How Do I Allow Myself to Feel Pleasure?
I believe that life’s purpose is pleasure, thriving, enjoying, breathing deeply. That to me is real living. But, I didn’t always believe this. Flash back to twelve years ago. I was a negative nancy, getting sucked into judgement and stuck in loops of victimized thinking. I would let stubbing my toe or encountering a rude person ruin my morning and sometimes my whole day. I was suffering.
It wasn’t all bad; I had great friends and community and was “succeeding” in a superficial sense of the word - but I wasn’t thriving. Over time I began to see that if I paid too much attention to the little things that bothered me or interrupted my flow that I was throwing away the possibility of enjoying the rest of my day. Once I realized that if I fueled the fire of these vicious cycle – blaming others, beating myself up, ‘knowing’ that I was right – they would never stop.
So, I decided to commit to changing this. I worked on loving myself exactly how I was, searching for my strengths and building myself up, growing in deep and authentic self-worth, independent of what anyone thought of me. I committed to not letting little things get to me by learning to pivot my thinking and focus on something good. It could be as simple as being grateful for my apartment, or my clothes, a friend, anything. I pushed through the neurological connections until I formed new ones. It was not easy.
But, I did it. I learned to be present and find joy and pleasure in any moment. I know that it’s there now so if I really want it - I can access it. The pleasure comes from within me.
I’ve always found it easy to connect to my inner child, the part of me that sees the world with wonder. Many of my childhood memories are of being outside, enjoying nature, singing to myself. I could find this easily on vacation or being in nature. But, accessing these feelings living in NYC was super difficult for me. It took dedication to this new pleasure seeking version of me to find it in the concrete jungle.
I found it by walking in Riverside park often (even in winter) and practicing yoga more and more. Starting my day by stretching, feeling my body awakening with each movement. This is when I reconnected with that part of me that knew what I needed and I started to train my brain to ask this question: What do I need right now?
Sounds simple, right? Not so much. The thing is, most of us were not taught to do this. To prioritize connecting with ourselves and when we’re in a place of stuckness or resistance, to ask ourselves, what do I need right now? We’re taught to prioritize other people’s feelings and desires (this can be as simple as caring what someone else thinks of us). We get so distanced from our inner knowing that we follow other people’s dreams, create lives full of things we don’t even want and people who are a reflection of the distance from our true selves.
As I became more connected to my essence, to who I really am – that part of me that never changed – I learned to find pleasure in any moment.
Let me ask you, how can you find pleasure when it seems totally out of reach? What practice can you commit to that would help you connect to who you really are every day. The more you do this practice, the easier it will be to answer the question: what do I need right now?
No matter how hard it is, no matter how hard your brain fights you when you ask this, NEVER stop asking this question. And never forget that you (and only you) have the power to find it and give it to yourself at any moment.
So, let’s try it out. What do you need RIGHT NOW? This. Very. Moment.
Here are some things that help me access great deals of pleasure:
Eating yummy and nutritious food
Dancing freely to music I love.
Walking on the beach. Sitting on the beach. Feeling the sand between my fingers and toes. Drawing shapes and then wiping them clean and starting again.
Taking a bath.
Spending time with friends with whom I have a soul connection.
Being in nature, the forest, the desert. In nature I feel so connected to myself, to the universe.
By: Jamie Faye
Jamie Faye is an International Millennial Dating and Relationship Coach, speaker and facilitator. Originally from New York, she now lives in Tel Aviv with her partner and fur baby. She loves camping on the beach, impromptu dance parties and cooking Persian food.