The culture of impatience

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

‘Now is the time’ – seems like a simple phrase. It teaches us that being mindful of the present moment is an excellent way to live life. However, getting everything we want when we want is not the best thing to happen to mankind.

If you have ever found yourself being itchy when the video on your phone takes a while to buffer, it’s time you tame the id in you. Of course, it’s a natural human urge to want it NOW. Apparently, it has provided an evolutionary advantage for the homo sapiens. Actions taken to benefit in the now had been more advantageous when offered the opportunity to eat when starvation was a bigger concern than obesity.

At the heart of the NOW, lies the basic untamed drives of humans. The flesh and blood are driven by the desire to experience pleasure. The propensity is called the Pleasure principle. This principle describes the role of the id in our unconscious mind which is purely driven by the basic instincts.

But pleasure at what cost is a thought to ponder.

We find it torturous to resist a small, sweet bonus even though the larger, delayed reward of the patience game is ultimately more desirable. From grocery shopping to internet surfing, we seek it out and we are granted. The next time we are denied instant results, we see it as an inconvenience. Unfortunately, we don’t wish to consider the lessons and benefits we miss when we don’t resist temptations and delay fulfillment.

Power to people

Well, thanks to the online world, instant gratification is more possible than ever. The technology on our phones and other electronic devices seems like a wish-granting tree. A genie who grants all our wishes promptly within a blink evokes our id (pleasure principle).

With the world running the rat race towards the motto, “Why wait when we can have it now”, we become detached from our core values in a jiffy. We tend to prioritize the superficial ideas of material wealth, objects, and appearance. The demand for instant results is dribbling into every corner of our lives including our everyday relationships.

Relationships are like a plant – it takes time, commitment, and efforts to nurture them. It also needs fertilizers – likewise, attention and involvement in every meaningful relationship. To our disappointment, the need for instant gratification is making people unwilling to wait until the flower blooms and ripen to become a sweet fruit.

The biggest barrier to a story to have “..and they happily lived ever after” is the idea of instant gratification. So many relationships, speed off from the gate only to crash at the one-year lane. Alas, we are so used to instantaneous, we believe that the “perfect relationship” will appear right on the screen and true happiness is just a click away. Ah.. sounds like a fantasy story.

Love has no app

“The problem is instant gratification is addicting and often becomes a habit, a habit that tends to seep into our love lives.”

Our emotional brain has a hard time visualizing the future, despite our logical brain having the ability to foresee the future consequence of today’s actions. But are we so driven for instant gratification now that we are willing to gamble our relationships for it?

The media’s impression of couples jumping into bed on their first spark of mutual physical fascination is becoming a reality for many youngsters these days. Sex is assumed to be a form of just another recreation rather than a commitment of deepest and long-lasting bondage.

What is lost in instant sexual gratification is the magic, and the genuine romance of falling deeper in love and gently giving more of yourself to another. What people be-little, is the idea of being old-school. For Gen Y and the Xennials, love meant not taking advantage on the first date, not even expecting a first kiss. They didn’t need technology to fall in love. Respect was the foundation of a trusting and lasting bond and they knew it was precious because they knew it was real.

Maybe, “Chasity” a word that sounds bygone, is not about what not to do. It is merely the joy and beauty of delayed gratification.

A need for speed?

It is a constant battle between what we want now vs. what we want most. It is bound that we land up choosing the now without clarity of what we actually want. Let me ask you a simple question:

How many times have you sacrificed what you want most (a good marriage, a harmonious relationship, a sold relationship) for what you wanted at that moment (to be right, to get things your way, to have the last word of the argument)?

The minute we start choosing the latter, we fail our relationships – though not necessarily permanent, it could be a momentary setback. However, in the long run, it can make you feel disconnect and dissonant. There is an inevitable failure to encounter if the pleasure principle blinds your conscious mind.

You can swipe through a group of potential people and get that instant rush in hormones. You can move on to another person fitting your checklist at the moment. But is that the narration of our grandpa’s love story?

Of course, the secret of staying together is staying together. To make an ideal couple, you need to work on the relationship, before giving up. Give it some time to heal and get better. Serious love takes serious commitment. Instant gratification should be used with caution. But are you exceeding your recommended limit?

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