The Path from Desire to Fulfillment

Desire and fulfillment flow into each other in a virtuous cycle. If you feel unfulfilled in areas of your life, read through the steps below and see if you can identify where in the cycle you tend to get hung up the most.

Take a look at these steps to see if one or two of them immediately stand out. Then read the descriptions for further clarification. This will help you understand where your focus needs to be to move forward.

  1. You don’t think you have desire
  2. You have trouble feeling your desire
  3. You have trouble expressing your desire
  4. You have trouble receiving
  5. You have trouble feeling gratitude
  6. You’re not aware of when you are satiated
  7. You’re not gracious or generous

1. You don’t think you have desire

Signs that you struggle with this:

  • You feel apathetic
  • You feel “content with how things are”…. (but not really)
  • You tend to let others decide or lead the way
  • You appear to be helpful or accommodating, but not with joy or true generosity
  • It’s deeply ingrained in you that desire is bad—for example sexual appetite, or material wants—or that it’s noble to be selfless
  • You feel resigned, or acquiescent
  • You tend to hitch a ride on other people’s desires, motivations, and passions

2. You have trouble feeling your desire

Signs that you struggle with this:

  • Your desire is intellectual, hypothetical—you can think of things you theoretically want, but the feeling is detached and unmotivated
  • Desire feels somewhere off in the distance, out of reach
  • You “want to want” — you wish you had desire
  • You don’t know what you want—something, but you can’t identify it
  • You’re always engaged in some self-actualization process that never comes to fruition—it’s a place you keep yourself parked

3. You have trouble expressing your desire

Signs that you struggle with this:

  • You won’t ask for it, or take clear action to bring it about
  • You have harsh self-judgment, or you fear others judgment, about what you desire
  • You overwhelm yourself with imagined arguments against—it’s too hard, it’s unlikely, bad things will happen
  • Wishing—you want it, but refuse to be the one to make it happen
  • Doubling down on affirmations, while avoiding concrete action
  • You “hint,” rather than making a clear, clean request that feels good to the listener

4. You have trouble receiving what you want with open arms

Signs that you struggle with this:

  • You push away or sabotage
  • You feel like you haven’t earned it, or don’t deserve it
  • You set yourself and others up to fail—self-defeating patterns
  • The prospect of actual fulfillment makes you uneasy, not excited or eager
  • You’ve grown accustomed to chronic, unfulfilled pursuit, it’s become your comfort zone
  • You deflect compliments or turn away gifts

5. You have trouble feeling gratitude

Signs that you struggle with this:

  • You complain or feel dissatisfied—consistently, not just occasionally
  • Nothing’s ever right, nothing’s ever good enough
  • Your desire seems ungratifiable, even in the face of other people’s attempts to meet it
  • You feel numb, unappreciative, or resentful
  • The giving people in your life eventually stop trying, and you think, “See, I knew they‘d let me down.”

6. You’re not consciously aware of when you are satiated

Signs that you struggle with this:

  • You continue to want beyond what you can actually enjoy or appreciate
  • You have habituated feelings of scarcity that doesn’t match the current circumstances
  • You fail to notice when you’re “full” or saturated — your desire has been met and fulfilled
  • You cling to the ghost of hunger

7. You‘re not generous or gracious

Signs that you struggle with this:

  • Expressing gratitude is uncomfortable
  • You cling stubbornly to past resentments
  • You feel a sense of obligation
  • You’re stingy, and it’s incongruous
  • You’re mean to the people who love you
  • You’ve forgotten the joyful, gratifying experience of giving for its own pleasure
  • You’re unwilling to reciprocate or outpour
  • You feel a growing discomfort with abundance and don’t know why, and you tend to invent problems

Positive signs of the full cycle of desire and fulfillment:

  • You feel like you got yours and you’re all about others getting theirs
  • You take pleasure in others’ happiness and fulfillment
  • You feel a joyous outpouring of love
  • You respond to “Thank you” with “Thank you!”
  • Your giving is generative — rather than costing you, it creates more abundance
  • You feel power, confidence, and ease, and you emanate the natural attractiveness of a warm personality
  • Your own healthy desire and appetite are fully restored; you’re ready to pursue, receive, and enjoy the next thing
  • People love giving to you; it feels good to them to receive your requests and fulfill them

If you’re not sure where to start, start here. This is the starting place for the unimpeded flow of desire and fulfillment, and its only prerequisite is internal.


© 2012–2018 by Ken Blackman. All rights reserved.

(Special thanks to Nicole Daedone, with whom the original idea was co-conceived)

Photo by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 on Unsplash