Are you seeking relief or seeking pleasure?

We’re finally coming back, albeit cautiously, from our pandemic behaviors. For the past year, I’ve been seeking relief from this forced isolation.  You too?

Netflix and other streaming services seemed to dominate my evenings and the “likes” I’ve left on Facebook and Instagram seem to be the only visible signs of my existence.  

Plus, I don’t know about you, but I have found the pandemic after effects quite noticeable. My weight is up, my sleep is down, and my enthusiasm for leaving the house is barely noticeable (even with the lessening restrictions).

Bleah. 

By seeking relief from the stress and isolation, I feel I have disappeared from life!

What just happened?

The social psychologist Eric Fromm’s theory says that our personality is based on two primary needs: the need for freedom and the need for belonging.  

When those needs are not met, like during isolation, it creates anxiety. The different personalities he named seek different ways to relieve that anxiety. Most become hungry for relief to satisfy the emptiness, but one personality type engages in activities that invite pleasure and renewal.

He said, “Relief is less stable or enduring than the pleasure that accompanies growth which can go on forever.”

Relief or pleasure?

Our pandemic year of anxiety had many of us seeking relief. 

Relief can look like zoning out on social media or binge-watching our streaming services.  It could show up as overindulging our favorite self-destructive habit. (Sugar anyone? How about a beer or a smoke?)  It’s a temporary fix.

We reach for relief only to find that source empty and we are left hungry for more.

Relief is the opposite of pleasure. When we don’t engage in activities that provide pleasure, we are left feeling a bit numb. But, when we indulge in a pleasurable activity, we are energized and our bodies wake up.

The experience of pleasure triggers our senses. Pleasure renews us. To regain our aliveness, let’s include activities that bring pleasure into our lives.  

It’s a tall order, though. 

How can we engage in pleasurable activities when our habits lead us to seek relief?  We first need to know what brings us pleasure. 

Pleasure requires us to be true to ourselves

Seeking pleasure allows us to learn about ourselves in a new way. By asking ourselves When do I feel most alive? What calls me? How do I feel? What am I drawn toward? What do I avoid? we expand our self-knowledge. 

This is how we wake up!

As we become more self-aware, we feel more powerful. We are able to engage with life rather than sit passively with our feet up while we click the remote.  We seek to fill our senses and wake our body instead of standing in front of the open refrigerator staring straight ahead.  (I can’t be the only one! LOL)

Pleasure for me is digging through my crochet pattern collection for ideas to design something that will fit what I’m inspired to create. It could be anything from a wall hanging or a doily to a potholder.  Shopping for yarn and thread can throw me into spasms of ecstasy! I get excited imagining the colors and textures and the joy my creation will bring.

What’s your pleasure?

What I want for you is a pleasure-filled life. This is the perfect time to take a look at where you are now, where you want to be and what you need to get there. Pleasure ignites your energy and sweetens your life.

I believe you are here for a purpose that only you can fulfill.  When you combine pleasure with your purpose and rev up your aliveness, you are unstoppable!  


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