Life doesn't give you happiness – it's your contributions to it and the actions you take that create the feelings you desire. The focus on immediate gratification and the pursuit of pleasure is an epidemic; the priority on fun and fair, and easy and exciting. Avoiding discomfort like the plague, by trading momentary pleasure, for self-confidence and joy. There seems to be a belief that we must feel good all the time, and that it should be easy and readily available with little effort on our part. The irony is, this is exactly why so many are miserable and living in a perpetual state of anxiety. Trying to feel good all the time, prevents us from doing what we need to do in order to create true confidence in ourselves and a more sustainable peace. A peace forged from taking on life’s challenges and doing what's necessary.
"You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good." ~ Jerry West
Much of this mind frame has to do with messages in the media that support instant gratification. Another contributing factor is the well-meaning, but often misguided approach for fostering healthy self-esteem in children. Sometimes, rather than building resilience, and hence, internal confidence, the pendulum swings too far, shielding kids from discomfort altogether. By always finding the positive, always preventing failing and falling, and always protecting them from tough choices and harsh realities, these children are now adults who lack emotional mastery. Unfamiliar with feeling disappointment or failure or regret or sadness, they interpret these emotions as bad, and to be avoided. This creates stress, fear, and ultimately stagnation. This method of instilling self-confidence, although genuine and sincere, means that many now lack the ability to handle adversity and strife.
“You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems, but by confronting them courageously.” ~ J. Donald Walters
AFTER ALL IS SAID AND DONE
As adults, there is an importance placed on doing a good job, getting things done and being proactive. Bosses don't give out a participation ribbon because we show up at work –thirty minutes late, and we shouldn't receive ongoing praise from a spouse because we took the garbage out – whoopee, you did what needed to be done. Rather than being internally driven, we're externally motivated, and when this reassurance falters, we falter. Our primary way of feeling good and happy and reassured, isn't there. When we're geared this way, we become dependent on the external to fill the happiness and confidence tank. This isn't sustainable and will eventually wain. What happened to the reward for just being? What happened to the praise for simply showing up?
“As we get past our superficial material wants and instant gratification we connect to a deeper part of ourselves, as well as to others, and the world.”
~ Judith Wright
WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE
Joy and confidence comes from making choices and taking action to honor our values. It isn't born from the approval of others, or from immediate or superficial pleasures, but rather from showing a commitment to ourselves. This is integrity, and as Dr. Brené Brown says, "integrity is choosing courage over comfort." You know what you want; the kind of life, meaning, relationships and to make it happen, you must choose to do what feels uncomfortable, scary and hard. This is where confidence is born; from facing what's difficult and doing what you didn't think you could do, and from feeling uncomfortable and plunging ahead. Do and modify. Do and modify, and through this process you will begin to trust and believe in yourself, no longer relying on the recognition from others, or instant gratification to feel happy, you will learn to create happiness for yourself.