The wellbeing community speak of a flourishing life.
Flourishing implies more than being happy it includes the idea of living in a way that involves healthy thought and action, in mind, body and spirit. The rewards of a full and flourishing life are happiness and wellbeing.
The most interesting and relevant research findings into what contributes to a flourishing life tell us the importance of:
Feeling good, being grateful, being curious and open minded, acting generously, choosing wisely, living meaningfully, having self-acceptance and being sociable.
Research into this subject appears to be confirming old ideas about character and living a ‘good’ life. All traditional stories that teach us about this subject however, are clothed in metaphor or tale, being a ‘good’ person gets rewarded and attending to character traits that endear you to others is the key to a ‘good’ life and reward. Positive psychology has collided with moral philosophy and spiritual practices and the reward is wellbeing and happiness.
All stories are really about good character and the courage to learn and face challenges. This is in essence at the core of every Hollywood story and the ‘reward’ is as likely to be happiness through personal fulfilment and self-discovery as material gain. The guy gets the girl because he wins himself first (or vice versa).
The stuff of tales – courage, generosity, wisdom, and honour depends on self-knowledge and belief combined with the ability to look beyond the self, to the needs of others. Stop for a moment and think about what in your life has given you the most lasting sense of well-being – when you felt truly yourself, a moment or event that caused you to feel great long afterwards. I bet it either affected other people or was something that involved a challenge.
Altruism is not self-denial it is the employment of empathy and imagination. When combined with that horrible word responsibility, we own up to the fact that our lives are not separate but intricately interdependent and our actions matter.
A flourishing live is an integrated life, living a life that is both fulfilling to yourself as well as those around you and beyond. A flourishing life can begin with a smile and always has a story to tell.