This is one of the most common questions I get – But Alyssaaa, why is it so hard to prioritize pleasure!? It should be easy...right? I meeeean this is pleasure we’re talking about here, not taxes!!
Listen, I get this question all the time so let’s take a breath, buckle up and go there.
Here are three factors that make pleasure so damn hard:
1. Our culture prizes productivity above all else
We have all been conditioned to be productive.
Our education system was literally designed with the goal of churning out efficient, reliable and productive workers. That is its objective.
It is not designed to make us happy.
It is not designed to help us find fulfillment.
It is not designed to help us heal, grow or evolve as full human beings.
It is designed to further capitalistic aims and fuel economic progress.
Read that again.
This value system instilled in our educational system is then reinforced in the workplace.
We’re expected to show up consistently everyday, regardless of how we feel. We're taught to override our own cycles, energy, emotions and dreams to work and make our company money. That’s the system.
2. We are praised for what we do, not who we are
As kids, many of us high-achievers were praised when we excelled at something, not just for being ourselves. We learned to attach love and attention to what we did, not who we fundamentally were.
When that’s the blueprint we’re given, of course we end up as adults who work really hard to try to get our needs for love and attention met. We learned that that’s the way to get what we need.
Not to mention – we probably didn’t have parents or caregivers who modeled prioritizing pleasure and self-care!
3. This conditioning sets us up to feel a sense of deficiency that we *try* to make up for with work
When it’s not enough to just be ourselves, we feel like something is wrong, or bad or missing or flawed about us and we try to make up for it by working harder.
We feel better when we get approval from our manager or get the next promotion. For a moment we like we’re okay, but it doesn’t last. It’s not sustainable or helpful to try to get these core needs of feeling lovable, and worthy and enough from work.
In fact this can be harmful and it can be a trap. We keep going back for this hit of feeling okay, but really we’re trying to feel this deep need for wholeness in a way that it can't truly be fulfilled.
So we perpetuate this cycle of feeling like we're not good enough. It's never enough. We don't deserve pleasure because we haven't earned it.
And guess what? Work never ends. There’s always more we can do. So pleasure keeps getting pushed further and further down the list until we never get there. We’re stuck.
So where do we go from here?
It’s okay. It makes sense. There’s nothing wrong with you. You can feel better. It just takes time.
Pleasure is in the BE-ING not the DO-ING and when we’ve reinforced the pattern of DO-ING so strongly, it can be really challenging to learn to shift into the BE-ING state of rest, relaxation and pleasure.
My invitation is to see what’s possible when you just say: It's enough. I've done enough. I choose to take a break, go outside, have a snack or do whatever the thing is that's going to bring me pleasure.
So much of my work is dedicated to integrating pleasure into our everyday life. Instead of it being something that’s separate and left for after everything else is done, the question becomes:
How can we do work and life in a way that actually feels good?
If you’re ready to start making some shifts and learning how to prioritize pleasure, reach out or book a call to see how I can support you in beginning to unwind some of these patterns.