We’ve been fortunate enough to survive the “me” generation to learn that life is much more inclusive than it used to be. Thanks to social media, “me” exploded into “we,” and a socially conscious generation was born. What was once considered personal fulfillment has changed for the better.
Let’s have a little fun, shall we? Even if you were born circa 1990 or later, we’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy this quick reprise of a few of you or your parents’ greatest hits. You might even laugh out loud to discover how seriously you took life back then.
A few decades ago, you may remember that life got really big. Big hair, big shoulders, big houses and big mini-vans. Music videos and Madonna’s material world allowed us to dream bigger than we ever had before. We thought we’d finally made it, and that there was no turning back as to what we could personally achieve.
Not only were our prospects for a better quality of life opening up wide, women began to have more choices than just motherhood, teaching, nursing or secretarial positions. Race relations were improving, the Berlin wall fell, Gorbachev was in office, and Space Shuttles were orbiting the Earth.
It was the original Me generation. Individual expression was “bustier”-ing out all over in shocking new ways. We fretted over our children’s self-esteem, the number of orgasm’s we were having, and making sure we kept up with the latest fads and trends.
Reminiscing, you may be recalling your own personal triumphs. More importantly, how are you feeling about life right now?
Undoubtedly, your hopes and dreams are different than they once were. Change is occurring at such speeds, you might not be sure of what to wish for except for a global group hug and a well-earned paycheck in everyone’s hands.
What has become glaringly obvious is that our society is set up to push us toward and imbalanced lifestyle.
A new science is emerging linking happiness to our well-being. According to the World Happiness Report 2015 published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the United States ranks 15th in the world.
What is the common thread of personal well-being, or even ever-elusive personal fulfillment?
The difference between maintaining your zeal for life and heart-breaking disillusionment ultimately begins with you and where you are placing your focus.
Here are 7 proactive life responses for the most common reasons why you might feel your passion for life slipping away.
1) You feel you have failed at something.
Feeling cynical or defeated, or that your hard work is not paying off? When there is disappointment in life, seeing everything as an opportunity will keep you invigorated and challenged in a good way. The ability to adapt and learn are vital to living the good life. Consider changing course or starting something new. Age is not important. Follow your bliss.
2) You play the comparison game.
Making a living becomes complicated when you wish to live like someone else. Materialism and title are fake substitutes for real affluence—the ability to inspire people. Make a list of what you admire and begin to make changes in your life to reflect your values.
3) You’ve mortgaged your life.
Economy provides us with sustenance of life, but when it becomes the goal, you work like a machine, losing your passion for living. Investigate new markets that allow you greater life flexibility through stewardship rather than ownership.
4) You self-medicate to fill the void.
Innovation and automation have provided us with more free time than we’ve ever had. Instead of self-medicating your off-hours with TV, smart phones, information, and shopping, regain a sense of wonder by looking at every day as a fresh beginning filled with possibility. Rediscover your inner child.
5) You are daunted by all the strife in the world.
Living the good life is being peaceful even when those around you are stirring the pot. When others engage in negativity, don’t get sucked in. Consider ending support of violent media content. Become response-able for you and your corner of the world. Seek common ground with those you come into contact with to build upon, supporting change as needed.
6) You’ve allowed technology to supplant human contact and nature.
Do you ever walk your neighborhood and ask where all the people are? When was the last time you roamed a nature trail? Technology is nice, but it’s not nicer than a sense of community and all the wisdom and health benefits hidden in nature’s vastness. If you’ve forgotten this, stop what you’re doing right now. Come back in 30 minutes and report your findings.
7) Too much “me” time.
Self-love and self-care are certainly important, but keeping a healthy balance between ego and selflessness is the striking point of cultivating personal fulfillment. In a synergetic world, personal fulfillment and social responsibility are intimately connected. Try volunteering just two hours a month to discover what you would grumble about at minimum wage. It is a gift—the most exciting, rewarding, and fulfilling gift you could ever give—the gift of you!
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Finding balance between economic, social, and environmental objectives (or mind, body, and spirit) is key to personal and community well-being and happiness.
Even if you aren’t ready to embrace a life of We, the most important thing in life is the joy in being alive. If you think there is something more important than this, you are bound to experience disillusionment.
Your life becomes beautiful as soon as you put your heart into it. Your passion for life can never be taken away from you—unless you take away your focus.
Don’t worry, nobody’s perfect. We all have our rough patches. Focus is the key to mastery in life. Which do you wish to master? Gratitude for being alive or being alive and feeling like you’re dead?
Once you let go of what is illusory, you embrace life’s mystery and finally begin to live!
Nominated for the 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Christine is the co-founder of the What Would Love Do Foundation. Her latest book is Awakening Leadership: Embracing Mindfulness, Your Life's Purpose, and the Leader You Were Born to Be. www.ChristineHorner.com, www.Facebook.com/hornerchristine, www.Twitter.com/authorhornerc