What Is A Good Life?

There is generally broad agreement in Western cultures that the good things of life typically include such things as having a home, spending one’s time meaningfully, loving and being loved, having a range of relationships, contributing, having control over things that matter, safety and financial security. The importance of the deep feeling of belonging and acceptance is a human need and thus is shared by all. The feeling of deep fulfillment that comes from having a love relationship of trust, respect and deep liking is a gift, human to human” – Unknown

Often the concept of a ‘good life’ is seen as too personal and subjective to define accurately. However, it is possible to identify the elements of a “good life” that bring together a range of universal things that the vast majority of people would desire.

It has been said that the ingredients to a good life include:

  • Family and friends, intimate group
  • A place to call home
  • Being connected to the community, belonging somewhere
  • A sense of being safe and secure
  • Meaningful work/daytime activity
  • Opportunities for a person to discover and develop their abilities, skills, gifts and talents
  • To be treated as a human and with respect
  • To be dealt with in an honest manner
  • To be treated as an individual
  • Having a say about the important decisions in one’s own life
  • The chance to interact with others in a normal manner
  • Opportunities to participate in ordinary activities of human social life
  • To be able to contribute to the community and have those contributions to be recognised as valuable
  • Good health
  • A transcendent belief system

In his book ‘The Good Life’, Hugh Mackay talks about one of our deep needs as humans is to know that we have lived a useful life and that we have responded as well as possible to the needs of others, contributing to their well being in whatever ways we can.

We can often be fooled into thinking someone has a good life when they have all their obvious needs met, have a place to live, and are the recipients of lots of services or things. We might expect they should be more grateful or happy, but they might not be fulfilled. People like to feel like they contribute to the well being of others, rather than always receiving from it. That sense of purpose comes from people feeling they have lived a useful life through their contribution to others.

Knowledge is power!

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