When this question arises I tend to think about movie stars. Not because I have some crazy envy that I wish I was in their shoes. Its rather the opposite as they are great reminders about how quality of life can get misplaced in our culture. They seemingly have everything, wealth, fame and generally beauty, but their lives are invariably very messy and don’t portray lasting contentment and inner peace. In fact they are just as human as anybody else with the messiness and challenges of life. The point I’m trying to make is that we all want to be happy and feel great about ourselves, but the emphasis has been placed too much on external achievement, outer material wealth and the way we look as the means to get to that deep lasting happiness and quality of life we so desire. A close examination of ones life may show that there is some discrepancy between the constant drive for external manifestation of things and how one feels about oneself.
Take self esteem. Why is it that someone can have everything or have all their needs generally well met yet they have low self esteem. The paradigm of our culture has values that say that the acquisition of things will make you happy and by association provide positive self esteem. Look at adverts. The message is nearly always have this and you too will feel this good or look this good. No doubt getting a new car or new pair of shoes does feel good for a while, but then it usually stops. The new car or new shoes may even boost our self esteem for a while but it doesn’t appear to be lasting. So what’s the answer. I believe at the very least a balanced perspective where inner qualities are cultivated and valued alongside acquisition of legitimate material needs and the right to pursue a meaningful life.
Inner quality of life can be achieved through other avenues such as psychotherapy, self growth programs, spirituality and other frameworks that explore inner domains. Obviously I’m biased, but I’m also unapologetic about spruiking psychotherapy as a means to explore the inner qualities of life as its my bread and butter so to speak. Psychotherapy is not just about addressing particular issues and problems in peoples life’s, it also has the capacity and potential to explore deeper aspects of ourselves by uncovering the barriers that hinder deeper potentials which give rise to such things as self esteem and inner well being.
May this day find you well.