Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Enjoy Now

Image taken from here.

I wanted to share a little of what I have been reading from The Happiness Project. This really hit home to me the other day:

"As I worked, and especially when I was pushing myself to do things that made me slightly uncomfortable, I kept reminding myself of my resolution to 'Enjoy now.' As a writer, I often found myself imagining some happy future: 'When I sell this proposal. . . ' or 'When this book comes out. . . '
     "In his book Happier, Tal Ben-Shahar describes the 'arrival fallacy,' the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you'll be happy (. . .) The arrival fallacy is a fallacy because, though you may anticipate great happiness in arrival, arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate.
     "First of all, by the time you've arrived at your destination, you're expecting to reach it, so it has already been incorporated into your happiness. Also, arrival often brings more work and responsibility. It's rare to achieve something (other than winning an award) that brings unadulterated pleasure without added concerns. Having a baby. Getting a promotion. Buying a house. You look forward to reaching these destinations, but once you've reached them, they bring emotions other than sheer happiness. And of course, arriving at one goal usually reveals another, yet more challenging goal. Publishing the first book means it's time to start the second. There's another hill to climb. The challenge, therefore, is to take pleasure in the 'atmosphere of growth,' in the gradual progress made toward goal, in the present. The unpoetic name for this very powerful source of happiness is 'pre-goal-attainment positive affect.'"

As I read this it brought another thought to my mind: I keep thinking that once I get back to a size _ I'll finally be happy. Realistically, I was never happy when I was that size to begin with. If I can't learn to love myself where I am at, what makes me think that when I do finally get to whatever size I will be satisfied? There will always be something. Especially now that I've had a baby. I may eventually lose all the weight, but there is a good chance that I will always have extra skin around my mid-section thanks to the great stretching acts I performed so recently.

But more than just the whole losing weight thing, I think it needs to go deeper than that. I always find fault. I always think that I'll be happier once this zit goes away, or once my hair finally grows out, or once my eyebrows are waxed, or. . . The list just goes on, and on, and on. Truth be told, there will always be something. And let's face it people, we aren't exactly getting younger. Living in a world where we try to will our bodies into being like they were when we were 18 is unrealistic. It simply sets us up for a lifetime of disappointment and unhappiness.

So, when I look in the mirror it is my goal to start seeing at least one thing I'm happy with. Maybe if I can start seeing one thing I like and build up from there I will no longer see all the things that bother me. I don't even notice other people's imperfections most of the time. What makes me think that I'm so special that everyone else will obviously notice mine? And if nobody else is noticing my imperfections shouldn't I cut myself a little slack? After all, we only get this one life. Better enjoy every minute of it now because there is no going back.

No comments: