Are you afraid of pleasure?
I know, that question sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?
Of course I am not afraid of pleasure. Of course I want pleasure. Right?
Well yes and no.
Yes – we all want it and crave it. It is part of our seeking system – our natural instincts, and that yearning underlies all of our behaviour no matter how convoluted our seeking of pleasure appears.
But no – I have found that actually pleasure feels quite unsafe and triggers our resistance BIG time.
So even though we think we want pleasure, quite often our attractor fields and our antennae are not turned on and even if the experience lands on our lap we don’t always enjoy it.
Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean;
- You have been dreaming of that holiday all year – you finally get on it – but you just don’t really feel like you can relax.
- You have done all the washing, and cleaning and it is time to sit down and have a cuppa and put your feet up, but you don’t feel comfortable sitting down. You get up and potter around. You just have to stay busy.
- You never spend money on yourself, you just can’t justify it.
- Your partner plays sport and always has done. They are out 2 nights a week leaving you to look after the kids. You used to love netball but you don’t feel like you can leave your family to their own devices just yet. Maybe later.
- And a personal story – I noticed a fair few years back that my husband would so easily tip over into heart felt belly laughs and twinkling joyful eyes, but I would not. I would need all the stars to be aligned, for no-one to have offended my sensibilities in the past 24 hours and to have warmed up into a state of fun and joy, before I tipped on over.
My dog Kenny knows how to surrender to pleasure.
Pleasure, fun, rest and joy can all feel a little uncomfortable.
The bottom line is that in order to feel comfortable in pleasure we need to feel worthy. Pleasure and our capacity to surrender into it in the moment is a wonderful guidepost to where you are in relation to self-worth. Not just worthy when looking after others, not just worthy when being productive, not feeling the need to be vigilant, just leaning in to nurturing ourselves and allowing good feelings in the present.
So a lot of us are actually afraid of pleasure?
This is about safety.
Perhaps our pleasure was in limited supply as little ones, perhaps the culture of stoicism and not being a poser has affected us, perhaps we fear that the minute we start enjoying ourselves it will be wrenched from us.
In order to feel safe in pleasure we need to explore it a little deeper. We need to bring our intention to expand into a more open acceptance of pleasure and we need to embed onto our deep brain psychology that this is the new safe. In fact when we nurture ourselves we are much more alert, our system functions more optimally and we have access to our whole brain and higher self. A much better state in which to ascertain threat.
So, yep, allowing pleasure is actually the new safe.
I would love to hear from you,
Do you recognise this resistance to pleasure in yourself or others?
What intentions could you set around opening to pleasure, rest, reward and fun?
Is it time to commit to yourself and your pleasure and to feel supported, guided and held in your expansion into pleasure?
It starts on 1st September – that is only 2 weeks away!
I wish you pleasure in your expansion,
Hi, I'm Nicole Mathieson, a relationship and body image coach, couple therapist and author.
My relationships blog helps couples learn practical ways to cultivate a deeper understanding of one another, find safety and connection in relationships, navigate difficult conversations and repair after conflict.