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Moments of Pleasure

28 February 2022

Gerard Rahman, Partner |

What is happiness to you? It is a profound question. We could reframe the question if you wish. When are you happy? Or perhaps we could ask what makes you happy? Are you one of those who cannot relax until the task on hand is complete? Even if that task lasts for three days. Or are you one of those people who finds joy regularly in little things? You may be one of those people that can focus efficiently on work but can completely switch off once they are home. 

As you know, there is no right or wrong answer to this. We are all different. And that's okay. Let's explore. 

Just because we are all different does not mean that we cannot learn from each other. Take those of us who find happiness in little things (and I may have shown my own preference by the title of this article). There is a continuous stream of joys in our everyday life. Be it a well-made cup of tea, you know one. The richness is perfect, and it's gorgeously piping hot. It takes you away. You are there in that moment of pleasure. Or perhaps a dish which we can all relate to. A biryani. I've been with large groups of people laughing and talking after ordering at a restaurant. But when the lid is expertly sliced open and steam escapes, a deathly silence befalls all that behold this sight. All are possessed at that moment, and silence continues at least until the first (and frankly sufficient) serving is devoured. I could talk about the perfect Punjabi samosa. But I think you see my point, or you have already wandered off into the kitchen. The common factor is the ability to be present to appreciate something. No matter how simple. The more regular we are being present, the more we appreciate. Everyday encounters can be beautiful if we are present. Saying hello to the person you are buying coffee from. Squeezing your mother's hand. Hugging your child. 

We can all learn a lot from the pleasure delayers, those of us who stay focussed on a task until it is delivered. Especially when that task or assignment took a few days. The principle to learn here is the need to celebrate, acknowledge that it is done, and reward ourselves. Many of us may not be comfortable with this. But recognition within each of us is a powerful thing. One must give time to love oneself, especially those who doubt our own self-confidence when there is no need to doubt ourselves.  

I admire those of us who can switch off as soon as they get home. Or even as we start our commute home after work. It is an incredible skill to let go and relax. To deliberately let go and feel detached renews us. We may get engrossed in something which isn't relaxing, but a change is as good as a rest, as they say.   

I talk about pleasure delayers, those who find simple little pleasures or those that can switch off as if they are three very different types of people. In truth, there is a little of each style or preference in each of us. Each of us can grow into a person that consistently finds happiness from different places. But it is essential to be conscious of maintaining a balance as we seek happiness. Indeed, consciously seek happiness. So I ask you, what is happiness to you?