When it comes to happiness and fulfilment, there’s a clear tension at play.
The tension between the happiness of the moment, and the happiness of the future. The tension between the fulfilment of doing your best right now, and working towards the fulfilment that comes after lots of time and lots of toil.
It is common, much more likely than not, that one will erase the other.
That choosing the pleasurable thing now makes life difficult further down the line.
Or that working relentlessly to improve that life of further down the line makes the present difficult or even unbearable, for you or for those closest to you.
There is a balance to be found.
I’ve started calling it the magic paradox.
The magic paradox of absolute self-acceptance and committed self-development.
Working hard to accept ourselves fully today, and working hard to make ourselves better for tomorrow and beyond.
It’s a paradox because accepting ourselves fully is, at one level, saying we don’t need to be better. That we are whole and full and enough, absolutely enough, right now. And that absolute self-acceptance is essential.
And it’s a paradox because committing to developing ourselves, to improving ourselves, to changing the things that we can change and that need to be changed, is essential too.