Do we have Life Satisfaction?
August 27, 2014

Our life is a single open book; a one-time affair. Everyone begins their life not as a game but with a stern decision, striving hard to make their life a happy one where negativity makes no room at that particular juncture. However, in the course of time when the means fails to keep life happy, dream shatters, negativity crops up in different forms and some end their life then and there itself. Here, once attitude becomes selfish, leading them to pour cold water on themselves. Therefore, if we are generous in our attitude, definitely we adjust our lives by whatever means that are at our disposal. Therefore, money should not be the criteria to keep one's life happy and floating. 

What is life satisfaction then? One example could be, have you heard recently it was a celebration of human spirit and indomitable courage to overcome all odds, seven differently-abled achievers from various walks of life were honoured with the Swabhiman Awards. The awards were instituted by Daijiworld Weekly to recognize the achievements of the differently-abled in society. Genuine mindset or motivation to give and receive life satisfaction is not a one-time affair but is an on-going process. Therefore, so far Swabhiman Awards were celebrated on two separate occasions for the happiness of all the awardees, society, chief guests and all the attendees. 

At the previous occasion, Fr Ivan Madtha accepting the award and addressing the gathering on behalf of all the awardees said that the people with disabilities are addressed to with different names. Some call them disabled, some call them specially-abled. But whatever these persons are called, the reality does not change. “We do not want change in name, what we want is change in attitude. We do not want sympathy, we want support." This voice of Fr Ivan Madtha should make us search our hearts; God's creations demand for acceptance and recognition. We have to help our neighbor or any needy. Thus by accepting and willing to help the needy we show our Beautiful Mind which itself is a prelude for life satisfaction. 

Assisting to build someone's life is a noble cause. It can be done in any form. I know, one couple recently from Abu Dhabi, took the initiative to make matches whenever they hear someone is seeking a marriage proposal. This service is out of their goodwill and a free act to acclaim some part of life satisfaction by their good deeds. We have observed, especially in the Middle East and in Qatar various cultural organizations spare no efforts to assist unfortunate ones back in their hometown or in India. It is a collective effort which derives them collective life satisfaction, resulting from the immense time, effort and sacrifice contributed to the cause. It is not a one-time event, but a continuous process all these years of carrying out this remarkable job through their founder members, past and present presidents ie, MCC, Mr. Norbert Corda, MCA, Mr. Arthur Pais, Tulu Koota, Mr. Ravi Shetty, Karnataka Sangha Qatar, Mr. Deepak Shetty and so on. Thanks for your contributions Sirs. You, all of you, have made some part of this universe a beautiful place to live in. 

The thought of doing a good deed might pop into our minds from time to time, but due to our busy lives, it might get pushed to the back burner more than we'd like. The truth is, most good deeds don't require the amount of time and organization we think they do. The opportunity to do a good deed pops up every day and can be as simple as holding the door for people behind you, especially if the person behind is carrying packages, bags or kids, volunteering for a charity, donating blood - a single blood donation can help up to 4 people, donating used clothes and house wares to charity, etc. Moreover, if you read any article and if you like it, appreciate it. It will take some of your good will to appreciate and to make others feel good. 

We need not imitate Mother Teresa in our lives but if we do good deeds, people will see Mother Teresa in us. There are many benefits of unselfish giving, that is, giving brings satisfaction, giving stimulates gratitude, giving attracts giving. I really admire the service of church ushers or temple/mosque volunteers who provide greater satisfaction to others and receive within them a self/ life satisfaction by their good deeds. Their names will be heard nowhere nor any awards will reach them. Such acts are good examples of good deeds and selfless service. If there is a will, most important is to pick a cause that's near and dear to our hearts and to donate our time to it, that's where life satisfaction is guaranteed on a day to day basis. 

We see there are DIFFICULT ways to achieve life satisfaction too; if someone is habitually or continuously craving for 3 Ws (wealth, wine, women) of course, it is an act of self-pleasure, and no amount of life can be satisfying to them in the real sense. If someone is an ‘I’ specialist and not a ‘we’ specialist, no amount ‘I’ will make his life happy for he is an egoist. If someone is a miser, nothing will bring satisfaction for he has not experienced happiness by giving, but only by receiving. An atheist may lead a good life by his philosophy of 'do good and avoid evil'. However, I have watched many, who, in their dying stages, have regretted not having led a wonderful life in belief in prayer and relationship with God.

Let us go one step further. A student can’t lead a happy life, if he keeps studies at bay. A family can’t lead a happy life, if any of the members is selfish. An employee may work very well in his company but if he is not paid well, he may not lead a happy life if he thinks that money is the only criteria to keep him happy. Some folks carry out great amount of charity works just as a subjective measure to fetch them some name and fame. Such people usually do not seek satisfaction in life but harbour an attitude seeking continues self-glory.

Recently I asked the same question, 'do you have life satisfaction' to the aged people. I got three kinds of answers.

A divorcee said, 'better if I had led a single life than a married one all my life, life was spent for the wrong ends. Life goes on now, with or without satisfaction, you may guess'.

Another said, 'our family life was an excellent one, led peacefully and happily but in the later stage we felt remorse over why we gave birth to such children. Now, in our old age children have become totally indifferent to us'.

Yet another family said, 'Yes, I thank God, we expected nothing great in life but God gave us everything, for we led a prayerful life and helped others with whatever we had'. 

Strangely enough, out of the three, none of them complained that their happiness was curtailed due to shortage of money. Therefore, money is not a factor which gives life satisfaction. 

Again, I put the same question, 'do you have life satisfaction' to priests and nuns. Their straight forward and spontaneous answer was a big ‘YES’, without an iota of hesitation. I could see there was real joyful fire in their answers. They were absolutely right. Every priest or nun does lead a happy life. The reason behind it mainly is that they have achieved it leading a prayerful life, selfless life of giving and not being selfish. Therefore, priesthood or life being a nun is a path to happiness because it so often brings them into contact with God’s grace. In prayer, through their community life, and especially when administering the sacraments, they are constantly surprised by this grace, whether they are of primary or even the secondary beneficiary. 

From the above, one can understand that life satisfaction is not the same as job satisfaction, academic satisfaction or professional satisfaction but are good desires, good deeds done for free without seeking any personal glory or any tags attached to it. To sum up in the words of Maxim Gorky, a Russian writer, "When work is a pleasure, life is a joy! When work is a duty, life is slavery" (Gorky, 1927, p.108). However, it is true that if we work sincerely in our profession, we are bound to achieve job satisfaction which might influence some sort of life satisfaction later.

To be frank, my thoughts were related to what is life satisfaction. Therefore, if we feel that we have a purpose in our life and what we do every day gives us satisfaction, then we are lucky. In case we feel something is missing from our life and our potential is unfulfilled, chances are there are many things which cause us to feel less than satisfied with where we are now. Everyone has a list of wishes not fulfilled but brooding over it means less chance of achieving life satisfaction. 

Life satisfaction does not come from money nor from material cravings. It comes from what we think, what we have, what we do and how we act on it. Yes, our means or time could be little to help others, but God sees the willing mind, open heart and a cheerful giver. Therefore, a sincere desire to serve others will walk up to God as a silent prayer; God is sure to bless him and his future generations; and is bound to fulfill those desires every moment of his life, which in itself becomes a direct answer to the question 'do we have life satisfaction'.

Dear Readers, thanks for spending some of your precious time going through this article. Let us stay Blessed.