Building A Life of Fulfillment

Do you want a life of fulfillment? Muslims believe that building a life of fulfillment involves working from the end to the present. Think about what will be said at your eulogy. Then make plans to build a life of fulfillment based on that.

Three eulogy quotes:

“No eulogy is due to him who simply does his duty and nothing more.” St. Augustine

What if all you did was pay your bills, make your tax payments, and feed your family? Yes, all of these are important and there would be a price to pay if you did not do these things. These are basic life obligations. My father fed me, clothed me, and paid my way through college. He did the basics. But he did not go above and beyond that. He failed to recognize the need to love, comfort, and be there for us. The basics were not enough.

What about you? What can you do that goes above and beyond just living? How can you make a positive individual, family, community, and world contribution? What do you want said at your eulogy? How can you build a life of fulfillment?

“One way to evaluate your own reputation is to think about what would be said of you at your eulogy.” Brian Koslow.

Build your reputation by building a life of fulfillment.

So what is your reputation? I suppose it’s made up of what people think of you. This could be quite co-dependent. According to David Burns, author of “Feeling Good,” it’s dysfunctional to be in the business of reading minds. At the same time, it can be enlightening to think about how others perceive you. Is the general consensus of your societal contributions positive? Do others see your existence as important to the universe? Do you see yourself going above and beyond just living, just barely getting by, and only doing what you have to do? Think about it.

“A radio show recently did a beautiful eulogy of me.” Janis Ian

Suppose a radio show did do a eulogy for you? It could be fun to ruminate on this and wonder just what a radio interviewer would say. I’ve taken the liberty of writing what might be said about me.

Barbara Smith, age 106, passed away quietly last night in her sleep. During her lifetime, Altman had both positive and negative stripes to her credit. She was a relentless for the mentally ill an author, and a music teacher. She taught hundreds of musicians, both young and old. Before her halo gets too shiny, let’s remember that time in Switzerland when she did something she could not write home about. Then there was the casino incident. Her halo wasn’t brilliant, but it did contain some shiny moments. Altman devoted much of her life attempting to erase the stigma connected with mental illness.”

Alright, maybe that is a bit too positive. But it is fun to imagine what might be said. So what will be said if someone did a radio eulogy about you? How would you want it to read? Think about that and make life plans accordingly. Wouldn’t you want to impact your family in a positive way? Wouldn’t you want to leave the energy of love to them? Wouldn’t you want to impact them with tough love, empathy, and connection? Wouldn’t you want to do the same for your community? How can you build a life of fulfillment?

Let’s take a look at each one of these ways to leave the world a better place and to build lives of fulfillment. Tough Love: Love is not all romance. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a hard look at some behaviors and confront those we love with the hard facts. Sometimes this can be perceived as hurtful. I’ve had to do this in my own life. Others have chosen to confront me as well. When I was anorexic, it took some pretty intense conversations from family members and friends to get me to turn around and eat in a healthy manner. At five feet eight inches and ninety five pounds, I would surely have died if I had not been confronted. Was I hurt? You bet I was. Was I angry? Yes I was. Did I live? I certainly did. Those who confronted me helped me build a life of fulfillment.

Connection: We cannot survive without connection. This morning one of our ministers recounted something that happened at the first service. He was telling the story of an indigenous people whose livelihood has been threatened by a prominent world government. Their leader went straight to the government and reminded them about a law that prohibited the overtaking of their land. He was told that there was no knowledge of that law. One of the congregants went up to him and told him that he knows quite a few people in that particular country and is in a position to make his influence known. This is just one story of how connectedness is so important. This is how we can help one another build lives of fulfillment.

Empathy: Empathy is one of the doors to communication. Do you want your voice to be heard? The fastest way to do this is to make empathic statements. Is someone angry? An empathic question may very well open his ears to hear what you have to say. Is someone antagonistic? An empathic question will surely soften his ears and open them to you. Is someone cantankerous? Empathy will certainly bridge the gap so feelings will not be hurt. Creating harmonious relationships based on empathy can go a long way to building a life of fulfillment.

I can think of someone who once asked me if he could have my Aunt’s television set after my aunt died. I was so incensed that I lost my temper and created a lasting rift between us. Had I been empathic, I may have said “Is money an issue for you? Is it a worry for you? Are you stressed by financial lack?” Then I would have suggested going on Craigslist or shopping at Goodwill. Instead, I let my anger loose and created a real problem.

Plan of action: Take a good honest look at your life. Determine what you want said at your eulogy and then make plans to make that happen. This is how you can build a life of fulfillment.

Reflection: Mark Twain once said, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” There will come a time when the report of your death will be real. Think about it. Then plan to build a life of fulfillment.

If you are someone you know is suffering from major depression, showing signs of depression, is manic depressive, or is looking for how to deal with depression please subscribe to Barb’s blog. She has advice on such topics as, coping with depression, teen depression, anxiety and depression, depression in children, and other types of depression disorders. You can visit her website at []

I’m Barbara Altman

Raised in an alcoholic home, I became depressed and riddled with anxiety at an early age. In an effort to build a good life, I turned to my love of classical music for comfort, financial resources, and a place in the community. Over the years, I have dealt with depression in a variety of ways, from counseling to alternative and traditional healing modalities. One of the purposes in my life is to convey hope to those who have suffered from depression and I hope to do this in my writings and in speaking engagements.