You Deserve Pleasure

Nov 12, 2015
Image: A sandy walkway to the beach with a wooden arch and fence in the foreground

Image: A sandy walkway to the beach with a wooden arch and fence in the foreground

Dear readers, I have a confession. I am a workaholic. My workaholism comes from several sources. First, I really, really, really love what I do. Helping people achieve their goals and get the life they want is such an amazing opportunity; every session I get to spend with a client reignites my passion for this field. Second, I’m a naturally caring person. People who are caregivers are often prone to putting the needs of others first and can often end up giving and giving until they run dry themselves. Finally, but probably the most significant, I’m a perfectionist. I have super high standards for myself and I’m driven to keep improving and doing more.

These characteristics, in general, aren’t necessarily bad. After all, what’s wrong with loving your job or helping others or wanting to do better? However, when you combine them together and add in some stress, they can be a problematic combination. When I’m in the middle of trying to get something accomplished, parts of my brain can start telling me that I don’t deserve to take a break until I’ve gotten something finished. No, not finished, perfect. I can keep hearing that I haven’t “earned” the fun or calm or pleasure that the other parts of me want.

What I want to tell all of you today, as a means for helping to remind myself, is that each and every one of us deserves pleasure.

The US, as much as it may try to move forward, is still very grounded in Puritan ethics. Puritans believed that hard work and being frugal were the way to salvation. As a result, those who sought pleasure for its own sake were hedonists and less godly. Fast forward to our modern era, and here in this country most people fall into patterns of judging someone’s worth by how much they work. How often have you heard friends humble bragging about working 60 hours a week? What do we say to people who want to work only 20 hours a week or not at all? Who do we call a deadbeat – the person who never sees their family because they work so much or the person who works so little they see their friends and family as much as possible?

In truth, lots of people in the States don’t really feel like they deserve pleasure. Pleasure is something indulgent, extravagant. At best, it’s something we can earn through enough slogging but which we should never feel entitled to. And I get it, creating a culture of people who feel entitled to all the good without ever putting in any work would go downhill quickly. But, in my opinion, it’s time that we all think about whether this approach to pleasure and work is actually working for us.

I propose a new mantra – I deserve pleasure. Pleasure is not something that anyone should have to earn. We should not have to endure suffering in order to deserve pleasure. Pleasure is not just a reward, it is its own good.

Say it with me – I deserve pleasure!

Pleasure can take so many forms. Maybe it’s a piece of dark chocolate melting slowly on your tongue. Perhaps it’s a long soak in a Jacuzzi. Pleasure could be binge watching your favorite show. It could be a deep, slow kiss; a hard, passionate fuck.

I deserve pleasure

In truth, if you keep waiting until you “earn” pleasure, when does it happen? I know I’ve gone days, weeks, months trying to make it feel like I’ve done “enough” to deserve pleasure. What I found after I took a step back was that nothing ended up being enough. I was working and working and working and at best I would admit I’d done enough to feel good about sleeping. Because, in truth, there will always be more work. And there is no good conversion from work accomplished to pleasure earned.

I deserve pleasure.

People who don’t relax, or take breaks, or enjoy the pleasures around them suffer a whole host of consequences. Physiologically, our bodies aren’t designed to run at full speed all the time. Those under chronic stresses can suffer insomnia, heart disease, muscular tension, chronic pain, and on and on. Our bodies will eventually force us to slow down if we don’t do it on our own.

I deserve pleasure.

Say it out loud. How does it feel to say? When the words exit your mouth, is part of you rushing in with a “but” or a “maybe” or a question mark? Can you really accept that all the way down to your core?

I deserve pleasure.

What might your life look like if you took this as a truth? How might your priorities change if this was your mantra?

I deserve pleasure.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve gotten this message over and over from those who care about me. They keep telling me that it’s okay to slow down. That even Wonder Woman sleeps sometimes. That everyone deserves to relax and rest and recover.

I deserve pleasure.

Starting now, I’m going to live this mantra. I’m going to enjoy. I’m going to make time for myself. For the things I love and enjoy. For my pleasure.

I deserve pleasure.

Will you join me? Will you put your pleasure in a place of priority?

I deserve pleasure.

Say it with me. Live it with me. Let’s change this world together.

I deserve pleasure. And so do you.

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