The good life is most often portrayed in media messages that illustrate the life that money, material wealth and social status can acquire; the kind of life that the source of the message will implicitly or explicitly suggest will be obtained once their particular product or service is obtained.
Given just a moment of thought, isn't almost every media message, at its root, a call to action for you to seek the so-called good life? After repeated exposure (in the hundreds or even thousands of times per day) these message have the cumulative effect of indoctrinating the masses that happiness is something created from sources outside of the self.
"Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty." ~ Socrates
Think of how many times you've seen images like these:
- A hand in the air firmly grasping a wad of money.
- People laughing while wearing expensive clothing or accessories.
- A male celebrity on a yacht surrounded by scantily clad females looking at him adoringly.
- A view of two people sitting in lounge chairs, sipping on ice-cold drinks in the shade of palm trees on a beach overlooking a crystal-clear ocean under unbelievably blue skies.
What is 'the good life' and why do you want it?
Could it be that the good life is a lifestyle that social conventions have taught you to seek? Do you believe that a person living in a third world country would dream of owning a yacht and a designer watch; or would they dream of a refrigerator full of food and a reliable source of clean running water? How do blind people define the good life? What do they 'see?'
"I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a man-made world." ~ Helen Keller
If you see a person driving a newer car, wearing nicer clothes, or living in a larger house in a "better" neighborhood than you, how does that influence your self-worth, your self-image?
It is important to be aware of how you see yourself and that your self image is not a reflection of how you perceive others see you. If your perception is your reality, you must make it one of your highest priorities to limit false perceptions. These perceptions almost always begin with a message from an outside source that is then translated into self-defeating messages--false perceptions--within your own mind:
- She looks better in that dress than I do.
- If I had that [insert product here], I would be attractive to others.
- Once I have X amount of dollars, things will be better.
- Those people are happy. If I do what they do, if I have what they have, I will also be happy.
Life is What You Make It
If you think about it, the things that truly bring happiness are not purchased with money: A special relationship, a walk in your favorite park, the laugh of a child, the love of your pet.
An extreme lack of money, in some circumstances, can certainly make the good life harder to obtain, but if you create your own definition of the good life, absent of financial terms, and find ways to be happy with what you already have now, you might find that your are already living it...