Are You Waiting for Everything to Be Perfect Before You Let Yourself Be Happy?
Kitty J. Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT
Life Strategies & Stress Management Coach
For today's video message, click here. The inspiration for today's message came from the happenstance of my catching an old movie on HBO this weekend. You may have seen it. In and Out with Kevin Kline, Joan Cusack, and Tom Selleck. The main character, Howard Brackett (played by Kline) is "outed" by a former high school student who makes it big in Hollywood. Howard hasn't ever considered that he was gay. He just loves literature, and musicals, and Barbara Streisand. He is engaged to be married, however, to the character played by Joan Cusack.
Cusack's character, Emily Montgomery, has been painstakingly getting herself in shape for the long awaited wedding between herself and Brackett. She has lost 75 pounds and she is ready to start her life. In the scene just after Howard comes out in front of the entire church congregation at the altar, she screams at him that she has been waiting her whole life for this moment. She has been waiting for her life to begin, and instead it all comes crashing down when Howard decides to be honest with himself and everyone else for the first time in his life.
This speech made by Cusack's character prompted me to consider how we often delay our willingness to feel happy while we wait for some outer circumstance to take place. We wait to be the "perfect" weight. We wait for the "perfect" partner. We wait for the "perfect" job. We forget to be happy "just because" and we think that we must delay our happiness until everything in our lives is "perfect."
The fact is, however, that even though we may experience temporary moments of perfection, life is rarely "perfect" for any length of time. Almost as soon as one situation in our lives feels "right," something else can happen that knocks us off kilter.
The trick to being truly happy is to choose to be happy even when things aren't perfect. In one of the cards from the "I Can Do It" series by Louise L. Hay, Hay says, "I love myself exactly as I am. I no longer wait to be perfect in order to love myself." On the flip side of the card, she writes, "The greatest gift I can give myself is unconditional love." I maintain that unconditional love is also the greatest gift you can give someone else.
Don't wait for some future event to make you happy. Decide to be happy in the present moment. Decide to be happy with things just as they are. Don't delay feeling happy any longer. Choose happiness now...right now.
And live your life fully and completely without waiting for perfection. Perfection can be boring. Go for the gusto and be happy in the midst of the chaos. That is the real secret to living a great life.
Until next time.
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