Don't Compromise a Better Future for an Easier Present
We want everything now. Instagram needs to open as soon as we click the app, that video better not buffer, and heaven forbid Netflix doesn’t load. We can access virtually everything we want - from toilet paper to clothing to sex - with just a few clicks on the right website. Instant gratification has always been an issue in our society, but with the advent of televisions, cell phones, and social media it’s more pressing now than ever.
The desire for instant gratification is normal and it begins the day we’re born. As babies we scream when we’re hungry, as teenagers we won’t stop asking until we get the newest things, and as adults we are able to satisfy our needs immediately...but at what cost?
We have made a habit out of choosing what we deem to be worthy enough to wait for. We don’t want to spend extra money on clothes that are made ethically and sustainably so we choose to turn a blind eye to exploitation occurring in the garment industry. To feed our desire to be satisfied now, we have forsaken the human right to being paid a fair living wage.
We don’t want to spend the time it would take to build a healthy relationship or fuel a real connection so we hire prostitutes to bring us some sense of connectivity. We trade dignity and respect for one fleeting moment. Instead of going home after work and making dinner we swing by the drive-thru and order greasy food that we know isn’t good for us. But it’s so quick and easy that we have almost convinced ourselves it’s worth it.
The most dangerous thing about instant gratification is that most of the time we don’t even realize we’re indulging in it. Have you ever wondered why you constantly feel the need to check your phone when you’re supposed to be doing something important? You may be able to call it procrastination, but I bet if you paid a little more attention to how you were actually feeling you’d notice it’s because you want to be entertained, right this second. That is indulging in instant gratification.
The desire to be instantly gratified isn’t abnormal at all. It’s human nature even. What that doesn’t mean is that we get to cave to it every single time. An important thing to consider when we find ourselves asking, “Is this instant gratification?” is what the TRUE cost of it is. This can be done by breaking our decisions down little by little. Once we realize that the reason we are doing things is to fill some void then we can begin to make small changes.
Fast food is good now, but we still end up craving more later. That shirt is only $10, and it may be pretty cute, but that doesn’t mean it has solved your shopping obsession. Paying for sex now will succeed in bring momentary pleasure, but it will fill no void in your heart.
Instead of turning to quick solutions we need to be willing to bask in uncertainty and walk uncomfortable roads. It’s hard to tell yourself no, there is no denying that. But it can become even more difficult to end the cyclical nature of instant gratification. We have to be willing to make conscious decisions that help us be better people. We can set limits for how much time we spend on social media, only go shopping for special occasions, and vow to treat people with dignity.
When we find ourselves in situations where it feels like we may be compromising a better future for an easier present we need to recognize two things. The first being that you should be proud of reaching a point where you are able to identify the effects of your choices. That seems simple enough, but it can actually be quite the journey to discover how to accurately identify and express emotions. The second thing is that the choices we make reach far beyond ourselves.
So often when victims of human trafficking are rescued we see these effects first-hand. Sometimes it’s in the form of poor living conditions or being forced to sell themselves for next to nothing. It is so important to remember that advocating for victims goes beyond awareness. It also entails making decisions that don’t support the trafficking of human beings and making sacrifices so that no one is forced to give up their personal freedoms. Remember the true cost of your actions goes beyond what you can see.
This year, do something different. Take on the Dressember style challenge and pledge to wear a dress or tie every day in December. You'll challenge yourself, learn more about the issue of human trafficking and have a viable impact on those trapped in slavery around the world.
Registration opens October 1st, 2018
About the Author
Sonsee Jenkins is a lover of animals (big and small), hand lettering, and writing. Her experiences include rehabilitating raccoons, writing for her school’s humanity department, and advocating for the oppressed. She attends a small university in Northeast Indiana and hopes to use her degree (and all her time working up to it) to end human trafficking.