The Art of Being Happy in the Now

By Dr. Tiger Devore

If we are constantly taking exception to where we are, what we have, how we look, or what we have accomplished, then there is no escaping the lack of satisfaction or happiness with the moment we are experiencing. Patients will often say things to me such as, “So much is good in my life, but I will not be happy until …” They insert something, whether it’s improving their body or meeting the right person, getting the right job and income, or completing the divorce, that “something” will be between whomever I am sitting in front of and their ability to enjoy life.

I watch people struggle with acceptance from others, be it in their social circle or their online presence, and everyone looks for a reason or a thing to focus on improving; something they need to do in order to gain the status that eludes them and prevents them from the life they really want.

Worrying about identifying and accomplishing that “something” guarantees that right now will not be satisfying. Many people will allow themselves the excuse that waiting for the “when” to arrive is better than admitting they simply do not like the way they are right now. Don’t get me wrong, self-improvement is a good and useful effort toward a goal, but to count oneself out of enjoying life in the meantime is dangerous to the self and to building a sustainable self-esteem.

If my value and ability to be found acceptable to others are built on a status to accomplish, my chances of being able to maintain that status, let alone accomplish it, puts me in the position of being very unstable. So many of those things may not only be difficult to attain, but even more difficult to maintain.

Much of our culture is built upon capitalizing on the insecurity borne from “you are not there yet” general message. Most advertising is built upon communicating to us that if we have something, there is a good chance we will lose it and need to protect it, or there is something we need that will make us more appealing to meet that status goal. The remaining advertising is directed toward comforting us, with toys or food or another distraction, so we can take respite from all those other fears.

If we are not running from the fear of general rejection, what else is possible for us? The alternative is directly in opposition to the culture of needing to buy another thing to make us feel good. Liking who you are right now, as you are, with no apology or militant demand of those around you to like you too is a great place to start this change of thinking and being. All those goals that were intended to be appealing to others, all of those can be used as enticements to the self, rewards to the self, the wish to set a goal and be happy with having accomplished it for yourself, not for an external audience.

When I hear people looking at the numbers of followers they have on social media, or how long it has been since they have had a date, I really have to ask, “How many do you need?” So often the requirements are set for the attention one seeks from a rarified crowd of idealistic others, making most of the available others unqualified.

People may have to get used to going where they are welcome, where the others they meet are happy and interested in meeting or dating them, or where they want to work or demonstrate accomplishment is really within their grasp, as opposed to having expectations set so high that satisfaction in daily living becomes simply impossible to achieve.

Going where you are welcome guarantees that you are setting yourself up for acceptance, encouragement, interest and security.

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