Am I living a fulfilling life? Recently, while I was filling my car with gas, I noticed a Coast Guard advertisement playing on the pump’s video screen. It showed Coast Guardians braving waves and storms. They were coming together with members of their team and rescuing stranded families at sea. At the end of the video, the narrator asks, “So, what makes a life a good one?”
That powerful question sparked a nostalgic journey back through time. I was reminded that just a few years ago, I was living life completely wrong. I lacked purpose and direction was not living a fulfilling life. I was going through the motions without any intention or meaning. I had to take a hard look at my life and make some changes. Today, I’m living a much more meaningful and fulfilling life, and I’m grateful for the difficult journey that got me here.
Out of the Darkness: No Purpose, Direction or Fulfillment
In the spring of 2019, I was smoking a pack of cigarettes every day and drinking a 12-pack of beer every night. I ate junk food and lived a sedentary, lethargic lifestyle, barely moving from the couch. My health and fitness were deteriorating, and my relationships with my wife, children, and friends suffered.
Moreover, I was suffering spiritually. I had no sense of self-fulfillment, accomplishment, or satisfaction. I would later come to realize that this was because I lacked meaning and connection.
Desperately struggling with alcoholism, I was unsure of how to escape my cycle of self-destruction. In February of that year, I did something that was one of the bravest and most difficult things I’ve ever done: I sought help. I reached out to a friend and mentor and shared that I was struggling with alcoholism.
With his support, we searched for resources until we finally connected with a counselor who specialized in substance abuse. This was a turning point, marking the beginning of my journey toward sobriety and a more fulfilling life.
Over the next few months, I faced many challenges on my path to recovery. But on May 7, 2019, I finally achieved full sobriety. That was my first day without a drink, and I am proud to say that I haven’t had another since then. A year and a half later, I decided to tackle smoking, and with determination and support, I successfully broke that habit too.
Into the Light: The Journey to a Fulfilling Life
As I began to rebuild my life, I realized that I wanted more than just sobriety. I wanted to thrive. I wanted to experience true satisfaction and fulfillment. That’s when I discovered Positive Psychology, a field developed by Martin Seligman that emphasizes the pursuit of a fulfilling life beyond just the absence of illness or negative emotions.
Psychologists help people overcome challenges in their lives, whether it be battling addiction or coping with mental or behavioral disorders such as Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, or Schizophrenia. Others may help those dealing with life situations that cause significant mental or emotional distress, such as divorce, the loss of a loved one, or the anxiety of a high-stress job. Positive Psychology, however, is unique because it goes beyond helping people deal with these inner demons; this approach aims to help individuals and communities thrive by providing a scientific framework for living a fulfilling life.
Positive Psychology is the study of well-being and flourishing. It emphasizes the factors that enable us to live a fulfilling life, such as positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishments. It encompasses more than simply avoiding illness or seeking endless happiness; it involves finding meaning and connection in life, being our best selves, and living satisfying, fulfilling lives. It helps us to flourish and thrive by finding and embracing the meaning in our life’s work.
Intentional Living: Pursuing Meaning and Connection
Positive Psychology includes strategies such as building resilience, cultivating gratitude, and practicing mindfulness. Such practices can help people navigate life’s ups and downs while also helping them to achieve their long-term goals. Furthermore, the principles of Positive Psychology are beneficial for individuals in any stage of life — from children and adolescents to adults and seniors. The goal of Positive Psychology is to provide people with the skills and support they need to reach their full potential.
By intentionally investing in my personal growth and incorporating these principles into my daily life, I have experienced a significant transformation. Now, I now carefully curate every aspect of my lifestyle to promote positivity and wellbeing. This includes creating positive and uplifting playlists that influence my mood, establish daily habits of reading, fitness, nutritional eating, and mindfulness, and cultivating stronger and more meaningful relationships.
My life has completely transformed. I’ve taken up fitness and long-distance running, started volunteering in my community, and gone back to college to study Psychology. I want to use my own experiences, as well as my education, to help others. I want to support those who struggle with addiction. Together we can make a positive impact on the world, one person at a time.
The Magic of Sharing my Quest for a Fulfilling Life
Creating this website and writing about my experiences serves two purposes. First, it helps me organize and clarify what I have learned, and allows me to better understand and own my story. Second, I hope to inspire others who seek a similar transformation.
I’ve come to realize that expressing and sharing our personal experiences can do wonders in helping us understand our own stories. More so, it can inspire and motivate others as they continue their journey towards personal growth and fulfillment.
It is my hope to encourage you to join me and start sharing your stories too. Through this practice, we can create a community of like-minded individuals. We can work towards a more meaningful and fulfilling life together.