Be Good to Your Present Self

Eunice had always worked hard. From childhood she had formed the almost compulsive habits of studying/saving/working. Her life had “been on track” she’d say. Then she was unceremoniously dumped by her fiancé and soon after lost her job.

The present moment is all there is. The past is a memory and the future a vision. We owe it to ourselves to live this moment well. We owe it to those who love us to live this moment well. Forever deferring happiness or pleasure or serenity, life becomes drudgery.

But we can’t live all moments in a state of pleasure or calm. Pain is interwoven into the fabric of life. A good life takes work and work can be arduous. Hard work now lessens the chances of pain later. Working on physical and mental health, working to save money, working to foster relationships – all allay future pain.

Last post I reflected on research that confirmed a link between impulsivity and many psychological disorders. But there is another side to this same study. The study found that another psychological disorder, Anorexia Nervosa, is associated with over-control of impulsivity. Other research has found a link between anorexia and OCD which may be due to fierce self-regulation and postponement of gratification.

The present moment is all there is. So, how do we treat our present self? As an industrious ant, carrying the burden of a happiness that might never come? As an idle grasshopper, lazily feeding off the fat of the future?

Be good to your present self. Not by indulging or lowering expectations but through self-compassion and appropriate treats. Relate to yourself with love, not contempt. Infuse your life with enough moments of pleasure and relaxation. Be able to say – I have a life worth living.

These crises awoke a part of Eunice that had always yearned to live. She learnt that she had Self-Sacrifice and Unrelenting Standards Schemas. She changed. Still hardworking with high standards, she stopped compulsively delaying gratification and treated her present self better.


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