It’s hard for so many of us to feel true pleasure. We don’t allow ourselves to feel good.
It doesn’t really make any sense.
Why? Why would we block ourselves from the pleasure and good feelings that are ours to have?
If we thought nothing about our life or our day would feel good, would we even get out of bed? What would be the point?
Pleasure is a necessity, not a luxury.
Pleasure makes our relationships light up and our lives dance the sultry, hip-shaking dance. Our purpose here is not to feel bad, to repent, or to suffer.
We will all suffer, that is true. It’s part of the human condition. Yet our suffering must be in right relationship to our joy, our play and our pleasure.
Ever feel bad about feeling good?
Here are the top 5 patterns I see that straight up block our pleasure.
1. The complex web of people pleasing and care-taking.
Women in particular, are socialized to care-take everyone else but ourselves, which takes us away from our pleasure in myriad ways. First of all, we are focused out, rather than on ourselves. We learn that it’s selfish to focus on ourselves, therefore it is not desirable to do something that would just feel good to us. Who wants to be seen as selfish?
And in that complex dynamic that is created through people pleasing others, there is an assumed payoff. When we don’t get the payoff, we feel worse. That payoff might be that they’ll like me because I take care of them, they won’t leave me because they need me, I’m scratching their back so when I need something, they’ll give it. Whatever the assumption is, people pleasing is a manipulation because we believe we will get something from it. And so we get to work hard to take care of everyone but ourselves.
2. We are taught to feel guilty for feeling good.
When so many people are suffering in the world, how can we have the audacity to decide to feel good? When so many people don’t have what they need, how can we be focused on whimsical things like pleasure? This idea is rooted in the idea that pleasure is extra, it’s a luxury we don’t need. Yet we do need it.
Our guilt for having a good life and feeling good does nothing for those who do not have the same resources or privileges. It just puts more guilt and bad feelings into the world, which will never make it a better place. Your good feelings are actually the antidote if you direct them to the right places and let your joy shine. At the root of this one is the desperate fear of being judged. We are almost more scared to be judged for our joy and happiness than we are for our shortcomings or the darker parts of ourselves.
3. We are taught not to trust our own feelings.
Trust what someone else wants for you or says should happen. You can’t possibly trust yourself. If you are feeling good, something must be wrong. Ever been gaslit? Most of us have. Gaslighting is a weapon of control that tells us we are not experiencing what we say we are experiencing. “No, you don’t feel that…” “No that didn’t happen…” “You’re lying, this is how it is…”
Gaslighting is so prevalent in relationships because 1) people don’t want to be responsible for what they have created, 2) they don’t want to feel the weight of what is really happening or of what they did, and, 3) they want to control others and control the narrative in the relationship. And that includes their jealousy of you enjoying yourself when they feel miserable. If you have been told how to feel or that you are not feeling what you, in fact, do feel, you’ve been gaslit. If you experience that enough, it will teach you that feeling good is a myth and that you shouldn’t trust your own feelings. Someone else knows better. You get to learn to trust yourself. You get to learn to trust yourself in your good feelings.
4. We learn that it is noble to feel bad or oppressed.
Most of us do not want to identify with the oppressor, so it’s easier to feel oppressed, down, inferior, or just bad. If we feel on top of the world, that must go with some privilege we don’t want to admit we have or don’t want to identify with. Even to be good at things can feel challenging because then we could be seen as having a superiority complex and we should stay small with the crowd. Don’t stand out. Don’t be too big. Don’t have too much power. If we fight our own bigness and glory, we align with mediocrity and we disallow our own joy in becoming our best possible self. This is rooted in the idea of power-over others, rather than shared power. If we see personal power from an empowerment point of view where it only supports the greater whole and takes nothing from anyone else, we get be abundant in good feelings about ourselves.
5. We think our pleasure is tied to someone else.
If we associate feeling good or experiencing sexual pleasure with someone else, then we disable our own capacity to feel good. If we link pleasure to being in a relationship and can’t enjoy time with ourselves, or if we think to have an orgasm we need a partner, we are seriously diminishing the joyful experiences we get to have. Your pleasure is not dependent on anyone else. You are the author of your pleasure experience and if you choose not to rely on others for pleasure, but rather, to share it with them then that changes the game entirely. You then own the power to feel good, rather than putting it on someone else and blaming them when it doesn’t happen.
As a result of all of these, whether we are feeling guilt, aligning with inferiority, or deep in care-taking others, at the end of the day, we get to make time for our own pleasure and joy. We get to prioritize pleasure every single day.
If you want to have sexual pleasure and ecstasy you’ve got to learn to enjoy your life on the daily in the little ways life brings you happiness and exuberance. If you can’t do pleasure that way, it will be a big uphill battle to get to the sexual pleasure and orgasms you want.
HomePlay Assignment: TOP TEN PLEASURE LIST
I invite you to make your TOP TEN PLEASURE LIST. What are the things that you absolutely love doing, that bring you joy, that because you enjoy them so much you lose track of time when you are doing them? What are the things that light you up, and always make you feel good?
Put them on your top ten list and then post it where you can remind yourself that every day you get to do at least one thing on that list. When things are out of balance, ask yourself how you can bring more pleasure online and allow it to fill your life with feeling good.
There are enough things in our world that would have us feel bad. The antidote is to feel good. It doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pain of loss, the righteous anger about injustice or the grief about our health issues. We feel those things and let them move through us, and we anchor in goodness and from there, our tank is filled up so we can give back and make the world a little better.
You have the power to feel good every day. If we were all aligned to pleasure and feeling good, even when things are difficult, our world would feel different.