It seems to me that many of us are deluded much of the time, and that we'd be a lot happier and more contented if we realised this.
We are deluded in so many ways: deluded that a bright and enticing future will soon eclipse a mundane present; deluded that we'll strike it lucky with the Lottery; deluded that we'll become that famous writer, artist, musician or celebrity any time soon; deluded that our little entrepreneurial enterprise is about to take off, go global and makes us millionaires; deluded that our children are the cleverest, kindest, most loving and respectful in the whole neighbourhood; deluded that marriage is necessarily forever and that loves always lasts; deluded that we are popular and well-thought-of by all; deluded that we are sharper, more quick-witted, more humorous and have more sex appeal than most of our friends and acquaintances; deluded that society will one day be perfect, or at least a lot more perfect than it is today; deluded that our own particular political or religious beliefs will necessarily create a better world; deluded that dieting will make us lose weight (95% of dieters eventually put on weight). The list of our delusions is endless.
But, you may ask, what's wrong with having ideals, goals, hopes and aspirations? Nothing, I reply. We are all free to have as many ideals, goals, hopes and aspirations as we wish. I am not criticising or standing in the way of any of these. But what I am suggesting is that constantly knocking our heads against the wall of false beliefs, unrealistic hopes and unattainable ambitions is a dissatisfying and stress-making process which could damage our psychic health. Instead of consciously or unconsciously deceiving ourselves, burying our heads in the sand and trying to escape from the at-times banal ordinariness and random harshness of life, why don't we attempt to look at ourselves and the world with a clearer eye, with spectacles less rose-tinted? To consider the facts of life more truthfully, more dispassionately?
If we do this, I think we may find a strange transformation taking place. We may begin to see a value in being where we are rather than perpetually longing to be somewhere else. We may begin to understand our own faults and shortcomings, and accept them with wryness, generosity and forgiveness, thereby understanding and accepting the faults and shortcomings of others. And we may begin to appreciate the small but extraordinary miracles happening around us in the day-to-day, rather than counting on larger miracles in the future — which are, more often than not, chimerical.