Instant Gratification
By: Nancy
June 20, 2016

Wow, do we live in a culture that loves it some instant gratification, am I right? I’m reminded of a video I saw once where a gal was going around asking random people on the street what they would wish for if they could have a wish. I’ll never forget, one person said, “I would wish that everyone could have everything they want.” Seems harmless enough, right? That seems like a wish that everyone would be on board with, but I think the world doesn’t really work that way for a good reason.

I think that, if we were left to our own devices and had everything we wanted, we would screw everything up exceedingly quickly. I mean, everything….our relationships certainly, the environment definitely, our bodies quickly, and our minds completely. There would promptly be no givers and only takers. Soon, motivation to do much of anything at all would wane. We would be totally overweight and unhealthy. We would think that world peace would come because, theoretically, want would cease to exist; but it would be the total opposite. Complete entitlement to anything the mind and body wants and the heart desires would be totally rampant in the blink of an eye. The prideful, entitled appetite is completely insatiable.

A child who has everything, values nothing. You would think that if someone has everything that they would have feelings of complete peace, but it isn’t true. They actually have significantly increased anxiety. I think that there is a reason we have termed this condition “spoiled.” Children aren’t the only ones, adults have this going on, too. Now more than ever.

In relationships, this is particularly poignant, because the want for instant gratification destroys relationships. Besides entitlement and selfishness, which are by themselves relationship destroyers, the choices we make that favor the instant payoff are almost never the right ones. Here is a simple example, “Well, I really should do what I said I was going to do with my toddler, but I’m so tired, I’d rather not and just keep sitting on the couch.”

It is the easy decision in the moment, but if we string together decisions like that, I can assure you that your life will continue to get more and more difficult with that child. We send a message, either way, whether we do the hard thing or the easy thing in the moment. What message are you sending? It happens in ourselves as well. It is easy to sit on the couch and eat junk food and not go to the gym or prepare a healthy meal; but your body will be less healthy in the long run. See the inverse relationship between instant gratification and peace and health?

If we continue to say to ourselves, “I’ll do it tomorrow, I’ll start it tomorrow, I’ll learn it tomorrow, I’ll fix it tomorrow, I’ll……tomorrow,” because in the moment, doing nothing, or what we’ve always done, is easier; our lives will continue to get harder. If we do what is harder in the moment, against the temptation for instant gratification, our lives will get better and easier. (Not easy, easier.) It will be a life worth living, fulfilling our dreams and purpose.

I have heard this question posed before, and I find it interesting, “If your life were written as a novel, would anyone want to read it?” Be bold and courageous. Do the hard thing in the moment instead of the easy thing. Prioritize the things that mean the most to you. Forget the easy stuff, it is meant to distract you and steal your time. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, make it a good one.

Thank you for reading my writing!

Healing Hearts provides counseling services to the surrounding communities of Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Zionsville, Westfield, Noblesville, and Geist. E-Counseling is available for residents of Indiana. Call or text today to set up your appointment. 317-218-3038

© 2016 Nancy Eisenman, MSW, LSW