How Satisfied With Life Are You?
I didn’t know until I began to research Well-Being what a journey I was in for. As an educator, I was used to giving assessments for academic achievement, cognitive potentials, interest surveys and even some basic form of self-esteem on others. My friends in the counseling world brought up the whole area of Well-Being and I began to be caught by the bug… just how satisfied am I with my life at this stage?
I reviewed research from Dr. Carol Ryff out of the University of Wisconsin who identified six domains of Well-Being. Well-Being is closely aligned to “optimal psychological functioning”. The six areas include: Self-Acceptance, Relationships, Autonomy, Environment, Personal Growth, and Sense of Purpose. The descriptions of each of the six domains are in the adapted survey I created. The levels of 1-5 are enough for anyone to gain a general sense of where they might see themselves at this stage in their lives. Make no mistake, Well-Being changes with life and life stages.
I invite you to take the survey as a way to have a beginning place from which evaluate your sense of over-all sense of well-being. If you find you rate yourself lower than 3 in any of the six domains, it might be time to consider next steps that would be good for you. Take a look at the six domains. Reflect on each description and then click on a number beginning at one for low and five for a high level.
Below the survey I’ve offered my narrative on the differences in the Well-Being I evaluated me today as compaed to 30 or so years ago. You might do the same, and you could be pleasently surprised as I was about the positive changes in well-being in most areas! Take the survey!
Reflections on My Results
I offer my brief reflections on how my ratings might have been in my 30’s as compared to now. While I wasn’t necessarily surprised by my changes, this exercise helped me tremendously in being grateful for my life today.
Self-acceptance: In my 20’s and 30’s this would have been scored on the lower end of the continuum, probably a 2. I was always pushing myself to do more, to be more, to achieve more because I thought I began much behind others. Now thankfully I can say this is closer to a 5.
Relationship with others: This too would have been rated in the 1-2 range in my younger years; I was on my own, unmarried and had moved three times for more interesting and fulfilling teaching jobs. Of course, that meant I wasn’t developing deep friendships. Now however I’m thankfully much better in this area having been in my home for 25 years.
Autonomy: I think when you’re younger you think you have autonomy just because you’re on your own and making a living, making your choices and living with the consequences. So, while I might have reported a higher score in my 30’s,, truthfully it would have been lower, a 2 or perhaps a 3. Now I say I’m a 4+. 😊
Environment: I’ve always had an abundance of energy, drive and motivation and as a problem-solver, I didn’t allow someone’s No to derail what I thought was good to do. Ironically though, the more experience I have, the more aware I am of the complexities and sometimes find myself now more stressed. However, I’m more aware of it and take better care of myself now. In my 30’s I would have rated a 4, now the same; but with a different level of experience from which to rate.
Personal Growth: As a 30-something, I was in the midst of considerable personal growth, yet it came from mostly adapting to out life circumstances. So I might have rated me a 3. Today, I’d rate me a 4 as I’ve taken more ownership for my life trajectory.
Sense of Purpose in Life: This area has been a God or Goddess-sent spark in me because I’ve been blessed with a sense of purpose despite the family and geography of my early years. I might not have known an ultimate purpose but now I’m closer to that than ever. Today I’d say 4.
How about you? To what extent were these six domains helpful to obtain a more clear sense of what is meant by well-being? In what areas would you like to see more articles, or more personal stories? Let me know.
VP Life Transformation Partners