There is so much demanding our attention all the time. The bills need paid, the phone calls need returned, the emails need sent. Plus, we have to manage the grocery shopping, laundry, chores, children’s schedules, doctor appointments, and the list goes on and on and on…
If we make the managing of life our life, then we will feel the constant pressure to do more. The “should” and the “have-to’s” will dictate the moment. Given an extra 10 minutes in our day, we will opt for a quick check of our emails or to wash a few more dishes.
We stay busy and our world runs like clockwork while we slowly break down.
Look at where you’re spending your time. How much of the demands are real and how much of the urgency is based on expectations – either ones you have for yourself, others have for you, or you imagine others have of you? Out of these expectations, which ones could you loosen your grip on and ask, “How important is it”? Can you fill that moment with something pleasant and relaxing instead?
As doers, achievers, and “responsible” men and women, we are often irresponsible in the one area that matters most. The area of pleasure.
How much pleasure are you allowing yourself to receive these days? When an unexpected hour knocks on your door (or 10 minutes for that matter), how likely are you to let it in for a cup of tea and conversation? Or do you go into managerial mode and begin handing it a list of tasks you want done by 7 pm that night?
What is your tolerance for pleasure? How much of it are you willing to allow in your life?
If we want to enjoy the lighter side of life, we need to be open to having it, which means while you’re enjoying the farmer’s market, you’re not thinking about your inbox. If you decide to go for a walk, you’re not planning the phone conversation you’re going to have with a client or co-worker later. When you finally put your feet up and sit outside to feel a part of this world, you aren’t making a list of tomorrow’s tasks.
Let yourself go on a mental vacation and enjoy the gift of pleasure. It’s always there and it’s always a choice. To choose pleasure over responsibilities can feel “irresponsible”. Do it anyway. I call this “healthy denial”. The joy you experience from letting yourself receive is a skill. It takes practice to relax and let the good in, especially if we’re accustomed to protecting ourselves against the “bad” through worry, managing, and control.
Take a breath, step outside, and just for the moment allow yourself to feel pleasure.
Life is trying to give it to us all the time. The question is, are your willing to receive it?