A week ago I received a comment from a reader on my post ‘Will I Ever Be Happy? Stop Waiting for the Perfect Moment'.
The fundamental theme of the post is to stop waiting for life to happen; stop waiting for a better moment than the one you have now and step into the present.
All too often we allow the mind to create visuals of perfect moments and sit around waiting for them to arrive. We become spectators rather than doers; peeking in through the window of the lives of those we perceive to be happy, wondering, “when will my life be blessed in such a way?”.
The comment I received read, “It’s the ‘present' that makes me unhappy”.
I answered this comment with, “That is often the case. But are you present enough to accept the moment and fully embrace the changes you want to make?”
This comment really resonated with me, and after I replying I didn't feel my answer had adequately addressed the statement.
The comment may have had a degree of flippancy about it, but it makes a valid statement all the same. Many people are living unhappily in the present, wondering when their lot will change and life will deliver on its promises. In a superficial world it's no wonder we get caught in the trap of sitting around wondering when will we have lives like those portrayed on TV commercials and shopping mall billboards and in romantic comedies.
The reality is probably never. Because that's not real life. It's fictional. And this is the danger of such “life advertising”: that we begin to feel left out, that we feel we aren't getting what we deserve, that everyone else is living the “dream” while we endure boredom, mundaneness, repetition and problem after problem.
But here's the other part of this same reality: those experiencing happiness in the present are those who are truly living. Fact.
But what does this ambiguous statement mean? Does it mean such people aren't sad, that such people don't have arguments with their partner, that such people don't have a stack of bills to pay, that such people don't get down about the way they look occasionally or that they don't get stressed out and want to hit someone sometimes. Of course not. They wouldn't be human, otherwise.
Buddha interpreted “truly living” quite eloquently:
“In the end
these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?”
If the present is making you unhappy, simply ask yourself these questions, because, when you break life down, when you come to the end of your journey, these questions are the be all and end all of life. If you don't like the present then it is likely that you aren't loving (yourself and others), that you aren't living fully, and that you aren't letting go.
– Accept yourself for who you are: You are perfect, blemishes wrinkles and all. You are an amazing wonder of nature. See that beauty in yourself and others, and love according to this beauty.
– Live your life fully: Do what you enjoy doing – as long as it positively impacts on the lives of others. Don't live in the shadow of superficiality, continually borrowing your life from ideals set out by advertising or celebrity culture.
– Don't live through the expectations of others: Live to your own standards, but don't beat yourself up if you don't make the grade every day, you are human, after all.
If you don't understand something, seek the knowledge. If you want to say something, say it. If you want to do something, do it. Take charge of the present moment and implement change by simply putting one foot in front of the other and taking action.
– Let go of negativity: It cannot help you in any way. Leave bitterness and anger behind and embrace forgiveness in yourself and others. See the negativity of others as emptiness. Have compassion for this emptiness rather than absorb its burden.
Life isn't a bed of roses, not by a long shot. It's full of twists and turns and bumps and bruises. It hurts, it laughs, it cries and it loves. But in every smile and every teardrop is an overarching rainbow of beauty. And that beauty is life itself.
Stand up and meet yourself, today. It's not an easy thing to do, and many people never get that far. But I promise you, the moment you say, “You know what, this is me. I'm proud of who I am and I'm going to take my deserved place in the world alongside everyone else. I'm going to live this life through rain and shine”, you will begin to feel content in the present, no matter what it throws at you.
Have a great week.