Permission to Enjoy Yourself Now (Not Someday)

Kids playing

I woke up on a Saturday morning feeling lazy. Life was still quiet and I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. It’s the weekend after all—the perfect time to take it easy.

Except …

I wasn’t feeling it. I was lying in bed thinking of the things I need to do today. I need to work on taxes, and clear all the paperwork that accumulated during the week, among so many other things.

It’s very hard to start the day with the idea of just enjoying ourselves—right in this moment—not after we’ve earned the joy by completing our chores, or ticked off a few boxes on a to-do list.

All I wanted to do was stay in bed and read. I’ve been enjoying the book so much (The Cuckoo’s Calling), but I haven’t been reading for more than 20 minutes or so at night. Usually I read till I pass out.

The treat of reading is the reward that comes at the end of a productive day. Instead of enjoying reading, I turned it into a sleeping aid.

At that point, I realized I don’t need to have a reason to enjoy myself. I can do it right now. Nothing is stopping me, other than my own choices.

So instead of starting my daily routine, I decided to stay in bed and read. I spent an hour reading, and then dozed off for a short while. And the world didn’t stop.

Take out reading and replace it with anything else.

How can you enjoy yourself right now?

If you’re like me, did you turn joy into something you need to earn? Is it the bright light at the end of the dark tunnel of the daily grind?

If we can enjoy ourselves right in this moment, why do we need to wait till we do everything else to experience it?

What would happen if we reversed direction?

Why can’t we give ourselves permission to start with what we truly enjoy first?

As I mentioned before, nothing unusual happened. After moving out of bed, I started my day, without much thought or stress. I made coffee and sat down and wrote this article. The words flowed with calm ease.

The point is: I got things done with less struggle, because I enjoyed myself and felt relaxed and didn’t need to earn anything.

Stepping out of the matrix

It’s almost embedded in our DNA at this point to postpone happiness.

We organized society in a way that we have to earn everything—earn a living, earn respect, and earn enjoyment.

This matrix of hard work and reward is something we created and followed. When we step out of it we realize that …

As living human beings, we need oxygen to breathe, water to drink, food to eat. We don’t need to earn the right to eat or breathe.

And like food nourishes our body, joy feeds our hearts.

Joy is our birthright and doesn’t need to be earned, or dangled like a carrot.

You can give yourself permission to enjoy yourself right now. No one has the right to take that away from you. And you can’t deny anyone his or her joy either.

Before I let you go to enjoy this moment, I’d like to share a few thoughts about joy.

What joy is and isn’t

Joy makes the heart smile. It’s not something we do for a quick thrill. It’s something we do, and want to do again, because it touches the depth of our hearts and souls, not just for a momentary rush of adrenaline.

Joy renews and does not deplete. When you enjoy yourself, you feel better, even after physical exertion. The mind gets calmer, and the body feels energized and relaxed.

Joy does not have a price tag. True joy comes from within. It’s not what you buy or where you go, but how you _feel _about what you experience.

Joy awakens and does not numb or distract. Joy awakens us to the aliveness within. We feel more grounded and connected. It’s not driven by the insecurities or demands of the ego. Whatever we enjoy, we’ll gladly want to do, even when no one is around.

Joy is pleasurable but not harmful. The things that we enjoy the most cannot be addictive or compulsive. They don’t create a dependency, and are not regrettable in the long run.

Look into what you really enjoy doing or experiencing.

It can be anything from writing a few lines in a journal, listening to music, reading, gardening, taking a relaxing bath, playing a musical instrument, taking photographs, learning a new skill, experimenting with different foods, dancing, drawing, sports, and so on.

Give yourself permission to enjoy yourself in the moment that feels right to you. Don’t postpone it because you haven’t earned it. Or you feel you need to do something to deserve it.

We can choose to make joy a priority at any moment. This doesn’t mean we run away from our responsibilities and obligations. We just reverse direction and allow our joy to be as important as everything else we do—if not every day, at least on most days.

I’ll leave you with these questions.

What do you enjoy? Can you do it right now (okay after reading)?

If not, what’s stopping you?

Can you at least give yourself permission to enjoy yourself?

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