We suck at enjoying things. Or at least, I do. We are either too busy acheiving that we don’t enjoy our work. We are too preoccupied with our agendas that we do not enjoy our company. We are too envious of other people’s success that we cannot enjoy the work of others.
The brilliant CS Lewis in The Screwtape Letters describes the goal of humble enjoyment (This is a demon talking so “Enemy” is indicative of “God”):
“The Enemy wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another. The Enemy wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbour’s talents – or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall.”
How often, when we praise something or someone, is it out of pure delight in that object or act alone, not wishing that it was us who have it or have done it?