An Argument to be made for the Destination
Destination focus can be a positive coping mechanism when used it the right way. The following are some examples of healthy destination focus:
- Planning a vacation and looking forward to that vacation as a coping mechanism for stress.
- Tolerating uncomfortable emotions knowing that emotions are temporary, and they will eventually pass.
- Looking forward to something at the end of your workday or the end of your workweek to help you tolerate the stress of your job.
- Exposing yourself to anxiety inducing situations in order to reduce future anxiety.
- Pushing yourself through physical exercise knowing that you will feel better once the exercise is over.
When Destination Becomes an Unhealthy Focus
The destination becomes an unhealthy focus when you make your happiness contingent on future success. For example, “I will be happy when…” (a) I get a promotion (b) I graduate school (c) I find a partner (d) I lose 10 lbs. If you make your current happiness contingent on future success, then you will miss the opportunity to enjoy the present. The future is an illusion because it has not happened yet. If you are going to focus on the future, it should be about enriching the present. Looking forward to a vacation you have planned is a way of enjoying the present moment because you can derive pleasure from thinking about it in the present.
It is the Journey, but the Destination has its place in the present
Life is the journey, but there are times when the journey is a struggle and reminding ourselves that pleasure, relaxation, and relief is around the corner can help alleviate suffering in the present.