The New Year encompasses both beginnings and endings. People tend to reflect back on the previous year and gear up for what they want to change going forward. When you make a new years resolution you’re really saying, “I want to…”
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how difficult it can be to want something and not have it immediately. We live in a world where we’re used to immediate gratification. After all, Amazon prime guarantees its members two day shipping, credit cards allow us to buy things when we want it and not necessarily when we have the money for it, and most of the population gets sucked into all the “quick and easy” ways to lose weight. Why wait for something when you don’t have to?
This idea of wanting something immediately doesn’t only apply to material objects. We also don’t want to have to sit with difficult feelings. When sadness, pain, or anger are too much for us to handle it’s easy to get immediate release from the feelings we rather not have. People do this through shopping, eating, gambling, drinking, and drugs, just to name a few unhealthy examples of immediate gratification.
We live in an era where social media can also serve as a constant reminder of what other people around us have. Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook let’s us be connected to people we don’t even know so we get to “see” everything wonderful in their life while comparing it to our own lives. We’re reminded of what we long for. This might include material objects like a new pair of sneakers or a beautiful pair of earrings. I think more often than that we’re witnessing something deeper and wishing for the perceived happiness, security, or love that other people are displaying through their social media presence. Sometimes we’re sucked in and left feeling negative about what we don’t have because we’re losing track of what we do have. Comparing ourselves to others won’t help us get to where we want to be any faster; it will just leave us feeling badly and forgetting what we do have.
I understand why it’s hard to be patient. Wanting things when I want them is a trap I can easily fall into because I can be impatient too. I realized though that wanting something is different than wanting it NOW. It’s not bad to want things and it’s not bad to strive to get them. But, it’s not good to be so focused on what you want that you lose track of what you have or take unhealthy measures to go about getting what you want immediately. Next time you say I want _____, give yourself time to think about what you’re saying. First, try to appreciate everything you already have. Once you’ve focused on what you currently have then continue thinking about the healthy ways to achieve what you don’t yet have. Try not to compare what you have and what you want to others around you. I know it’s a difficult task but you don’t know what it took for other people to get to where they are and you don’t know if their social media presence is showing you the whole story. What you want isn’t about other people anyway. What you want should be solely about what you want for your own life.