This is a blog post I found very difficult to write. Usually, when I find posts difficult to write, I know I am discovering/revealing something about myself (more than likely a flaw or defect) that I have grown comfortable with or I am facing a truth and once you reveal the truth, you no longer have excuses to hide behind. Once you have revealed the truth and/or a defect about yourself, you have to change because really, who wants to remain defective?
Today’s revelation/truth concerns gratification. Who does not want gratification, defined as a pleasurable state of satisfaction brought about by satisfying desires or humoring inclinations and/or feelings? I know I love gratification and mine takes many forms as I am sure yours does also: shopping, money (preferably in large, lump sum amounts), eating, fulfilling a goal or dream…even sex. I remember when I was fresh in recovery, my idea of gratification was to be a “real woman”…in other words, the woman who got men to leave their wives or girlfriends instead of being the girl who was always left. I know it sounds strange and messed up, but seriously, what else can you expect from the emotionally unhealthy? But after some therapy, some growing, two failed relationships (or whatever they were) and friends unafraid to tell me when I am just being flat out stupid…I finally know what will gratify me on all fronts: stability, consistency and mutual respect/appreciation. I may be wrong (I have been before) but I think if I have those 3 (or is it 4) things in play personally and professionally, the rest of all that gratifies me will fall into place.
There are two types of gratification: instant and deferred and they can best be described as hindsight and foresight. Instant gratification is pretty self explanatory…you want it immediately, this instant and not now, but RIGHT NOW. People who indulge in instant gratification on a regular basis are said to suffer from lack of impulse control and are more likely to become addicted to behaviors and/or substances. It is no wonder so many of us indulge our need for instant gratification as we are living in an age of instant everything…if you are stressed or in pain, we pop a pill to make it go away. If it does not work in a certain amount of time, we pop another one. We can pour a drink large enough to erase the entire day away. We keep indulging until we get our desired result. Who sends letters via regular mail anymore other than bill collectors? We do emails and when that got too slow, we began instant messaging to be even more in “real time”. No one talks…we text, we tweet. Cell phones allow us to reach a person no matter where in the world they are….I think I can count 5 Panel members who still have a land line telephone and I am one of them. People who indulge in instant gratification tend to be narrow minded and not see the big picture, only what is directly in front of them and are blind to the consequences of such indulgences until it is too late and by then, all we can do is clean up the mess or try to make do with what scraps are leftover. We have all indulged in instant gratification personally, professionally, financially and in so many other areas of our lives….maybe you called it “spur of the moment” or “I HAD to have it” or maybe it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that miraculously came back around again and you just could not chance losing out on it. Instant gratification is most often observed in children, so maybe those of us who indulge in it on a regular basis have simply never grown up.
Deferred gratification is practiced by those who have the foresight to see the big picture and to know that what is right in front of them is not all there is. It is said that people who practice deferred gratification have will power, self control, are apt to be more psychologically better adjusted, successful in their adult lives and are also found to be emotionally intelligent/healthy. So now that I feel lower than a snake’s belly as that is so not me, I can tell you I am not one to practice deferred gratification but I do know people who do and they are the savers, the planners, the one who are prepared for whatever life throws their way. They are the ones who have healthy, happy relationships and who go into work when they don’t feel like it and who work longer and harder without complaint because they have their eyes on a bigger prize. They don’t want a slice of the pie, they want the whole pie and know what they have to do to get it and they also know that a pie takes longer than one thinks to bake.
I want to say the bridge to cross over from indulging in instant gratification to practicing deferred gratification is called Patience. Patience is not waiting…hell, you are going to wait whether you want to or not, but it is what you do with the down time that defines patience. Patience is quiet, steady perseverance; it is an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay and the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper or irritation. No wonder people attribute this virtue to Saints because I just do not think this sinner can handle that. Patience requires a lot of hard work, attitude adjustments and for me, it will require further change. I have indulged in instant gratification all my life…it has cost me jobs, relationships and led me down the path of addiction. Hell, my mama will tell you that has always been my problem…my need for instant gratification. But I have to change this way of thinking and this behavior as it has done nothing but leave me broke, broken hearted , homeless and always figuring out what happened after the fact. I am taking myself up on my own challenge to make this wrong right and make it work for me instead of against me. There is saying: you want what I have but are willing to do what I did? And yes, I am ready to walk in another’s footsteps and maybe even their shoes because I want for everything to not be a crisis or a storm….I want it to be a rainfall for which I have had the foresight to pack an umbrella to shelter me. So to answer the question in the title of the post: I choose later….I have had enough of the now.
Thank you for bearing with me through this post and enjoy your day!