I recently read a book titled, 'Everything You Need You Have'. The author, Gerad Kite, is the founder of the renowned Kite Clinic in London. He believes that the way we are living today is making us ill. That for all the choices we have, for all the improvements in our material lifestyle, people are more unhappy that ever, because we have lost the ability to tap into our inner selves.
In the fast-paced, aspirational society in which we live, it's accepted as normal for us to look endlessly outside ourselves for meaning and purpose - what can I get? Where will I be? Of course, we all want to do well, to climb the ladder. However, Kite argues that all this looking ahead has the effect of keeping us in the thrall of a perpetual future: "I just need to get on leave"; "when we've paid of the our credit card, we can really start enjoying ourselves"; "if only we didn't have this rain"; "once I have finished this course everything will be alright"; "once my husband is back in the country I can start having fun again". And yet the truth is that when we do eventually get there, there's rarely any real sense of arrival, there are no flags - and, even if there are, the celebration's are all too often short lived as we jump to focus on the "next big thing".
I am guilty of this. I set myself huge goals and often put myself under insane amounts of pressure to achieve them. Often putting my relationships with the the people I love second to my goal. Once I have achieved that goal, I very quickly set myself a new task. I am always striving to move upwards, to achieve something else, to push myself further. I would say I have achieved a lot in my career, but at what cost? Kite argues that, many people in the world today equate happiness with being busy or even mildly stressed; these people say it makes them feel "alive". But as I have discovered, this thought is just a part of a whole range of problems caused by how disconnected we have become from our true selves.
After reading Kite's book, I think I will spend the next few months spending my time and energy on those around me, that have supported me no end over the last few months. It's time to stop, and look inwards and find myself content with what's here and now. It's time to simply relish the joy of now.