Joy and pleasure treat malaise and languish, which are elements of depression and disengagement from life. Often times adding joy and pleasure back into life is the way to hope and healing. However, very often, when we arrive at this point in the conversation, my clients say to me, “Yes, but, I don’t know how to add joy and pleasure back into my life.”
That feels true to me. If we knew how to accomplish this task, we would. This blog is about finding the pieces of ourselves that are unique to us and celebrating those facets, as those are some of the places we can add joy and pleasure. We are all individual and unique even though we have underlying common needs and wants like love and belonging. Even though our shared humanity can bring us joy and pleasure, it is often our uniqueness that we can lift up and build upon to develop self-love and self-worth. This relationship with ourselves, as it grows stronger and stronger gives us internal pleasure and joy to bank on when our surrounding environment grows harder and more stressful.
To celebrate our uniqueness, we have to combat our natural desire to blend in to the norm which often society is encouraging us to do. Society and culture often wants us to follow trends, align with acceptable labels and be like everyone else. That is what is easy for others, but it is not pleasurable and exciting to our nervous systems and it doesn’t help us develop a strong relationship with ourselves. The first step, then, is to understand the pressure against being unique.
The second step is to reflect on what makes us different and special. Here’s my list, I think it could be a helpful example.
This is just a beginning list of examples but I am including them so you will understand that each of us
have very individualized experiences that add to our uniqueness. Aligning with those personal elements of ourselves gives us the opportunity to develop stronger and stronger understanding of ourselves and align with our needs and wants.
- Take time to reflect and dive deeply into the question of who you are and your unique likes
- Try hard to separate your likes and dislikes from that of your immediately family,
surrounding community and society/culture.
- Make a list of what makes you, you.
- See where on the list you can grow your relationship with yourself.
- Start to translate those unique qualities to coping skills and mechanisms for increased joy
and pleasure to cope with your surrounding environment.