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“Enjoy the Moment”

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If you expect this post to be one of those light-hearted, fluffy, encouraging, happy pickledy posts of how to enjoy the moment, then you will be disappointed.

This phrase, “Enjoy the moment!” must be added to my list of pet peeves, or indeed one of the things to stop saying to me.

I shared an event I experienced recently with a few people. I shared the apprehension, anxiety, and annoyance that I had felt associated with the event.

I should have known. A tsunami of reprimands:
“You decided to do so, so why ‘oh shit’?”
“Others might not be able to do it, so be happy about it.”
“Enjoy the moment!”

Why is there an assumption that one must “enjoy” the moment? Why was there no curiosity as to why I had felt the frustration as opposed to the joy that many others in my shoes might feel? I much prefer simply being” in the moment, and acknowledge the emotions I feel, be aware of them, accept their existences, instead of giving myself the rule to have to “enjoy” the moment. 

Society frowns upon anything other than looking at the bright side or being grateful that I have something others do not. Like I said, I realize the blessing – but this does not negate my emotions or feelings. It is as if, one is surfing in the Indian Ocean and spots a shark fin, and the friend who can only see the shore, says, “enjoy the moment, you are on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.” The surfing is exhilarating, the scene picturesque – but the fear of being eaten by the shark is also real, so enjoy, umm, enjoy what?

There could be constraints we do not know about behind everyone’s story and reactions, and yet we are quick to judge and to advice others on how they should feel, projecting our own insecurities and jealousies onto those who are vulnerable at that moment in time. We unintentionally fuel their senses of guilt and so they clam up, suppress their otherwise authentic emotions, and put up a brave front complete with a smiley face. Then, why are we surprised when friends around us break down, get stressed, anxious, and depressed for spending so much energy maintaining the image that others want them to hold, so that others could feel better about themselves for having done the “right” thing by “enjoying” the moment?

I do not see how we need to limit ourselves to only one emotion per event. Can it not be a mélange? Why can we not be happy but annoyed at the same time? We impose such restrictions on ourselves on what we should do and say, and how we should feel and behave that we forget our true feelings.

A never ending barrage from society to have to think positive and be cheerful, as if anything else would be unacceptable or even punishable. We need some pessimistic greeting cards to bring us down to earth. We need to know that just because we feel different from others, it does not make us abnormal – or maybe it does, for we are the minority who dare to rub off that fake smile and say “I am not okay.”

van-goghBut there is hope. A few were reassuring:

“Annoyed? Anxious? That seems normal.”
“I hear you, and I can understand why you would feel like that.”

And for such kindred spirits, I am utterly grateful.

That all said, I cannot control what others say to me. In the end, they all mean well. So I hold no grudges. It is perhaps a test of whether I could meet them where they are in their thinking, instead of imposing my own on to them.

Alas. Be me. And I still feel annoyed, and I definitely do not enjoy this moment… or the moments to come…

about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) is born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Play Consultant for corporates interested in creative change management and employee well-being using the psychology of playfulness.