“Love yourself” has become a catch-phrase and is easy to say but sometimes hard to wrap your mind around how to actively do it. But HOW do we practice self-love? How do we show ourselves the love that can be so easy to show to other people? A key in actively loving yourself is in allowing yourself to enjoy pleasure. Knowing that you deserve to feel good is the gateway to self-love. Many of us have a hard time accepting pleasure because somehow along the way we have learned to shame the part of ourselves that wants to feel good.
Often times people who were sexually or verbally abused learn to disassociate from their bodies and don’t feel that they deserve to feel pleasure, which can even become a source of shame.
The feeling of pleasure in itself is empowering! Pleasure shows you that you can feel amazing in your own body and don’t need to ask anybody’s permission or rely for the experience of pleasure in your body. It is something that can be shared with someone else, but even then, the experience you are having is unique to you.
By doing things that bring us pleasure, we are making a direct statement to our bodies, and to the universe, that we are worthy of enjoyment and bliss. To many people, this concept can be like a revelation, where maybe for the first time they consider giving themselves the love and appreciation that they so graciously extend to others.
Many of us don’t have a clear model of what healthy love looks like, and pleasure has been tainted with the need for approval, or the hunger to please other people which sometimes is insatiable. Developing a hunger to please yourself is key to transforming your relationship to your body. It is important to be aware that getting too good at pleasing yourself can become self-soothing which can form an addiction to comfort. We all want to feel comfortable but when this comfort is masking an underlying pain that needs to be addressed, it can keep us from growth.
Pleasure is a healthy way to nourish yourself and can become a beautiful part of your daily routine. Making sure to enjoy the sensation of the shower on your skin, stopping to enjoy the sunset, smelling the rose as you pass by, even tickling your skin lightly as you sit and read a book. There are many ways to integrate more pleasure into your life and once you do, you will notice the world responding to you and reaffirming your right to feel good!