What is a pleasure addict, you ask? A pleasure addict is a person who always seeks short-term happiness, feeling good. A pleasure addict would prefer junk food to good health, casual sex to a committed relationship, and impulsive spending over long-term savings. A pleasure addict wants to feel good most of the time and looks for things outside of himself to supply those good feelings.
Look at these three questions to see if you would be considered a pleasure addict:
- Do you find yourself setting long-term goals and then sabotaging them by not taking the necessary steps to achieve them? An example would be deciding that you want to pay off your credit cards on an expedited plan, but you are still buying things you don’t need and making substantially less payments than you planned. Another example could be that you have a diet plan that includes only eating when you are hungry. However, you often find yourself making plans with your friends to go out to eat and you find yourself snacking when you are bored, lonely or anxious or as a reward to yourself.
- Do you feel like you need to reward yourself often to feel good about yourself? Do you often do things that you have told yourself that you would not do? For example, do you reward yourself with a new weight-loss outfit when you promised yourself you’d wait until you drop two sizes instead of one? Do you reward yourself with hot fudge ice cream when you’ve lost a certain amount of weight?
- Do you often find yourself seeking pleasure in things external to yourself? Do you look at people, places, things, and accomplishments to make yourself truly happy? Are you waiting for the right relationship, for your kids to grow up, for your advanced degree, for your house to pay off, or for your retirement to be happy? Do you crawl through the week waiting for the pleasures of the weekend?
People who seek to be truly happy must complete the work from the inside out. True happiness does not come from people, things, and accomplishments. Happiness comes from how you are in the world. Happiness is generated from your core when you live in the moment being fully present, you are grateful for what you have, and you have the desire and ability to find the gift or the lesson in all things. That is the key to being genuinely happy.
You will never achieve true happiness by being a pleasure addict. Let’s look at each behavior individually.
- Live the moment: There is a lot of talk about living in the moment, but how do you really do it? You need to become aware, beware of thoughts of the past or future, and constantly return to the present moment, which is all there really is to reality anyway. Most of us waste our “now” moments regretting or remembering the past or worrying or planning for the future. When you participate in those activities, you lose the only real moment you have, right now.
- Live in Gratitude: No matter what is happening in your life, living in gratitude is possible. As my friend says, “Any day on the surface is a good day.” As long as you are here, you may find things to be thankful for. Begin by thanking the air you breathe, the sun on your face, the rain that nurtures growth, your shelter that protects you from the elements. Once you start with the small things, you can easily build the bigger things. Instead of being upset about the money you owe, be grateful that you have a line of credit to make it available. Instead of being angry at a friend, be thankful for having friends in your life. Instead of wishing for a better job, be thankful for having what you have.
- Find the lesson or the gift: No matter what happens to you in your life, if you have the mind to seek it, you can find a lesson or a gift. Growth comes from pain. What terrible thing has happened to you in your life and what was the positive gain you received from it? My husband died at 37 but I had the gift of being able to say goodbye and my children had the gift of their time after he stopped working. You can find the positive in all situations if you have the mind to seek it.
To find true happiness from the inside out, you must be willing to avoid a few moments of pleasure. You need to monitor yourself to make sure you are living in the moment, living in gratitude, and finding the lesson or the gift. Recognize that happiness is not elusive at all. It lives within you and you can have access to it whenever you want. You just have to accept that it is there. The Inside Out Empowerment process can show you how.