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Brown County Browser: Envisioning a rich and meaningful life

I’m not going to tell you what my bad habits are, but I have them–and so do you. They’re the things you avoid thinking about. You don’t like to remember your bad habits because they are the ways you fail, and let others down, and let yourself down. Issues of mental health or substance abuse often involve regrettable habits. The good news is that addressing your problems doesn’t mean you need to spend more time thinking about your mistakes. But you may need to spend more time thinking about what makes life worthwhile to you.

Imagine a rich and meaningful life–the life that you would like to live now, or one or five or ten years from now. Consider what you see. What is part of that picture? What are you like? What makes that vision of your life rich, meaningful, and satisfying? Perhaps it’s difficult for you to imagine. Take your time, and notice the differences. Maybe you’re patient with your family, or there are no weeds in your garden. You have your arm around your spouse, or you don’t always have a beer in hand. You’re healthy, content. Not everything is just right, but you’re doing more of the right things.

As you move toward your personal vision of a richer and more meaningful life, the things that were holding you back don’t disappear. But they will likely trouble you less as you become more engaged with the things that contribute to well-being and fulfillment in the present.

Relationship problems, issues of mental health, and substance abuse problems demand attention and may require professional care, but successful personal change also requires you to be involved in a gradual process of making the next right decision to become more congruent with what you value. You don’t need to fix everything right now. But there’s probably something you’re prepared to change. Let’s begin with that.

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