The Myth of Fulfillment

We are addicted to fulfillment, to the eradication of all emptiness. . . . (we have) swallowed the cultural myth that says, “if you are well-adjusted, and if you are living your life properly, you will feel fulfilled, satisfied, content, and serene.”  If you are not satisfied and fulfilled, there is something wrong with you. . .

Most importantly, the myth of fulfillment makes us miss the most beautiful aspect of our human souls: our emptiness, our incompleteness, our radical yearning for love. We were never meant to be completely fulfilled; we were meant to taste it, to long for it, and to grow toward it.  In this way we participate in love becoming life, life becoming love. To miss our emptiness is, finally, to miss our hope.

Emptiness, yearning, incompleteness: these unpleasant words hold a hope for incomprehensible beauty. It is precisely in these seemingly abhorrent qualities of ourselves – qualities that we spend most of our time trying to fix or deny – that the very thing we most long for can be found: hope for the human spirit, freedom for love.

This is a secret known by those who have had the courage to face their own emptiness. The secret of being in love, of falling in love with life as it is meant to be, is to befriend our yearning instead of avoiding it, to live into our longing rather than trying to resolve it, to enter the spaciousness of our emptiness instead of trying to fill it up.

It has taken me a long time to learn this secret, and I continue to forget it many times each day.

– by Gerald G. May  in The Awakened Heart: Opening Yourself to the Love You Need


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  1. Wonderful insights. I am currently studying a course on the Old Testament and this has put things in a different more personal perspective.