The Price of a Good Life

| September 4, 2013 | 0 Comments

by Mrs. Freud

“Of course I want to live a good life,” is the astonished answer of anyone I have ever asked if they aspire to live a good life. However, in my 15 years as a psychologist as well as life coach, I have come across many instances where significant resistance arose as soon as people were faced with making a decision to act towards living a good life. That does not make much sense to me. What does it then take to have a good life?

In my experience, it takes most of all the conscious commitment and determination to live a good life. Especially for those of us who live in urban areas. That’s because there are many other colliding interests from not only people but also companies and organizations.

Someone wants something from us. Many billions of dollars are spent to create desires for ourselves that otherwise we would not seek to quench. Then there is also our own personal history, the lessons we learned growing up and the beliefs that we internalized from hearing them over and over again, usually from our parents and teachers. A third aspect of why it might be difficult to have a clear path to a good life is the uncertainty or ambivalence about who we think we are and what we value in life. This attitude can hold us back from progress and good choices, rather to play it safe than fully going for it.

What does a good life mean to you? In general, it is not one spent on a couch without challenges. People report feeling alive and happy after they have made courageous decisions in favor of long held dreams or sincere passions; such as leaving that desk job to start a home based business. It could be going on a trip to another continent where a parent came from, after years of a latent fear of flying. Or it could be leaving or recommitting to a spouse of 20 years where the last 10 were somewhat luke warm. Or, how about changing nothing in life but ceasing to complain about a boring job and enjoying the perks of a safe job and getting to be with people every day?

A good life is an authentic life. It takes being completely honest with ourselves; and the willingness to search, act, observe, adjust our actions according to our goals and personal values. It is also very subjective, nobody else can define it for us.

It takes the conscious choice. Whereas it can happen by itself, I have found it to be the rare person who can navigate all the challenges and distractions without considerable reflection and clarity. Deciding to lead the good life comes with a price. It gives us the rudder: the responsibility. We can´t hide anymore or say “if only” this or that were the case or “if only” the other person would change or “if only” I had had a different childhood. The good life is not usually glorious or heroic, it simply is a good life with enough time to recharge batteries, enough challenges to keep us alert and on our toes, enough social encounters for us to feel connected and enough financial stability for us to feel safe. Taking good care of our health, physical as well as mental and emotional, sleep, balanced and proper nutrition and exercise are essential for the good life, and we fit it in to whatever life we choose to live. Sometimes, the help from professionals is welcomed and used on a need-to basis. On my blog you can find tools and direction for the peace of mind that helps with living a good life:

Author Sabine Starr is a psychologist licensed in Vienna, Austria, currently living and working in Mission Hills. She has written numerous articles for professional psychology journals. For further information, visit and follow her blog at


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