A Fulfilling Life
If anything eludes many of us in our narcissitic age, it’s a genuinely fulfilling life. The dominant culture teaches us to gratify ourselves, however and whenever we can. And it offers us numerous ways to do it, too. One might wonder, therefore, why so many of us are so unhappy.
There’s no doubt that the ways we typically gratify ourselves can make us feel good, at least for a while. But satisfying our cravings and momentarily forgetting our pain is not the same as truly loving ourselves. Moreover, the things that appease us the most can easily become addictions. They trap us in an endless cycle of indulging and feeling good in the moment while feeling only distress and emptiness in the times in between.
Integrity of character is important for many reasons. It’s the essential backbone of a civil and prosperous society. And it’s also the key to wholesome, lasting relationships. But perhaps above and beyond all else, while it’s perhaps the best-kept secret, it’s the way to a genuinely fulfilling life.
A Fulfilling Life
Adequately describing a genuinely rich and fulfilling life is difficult. It’s much easier to describe what it is not. It’s certainly not a life dominated by a narcissistic culture’s definitions of happiness or success. And it’s not a life lived solely as you feel you must as opposed to the life for which your very soul cries out. And if character integrity were only about behaving in a civil manner, it could not possibly be the path to personal fulfillment. In truth, however, character is about far more than mere civility – so much more!
Those familiar with my books Character Disturbance and Essentials for the Journey know that I believe that developing character is life’s most important task. It’s a painstaking process that involves the learning of critical life lessons I call the 10 Commandments of Character. And while embracing the lessons these “commandments” teach can indeed make anyone a better person, that’s not the ultimate goal. Rather, the ultimate goal is a rich, rewarding, life, a life full of love and constant opportunities for more love.
A richer, more fulfilling life is the natural result of a psychological and spiritual awakening. At one level, embracing the “commandments” I’ve often referenced empowers, which is a value in itself. But at a much deeper level, living out the principles the commandments teach is both consciousness-expanding and heartwarming. It’s living on a different plane and with higher levels of awareness and appreciation.
I have more to say about this topic on the latest installment of Character Matters.