Pleasure over pain or pain over pleasure? You decide. To be clear, this is in the context of either taking action on something, or putting it off. We know taking action will be inherently good for us, yet also we’ll often associate taking action as something that is not particularly fun or pleasurable. The alternative? Put it off! Relax…unwind instead. Surely that’s more of an appealing option? After all, are we not all pleasure-seeking beings?
Sometimes, when we choose pleasure over pain the long-term ramifications might not appear all that significant to us. We’ll minimise these long-term ramifications by bargaining with ourselves, promising that we’ll simply “get serious tomorrow” but as for today “it’s no big deal if I just unwind a bit, see my friends, watch that movie etc.” Or we may try convince ourselves of a story like “I’m too tired and stressed to get anything done now anyway”.
Usually the stories we tell ourselves are totally untrue. But the lure of pleasure in the present moment is extremely powerful. So how can we delay this gratification, in order to get more serious in the present moment? Two ways: Changing your perspective and changing your perception. Simple as that.
With perspective, you should try to keep the long-term perspective in mind. What is the likely long-term outcome going to be of continuing on with this pattern of simply putting off worthy tasks and seeking immediate gratification instead? How is your future going to be impacted by continuing on in this manner? While on the flip-side; how is your long-term future going to be positively affected by taking the reins now and pro-actively doing what is necessary? Forming those healthy habits. Living that healthy lifestyle.
Surely this is the way to ensure your true future happiness, as well as true future pleasure? This leads us onto perception…
Instead of perceiving taking action in the present moment as something painful, and perceiving putting it off as something more pleasurable, this needs to be reversed. Taking action now is, in fact, what will lead us to this pleasure we are seeking, while putting things off is likely what will continue leading us to the pain we are trying to avoid. You can create a life of abundance and deep satisfaction for yourself, or you can create a life of mediocracy; a life of simply getting by. It is your responsibility for the type of life you create for yourself. It comes down to the decisions you make in the here and now. And those decisions will be influenced and swayed by the perceptions and perspectives you hold.
The Journey. The Path. Whatever you want to call it; it is something that we are all on together, yet something that we are also on alone. Therefore, we need to rely on ourselves, trust ourselves, and be patient with ourselves, as we proceed ever forward with our lives. Ever forward with our dreams and our hopes. No one can do this path for us. Everyone is on their own. Yet it doesn’t have to be lonely either. It can be filled with great company and support – if you are honestly open to receiving. Such is the paradox of life itself: It is one thing, while something else, something contradicting, at the same time.
Realise that this journey of yours will be challenging, to say the very least. It will likely be excruciatingly painful at times. Testing you to your very core. It may make you question your worth, your values, and even your sanity on occasion. There will always be options during such moments. These are the moments when your path is veering in two, three, or more directions, and you must decide which of these directions you will take. You will often know instinctively in advance, which of these directions is the smoother, yet more barren one, and which is the rockier, steeper one, yet the one that ultimately yields more fruit. You decide which one to take.
Realise too, that you have the qualities and fortitude to successfully navigate any path, even the steepest and rockiest of ones. You mightn’t always see or feel these qualities in yourself, but at least someone else will. However, it is not about what someone else sees in you – it’s what you see in yourself that matters. During these trying times it can be easy to feel very alone, and even helpless. After all, we are on our own paths alone here. This is true. But we are also never alone. Reach out. Open up. Believe in yourself. Connect with others, who are also on their journeys. Connect with professionals if need be. But most importantly – be connected with yourself. Through honest connection with yourself will come patience and kindness towards yourself. And this, my friend, will be one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself on this journey.