Food is a very easy way to offer ourselves pleasure. This is especially true for those who easily attune to or care for others’ needs but minimize their own. Food can also serve as an acceptable form of pleasure if you don’t feel that you can honor this need in other areas of your life.
In both cases, food can be used to fill the gap created by deprivation. Food may be the one place where you recognize your needs and acknowledge them – where you offer yourself rest, pleasure and comfort.
But this is where it gets tricky – if food is the only or primary place where you attune to your needs, it can lead to overdoing, an overrelying on food for comfort. When this happens, we think the problem is our needs themselves, and our desire for pleasure – or pleasurable food. This can foster tremendous inner conflict, where we feel ashamed of our neediness, deprived if we ignore it, and guilty if we indulge it in food.
Because of this conflict, we may think the answer is to berate ourselves for needing or wanting too much – to not need at all. This may play out in our lives as a polarization, where we feel caught between extremes of self deprivation and overdoing.
But I wonder – perhaps we can relate to our need for pleasure differently. What if the longing for pleasure is something to bless rather than curse?
In this video, we’ll explore how to relate to pleasure and the desire for pleasurable foods. In particular, we’re going to explore what happens when you place your desire for pleasure and pleasureable foods in the positive, versus the negative, position.
When we put something in the negative position, we create an adversarial relationship with it. So if our desire for pleasure is seen as something negative, we become pleasure’s adversary. We see it as something to minimize, control, suppress, or eliminate. We go head to head with it, in conflict. We feel shame when it’s aroused and try to suppress it. If we can’t suppress it, we feel guilty.
But when we put something in the positive position, something different unfolds. First, we see our desire for pleasure and enjoyment as something good. And second, we’re no longer in conflict with it. Rather than being against it, we’re its ally – we find ways to invite it into our lives. We govern it with love rather than shaming its existence.