If you do, you are not alone.
Most of us treat pleasure as something that should only be allowed in very small doses. Something only to be enjoyed after we have struggled and strived to earn it. Pleasure for the sake of pleasure makes us feel guilty, lazy or ashamed of our selves. It makes us feel that what we are enjoying is wrong or bad and that we should not do it unless someone we feel have authority over us says it is okay, like our father, mother, spouse or boss. So often, when we feel pleasure, like with good food, sex or watching our favorite tv show, we end up over-indulging. Not because the pleasure of doing these things is bad, but because we extended our actions beyond the point of pleasure. This is when the feeling of guilt kicks in and we end up feeling bad instead of good for letting ourselves be seduced by our need for pleasure.
Over-indulgent is not pleasure. Everyone who has ever eaten themselves into a food coma or binge watched tv all day know that there is a breaking point between pleasure and over-indulgence, and when you are wise enough to stop your pleasure-action at just the right time, you end up feeling fabulous! You’re recharged, awake, filled up and contented. The best feeling there is: SATISFIED!
So, why do we over-indulge? Why does watching that one episode of our show turn into 3-5-10 episodes instead? At the same time as we mindlessly empty the cookie jar and roam the freezer for ice-cream leftovers? Why do we binge instead of bend to what we know would make us feel good?
The answer I’ve come up with in my own exploration is lack of imagination, lack of inspiration and lack of knowing what our pleasure is.
You see, pleasure is a powerful thing, and our physical and emotional bodies will drive us to the next kick of pleasure until we start to listen to what it really needs. When we are feeling uneasy, distracted, dissatisfied, frustrated, sad, angry or depressed, we will reach for that one thing that we think will help us feel relief.
Look at this and see if you can find some familiarity:
You got up this morning and went to work feeling a little overwhelmed because you felt like you had more to do than you could possibly chew over in a day. As you’re approaching lunch the pressure picks up. Your feeling stressed and like you don’t have time to eat, so you grab something easy and eat by the computer. You don’t care much what it is as long as it makes you have that full feeling that takes away some of the stressful pressure. Around 3 o’clock your hunger calls again, and your head for whatever is available, the vending machine, cake in the office kitchen or street food. You keep it going for a couple of more hours and promise your self you will head for the gym after work. You work an hour or two late or have to run for the kindergarten. You hurry home to get some food going for the family, or if you’re alone you may just grab something from the restaurant on the corner or warm some frozen food, so boring to cook for one, right? You may sit down to eat with your family or go directly for the TV, putting on your favorite show not to have to engage with anything. After all, you’ve been at work all day, you DESERVE to relax. Not being really present with your self you overeat and feel way to heavy to go to the gym, it’s getting late and you don’t really feel like going anymore – tomorrow is another day, you tell yourself as the autopay of your broad catcher starts another episode and you sink into the obeisance of a pleasure induced coma. 3-4 hours later you stumble into bed, feeling exhausted from lack of movement, lack of true pleasure and over-indulgence. You may feel uneasy in the body, have a hard time sleeping and this is when the body reaches for its ultimate pleasure tool: The peak (clitoris) orgasm. A little rub or, the aid of that vibrating plastic toy in your nightstand drawer and you are off to dreamland for a few hours before the whole thing repeats itself again tomorrow.
Sure, you may get to the gym on some days. Or eat healthy for a few days, a week or two, but if you are depriving your self of pleasure your physical body is going to get you sooner or later. She is built for pleasure, pleasure is her birthright and she knows how she thrives. No use in fighting her, she will win every time!
So, what can you do to balance? How can you flow with true pleasure instead of stumbling into an over-indulged pleasure coma? You can start giving her what she really needs!
The first thing she needs is your attention. I invite you to sit down and write a list of all the things you find pleasurable in your life experience, including those things that you are not doing today that you would like to do. Go big, over the top. Write down any pleasure you could think of wanting to experience, no shame. The list is yours, and you get to decide what pleasure is for you.
Watch your self as you do this. Watch how your mind wants to rationalize and how trained you are not to allow yourself pleasure. Listen to all your excuses and to where they come from… Is that your mother’s voice you are hearing? Your father? Teacher, spouse, girlfriend or priest? Who is talking? Who do you use as an excuse to deprive yourself of pleasure?
Try taking the role of the observer and be curious about how your mind works when it comes to allowing yourself pleasure. Where does it go? Do you get distracted? Think it’s silly? Try to get to do something “more productive”?
I’ll let you in on a secret: Nothing is more productive than true pleasure. When you allow pleasure without over-indulging or trying to push your self in the direction of “productivity”, you enter your flow zone and your creative juices flow. You become super officiant and you actually get things done with pleasure. See, it’s the moment you start second guessing yourself and demanding productivity you get deprived and lose your focus. Isn’t that cool? You actually thrive from doing exactly the things you want to do!
Now, you may be thinking “My boss would never allow that! I got to get this finished now or I’ll be in big trouble” If you do, try right now to stop yourself from whatever is stressing you out and do something that gives you pleasure. It may be something easy, such as stretching or going for a 10-minute walk outside or just daydreaming of your favorite place for a few minutes. Anything that feels good to you and watches how it gives you an immediate energy boost.
Next time you reach for that second serving or the third cookie that you truly don’t want, stop and ask yourself: Is eating/watching/drinking this really going to give me the pleasure I seek? Or is there something else that I could be doing that would give me more satisfaction? The aim of pleasure is satisfaction. When satisfaction is gone, pleasure is no longer at play and you’ve overextended.
You may decide to have that extra cookie this time around, and the next time, but the seed is planted and sooner or later you will bend to true pleasure. You will start searching balance instead of overload. It’s just the way of life! Life seeks sustainability through the balance of pleasure.
Need any help getting out of unhealthy patterns and finding your pleasure balance? My job is helping others find true sustainable pleasure and I would be so happy to help you! Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS! What would you do if time and money were not in demand?
Photo by Hanna Postova on Unsplash