Why Don’t I Do the Things That Make Me Happy?

How are you?  I’ve taken a break from writing newsletters for a while but felt the need to reach out.  The summer is here and it’s a time for entertainment and enjoyment of outdoor activities.  The weather has been amazing in New York and I’ve been trying to enjoy my down time.  As always, it’s a bit of a shift for me to allow for space and relaxation into my schedule and life.  Are you enjoying?  I will be working until August 15th this summer and then back after Labor Day.  Hope to connect before then!

The other day I came across something on Facebook that stuck in my head.  I went back to the post and copied it and sent it to a friend because of something she said to me when I told her I spent the morning at Brighton Beach.  She remarked that I always have a great schedule and prioritize the things I like to do.  I found this so remarkable because putting pleasure first in my life is something that doesn’t come easy for me and it’s a topic that this Facebook post had brought into my consciousness earlier that day.

I do not know the woman who posted it.  But she was attending some sort of weekend seminar on how to live a good life or something like that.   I’m going to take a section out of her post and share it.  This section in particular is what spoke to me:

Declaring to put pleasure first means that what turns me on and what makes me happy, alive and full of joy is what comes first in my life, before everything else.

Before my to do lists, emails, business success, the next launch, what other people think of me, friendships, relationships, family, money. Oh the list goes on. 

Out with the belief that when this gets done then I will have time to have fun.  Or the belief that if I make this much money then I can relax. 

This challenged me first of all because I do not believe that the pursuit of pleasure is the purpose of life.  (To the contrary, actually.)  Pursuing what one perceives to be pleasure can very possibly make one miserable.  But for me, and you may possibly relate to this, I have a tendency to become so focused on that which MUST be done that I seem to be avoiding the things that bring me pleasure.  The challenge is – why do I do this?  Why would I avoid the things that make me happy?

I think the difference can be summed up by the description of a life based on surviving vs. one based on thriving and it has lot to do with how we were raised and the environment in which we grew up.

I was watching a documentary on Ancient Greece last night and one of the interviewees was saying that the mark of an evolved society is one in which the people of that society have the luxury of reflecting on the meaning and purpose of life, instead of one based merely on survival.  The basic human needs are met and there is a level of security that fills the hearts and minds of the people.

We live in a society where these basic needs are met to varying degrees.  However, there are homes where there is a struggle for basic human needs like food, shelter, clothing, and there is an innate sense of struggle engendered in the children being raised in that environment.  This mentality of struggle can take several generations to outgrow.  But it is also worth mentioning that a sense of security can be absent even when basic needs are met.  Therefore, security is a state of mind you either have or you don’t have.  It is possible that someone can have millions in the bank and still be worried about their survival.  Or someone can live paycheck to paycheck and feel secure.  So our sense of security is really based on how we perceive our security and how secure we feel will determine how much pleasure we allow ourselves to have.

I have to own the fact that I have more or less lived a life based on a preoccupation with survival.  I have not prioritized the things that give me pleasure out of a false perception that I do not have that luxury. This is partially because I am an entrepreneur and that my income is not guaranteed, but mostly it is because I have to work at a sense of security.  It is not something that I innately possess.

It is good to know if this is something you need to work on too. This sense of security is worth paying attention to because the truth is that the more pleasure you allow in your life, the happier you will be and the more freedom and joy you will experience.  The more joy you experience the more juice is flowing in your work life and the more money you are making and the more secure you will become.  It’s kind of a self propelling cycle.  But if my relationship with security is that I have to constantly work my fingers to the bone or that I am only worthwhile if I am working, then I will not allow pleasure into my life and I will not thrive.

Is this something that you struggle with?  It’s strange to think about, but are you living a life based on surviving or thriving?  Let’s talk about it.  Book an appointment today.   My wish for you is that you will give yourselves permission to enjoy the things you love and to thrive!

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