It seems to me that we have begun to take delayed gratification to the extreme when it comes to the subject of happiness.
Everyday we find ways to perpetually delay happiness. If you’re not where you want to be in your career, your partner does’t read your mind, your children aren’t the model of perfection, or you haven’t managed to be the perfect parent, then happiness must be withheld in some form until those things are remedied.
Amazingly enough, we are immediately ready to borrow anxiety from the future or replay regrets from the past, but when provided with an opportunity to soak in some happiness, it is the first thing to be postponed for almost any reason at hand. Happiness can wait but anxiety can’t? It starts young, remember thinking, when I’m finally 16, 18, 21 and I’m independent that will be the best! Or when I finally finish my degree, life will be amazing! By postponing happiness we wish precious time away and delay what we are in a constant search for. We even put off getting too excited about things for fear that it may not last. And when we accomplish something, we focus on the next task rather than taking in small victories. Even when we let ourselves feel happy, in many cultures, we are afraid to share too much happiness with the world for fear of things like evil eye.
If Happiness is a process and not a destination, what are we really holding out for by putting off happiness every chance we get? How often have you thought, “you know I will really be happy when….(insert removal of some obstacle). It’s almost as if there is some myth that happiness is a reward, and that there is a limited quantity of happiness to be had.
When did happiness become contingent on perfection?
Happiness has no limits but the ones you self-impose on letting yourself feel it. Give yourself permission to enjoy despite all the things that won’t get done, and all the ways you aren’t where or who you want to be. Don’t let any reason be good enough to postpone joy, let’s follow Pharrell’s lead and let happiness beget happiness.