Philosophy for More Wholistic Wellbeing
The philosophy of Wholistic Wellbeing is humanistic: it places human beings at the nucleus of societies and ecosystems, not to value us above all other forms of life, but rather to highlight our responsibility towards all other forms of life. The philosophy of Wholistic Wellbeing is based on the belief that we are at one with ourselves when we are at one with our surrounding environment, and that our lives take on meaning when we unlock the purpose destined for us through mindfulness and inner peace.
It’s a shame that philosophy has a reputation for being a daunting, opaque, and often solipsistic genre of writing. In a world where we are constantly in a rush and things constantly in flux, people would much rather sit down and read a story than an essay about theories and concepts.
We’re wrong to think in this way: too often reduced to a literature written by thinkers obsessed with the abstract rather than the concrete, philosophy should be viewed as a belief-system that sets out to answer questions to optimize how we spend our time on Earth. Whether the standpoint taken is optimistic, pessimistic, or anything in between, philosophers sketch out paths towards living with purpose — even those who believe existence is meaningless.
This is why reading philosophy comforts me: it reminds me that we all have similar concerns and preoccupations. We are saddened by the same events or lifted by the same emotions. We strive to better ourselves, often using morality as a benchmark. This human journey is written into thousands of pages of philosophy books. Wholistic Wellbeing is simply another iteration of that pursuit; it’s about critical thinking, questioning established paradigms, and trying to convince those around us about what the correct way to live is.
On this UNESCO-designated World Philosophy Day (18 November 2021), I’d like to invite everyone to meditate on the issues that the philosophy of Wholistic Wellbeing is trying to solve. It certainly would be easier to say: here, you have an established list of rules, follow those, and your life will improve. Unfortunately, this is not the way the world works. Rules are important, but we must ask ourselves what we want out of life. Your own answer may come from how you apply the tenets of Wholistic Wellbeing.
Some may sacrifice their wellbeing toward the greater good. Parents raising children often have to compromise on their social and professional lives; surgeons working overtime to save lives often suffer from sleep deprivation; and certain jobs, like those of firefighters, involve risking one’s own life entirely. Some people find purpose in ways that overstretch them and invite them to seek wellbeing elsewhere than in its traditional comfort zones. An integral part of the Wholistic Wellbeing philosophy is the acceptance that we all approach life differently and find meaning in different ways.
Wellbeing is about the wholeness of your experience. It is not a one-size-fits-all concept. It requires deep thinking about what we want from life, our personal desires, our limitations, and more. It requires us to philosophize about our lives to some extent. Our time on Earth is limited as we journey through life. Wholistic Wellbeing allows us to answer vital questions.
I woke up one day realizing that, after years of hard work, my body had been suffering symptoms of burnout. I had sacrificed my physical, emotional and social wellbeing to achieve professional wellbeing. However, there are times in everyone’s lives where such sacrifices must be made.
Let’s not live as though we’re simply vessels. We are the sum of our actions and choices. Let’s celebrate World Philosophy Day by having an inner conversation: what do I want? How do I achieve it? Will it make me happy? Being conscious of what our inner world is telling us enables us to use the tools of Wholistic Wellbeing in a correct, tailor-made way, to find happiness, and, eventually, to achieve our ultimate goals.