and so do the things we dislike, as well as the things we feel neutral about.

When I acted in theater, I received a high from the applause. But when the curtain closed and the set broke down, I went home by myself and often woke up in the morning feeling lonely and depressed.

When we do things for the sole desire to receive pleasure, we set ourselves up to feel dissatisfied and disappointed when we don’t have it.

Understanding that with life there are good sensations and bad sensations and even at times neutral sensations, we are able to go about our day-to-day more faithfully assured, balanced, and relaxed.

When we go after our dreams less attached to what the result gives us and more interested in the unfolding process, we have more choice in how we experience each moment along the way.

Look for ways to invoke the feelings you want from life on an inward level first. Then you won’t need to grasp at externals to feel fulfilled and content because you’ll already have what you truly want within.

Photo here

About Lynn Newman

Lynn Newman has a Masters in Counseling Psychology, is a writer, painter, and game creator (like The Game of You & The Game of Insight – An Interactive Way To Know Yourself, Create The Life You Want). She’s big into unleashing the truest, free-est parts of you, to experience more joy, purpose, and passion in life. Visit her at

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
  • Anonymous

    Brilliant. Thank you!

  • Lynn Zavaro

    You’re welcome:) xoxo

  • godless lib


  • Lynn Zavaro

    Thank you! Yes, forgot to make that change…

  • Zay

    Very nice article, I needed this today

  • CSW

    Wow – just had an epiphany. Realising that I am always trying to avoid the bad feelings and not fulfilling my potential because in every situation there are risks of bad feelings alongside the good…but to accept and embrace both, now there’s an idea!

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Yes! With everything in life there is something that is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. Even in your bad feelings, I bet there is a glimmer of good and vice versa. Embracing it ALL is the ticket!! xoxo Lynn

  • Lynn, this was an amazing post.  This opened my eyes to so much.  I hope you know I’m sharing this with everyone I know!  Thank you!!!

  • thank you for this! I wish I’d read it sooner before I decided to move away in order to “be happy” but it’s also very reassuring to read this. 

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Hi Allyn, this makes me so happy! Thank you:) xoxo Lynn

  • Lynn Zavaro

    It’s OK to move away to be happy – your dream is yours to create from the inside and out!!! Enjoy:) xoxo Lynn

  • YogaGirlDC

    This was a brilliant post on many levels. I particularly resonated with the notion that the result of what you do to generate a desired state of being is secondary to experiencing that state within.  How lovely and freeing to know that by being in touch with what it is I am truly seeking, I can choose how to generate it in the moment, separated from concerns about outcomes. Thank you!

  • Lynnzavaro

    I love this! You framed it so beautifully! YES!! Xoxo Lynn

  • This is great. Recently, as I focused on simply what is truly important to me, what I value and what I want to experience (freedom, community, happpiness, etc), I had a tremendous dropping-away of what is no longer needed on my journey.  It has helped me re-define what it is that I want and move through life with more ease and focus.  I looove these posts!

  • Hi Lynn,
    I really enjoyed this post & have bookmarked.Your questions drilled down nicely. I love asking “different” questions of my clients therefore I was intrigued by yours.
    be good to yourself

  • Thegetaway

    Hey Lynn–I totally stopped dead in my tracks on this reply…..”from the inside out!!!”  This has been my mantra!  In recovery I have learned, and continue to learn, so much about myself.  It wasn’t until I was able to look at myself from the inside out, that I really knew who I was, as an individual.  It’s the unfolding process that I enjoy the most!  I’m working on my ‘forward pull’, but building it backwards ” )  I’m discovering ME!  Vision without implementation is halucination.  Thank you so much for sharing <3    Joanie

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Hi David! Happy to offer something intriguing! xoxo LYnn

  • Tory

    This was wonderful for me to read today – thank you!  I often struggle to find a balance between a deep commitment to something (a place, a job, etc) and my desire for change and adventure.  I think examining these feelings in the ways you suggest will be very helpful to me!

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Awesome Tory!! Commitment and adventure can be one in the same! xoxox Lynn

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Thank you Sarah!!!!

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Awesome work Joanie!!! Nothing more important in this world than discovering “Me” – then we have more to offer, give and to be of service!!! xoxox Lynn

  • Lv2terp


  • Jasonmadar

    Thank you. Beautifully written!

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Thank you:)

  • Mike

    Some lovely thoughts and wisdom to start the day, thank you. I find that meditating on ‘what do I really want?’ is both illuminating and to which the answers, when they come, also shift over time.

  • Lynn Zavaro

    For sure – I find the same thing and sometimes it shifts quickly, in every moment coming and going:) Thanks for your comment! xoxo Lynn

  • Yoms

    Really great article 🙂 :).

  • Adele Uddo

    Thank you Lynn! These questions are so stimulating and exactly the reminder I need right now. Too often I believe that ‘success’ involves more pleasure…and I’m beginning to see that’s a limited view of a more expanded life. Great article!!

  • Cfinality000

    Your article was exactly what I needed. Perfect!

  • Pingback: 7 Steps to Move through Shame, Fear, and Regret | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Thank you for your inspirational thoughts. The brightest star in the heavens, however is Sirius, not CIrrus. Its actually a star cluster. I don’t know if you’ll read this, I think you wrote it a while ago.

  • Mike

    What if the teachings of other religions actually point to a central truth? What if they reveal a deeper inner desire within us that we are longing to fulfill and they show how mankind longs to make their way into acceptance or communion with this fulfillment?

    What if our ways of fulfilling this inner desire just don’t seem to get us there? That no matter how many different ways we try, and no matter how successful we are at performing them, there still remains a void that we just can’t seem to fill?

    What if our desire and longing to be accepted is designed within us? What if it points to a deeper truth about us that we won’t find out until we meet the one who actually made us, with whom to have this deep relationship?

    What if our desire for freedom actually points to a truth that we are in bondage to our desires and that we want to be free of them? What if the one who made us actually has the ability to free us from this bondage that we are unable to break away from ourselves?

    What if the loneliness we experience shows us that we are made to be in relationship and when we are not, there is a void? What if the joy we experience, when we feel love from another, although temporary it has proven to be, actually points to a greater love that is out there?

    What if the thing we are searching for is really outside of us? That the longing for joy IN us, is something we can actually experience when we recognize that “one” outside of us actually loves us and wants to commune with us?

    What if the “feelings” we experience turn out to be fleeting and untrustworthy? What if our “gut” is telling us that there is a greater truth that we have not yet experienced? What if “Truth” is real and greater than what we feel or desire to believe?

    What if the good sensations we feel along with the bad sensations we feel, actually point to a reality of good and evil in this world? What if we really do have a choice to make between the two?

    What if the struggles and pain that we experience in life actually point to a reality that reveals we live in a fallen and broken world. And apart from one who is in control, we are lost and without hope?

    What if the one who made us actually came and experienced the struggle of life on earth? What if the one who made us, is perfect and without fault even having experienced such?

    What if we really are more sinful and rotten than we ever imagined, yet more loved than we ever dared to hope?

    What if the one who made us, planned all of this, and actually put it in writing over thousands of years using numerous different authors? And what if we could read what His plans are for us, plans to give us a hope and a future?

    What if He sealed this plan with nails through His hands, for you, and for me? And what if He gives us the power and the joy to live this fulfilled life we have been longing to live, with Him coming into us to perfectly fulfill all of the desires of our hearts?

  • Leah

    Thanks for writing this article!

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Yes, that was pointed out to me. I appreciate it:)

  • Truman

    This post had to have been written when you were high. Hahahaaaa. Marijuana really makes you think.

  • Dee

    I love this post! It’s very thought provoking. The question I’m grappling with is if we create the experience within what is the purpose of doing anything? Of buying a new car, going on a trip, seeking a higher paying job, acting in a play? If everything can be achieved as an inner state, what is the point of seeking to achieve anything?

    Thank you!

  • Justaguy

    Thanks for the article

  • Kevin Elliott

    Your point #4 really resonates with me. As I have gotten older and went through a long season of depression and steal deal with depression…. I am in this place where if it does not give me pleasure… I have a hard time doing it… or it doesn’t get done. Thank God I love my work. I love hiking… yesterday I spent most of the day outside hiking. So.. can yo point me in a direction (ie… books, blogs, web pages, youtube videos.. etc) that would help me achieve a balance as far as doing those things that do not bring me pleasure? Thank you!

  • Kevin Elliott

    Okay… how does one learn to embrace the bad and neutral feelings? Any suggested further reading?

  • Tam b

    What if all of that sounds very beautiful but the reality is that it just doesn’t work for everyone?

  • Missy

    Thank you for this, Mike! What if indeed.

  • Mike

    What if my post reveals the reality of your reply… the struggle is very real isn’t it?