Thinking of Happiness

“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’re ever been. The one constant in our lives is change.” -Dan Gilbert

This is a good article that talks about, and links to: The Psychology of Your Future Self

Gilbert argues that we’re bedeviled by a “fundamental misconception about the power of time” and a dangerous misconception known as “the end of history illusion” — at any point along our personal journey, we tend to believe that who we are at that moment is the final destination of our becoming. Which, of course, is not only wrong but a source of much of our unhappiness.

This TED talk and article by Brainpickings give me pause as a psychologist. It gladdens my heart to know that I’m not final. I’ve been scared for the longest time, to be honest. I’ve been scared that my genes, and family history has set me on a path that I can never steer away from. And while I acknowledge the power of both my nature and nurture experiences, this article gives me a measure of hope: I can still do something about who I’m going to be… who I am. There are other schools of thought that support my current self as a transient being. As a person who’s currently struggling with her self, it becomes my task to determine what I want to change in myself now, without fear of what might transpire in the future. My responsibility is to understand what I love, and what I’m passionate about. And while I will continue to set aside funds for my future self, I won’t deprive my present self of her current joys and desires.

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