5 Ways We Avoid Pleasure And 5 Ways To Stop

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I’ve asked myself the following questions:

Do you ever notice what you put up with in your life? And if you do, what is your next move? Do you just fall back into the same ol’ pattern, the rut, waiting for something to change outside of you?

I’ve done it, especially when I’ve been so attached to not losing something or someone. I just quiet the voice screaming at me in my head to move on, get out or do something about my situation. Even going so far as to believe no one else notices my misery or disconnect.

People can tell all is not well when we try to hide it; fear can keep us bound in chains, never really experiencing life at the visceral level. Instead we have small pleasantries, escapes, or ways of just not dealing, which also keep us from experiencing real pleasure.

Who avoids pleasure?

Most people who think they have to earn it, wait for it, be given it, settle for less, or believe it’s elusive, fall into the category of avoiders.

How about you, do you know how you avoid pleasure? Check out the following to see if this might just be you.

  1. Attachment- Not knowing why you need a person, place or thing that causes you pain while doling out tiny increments of pleasure can keep you in a bad relationship, job, friendship, car, living situation and so on. You wish with all of your being that you weren’t in the situation because you feel helpless to get out… so you miss out on real pleasure, joy and invest further in pain.
  2. Sacrifice and suffering- Another opportunity to cut off from pleasure is by seeking sacrifice for the good of others (who don’t usually appreciate it) and at a cost to yourself. Suffering goes hand in hand because you feel it is the only option–the way you learned that life is always a struggle.
  3. Distrust- It’s not just distrusting another person, its a basic distrust that life is good. You may feel unsafe or wondering what shoe will drop next and when you live that way, it’s all you see. You may even try to keep a step ahead by anticipating the next issue or loss. This keeps you in a constant cycle where there’s no positive change.
  4. Limitations and impossibilities- If you believe that all that’s possible for you in this life is right where you are, then you find little to no pleasure in life. You don’t believe it can be more or that you have the ability to make it happen. Your self-worth is low and what you may have wanted for yourself seems to have passed you by. Limited thinking means limited opportunities. Your perception keeps you in this prison with no key.
  5. Giving up on what you always wanted- Perhaps you wanted that relationship with someone who gets you, or you wanted that career, but didn’t believe you were good enough and so you gave up. You said ‘no’ to risk, to going for it and decided to settle for less rather than moving forth and believing you deserved to have what you deeply desired. Where’s the pleasure in living this way?

Any of those scenarios fit you?

If so, here’s a short list on ways to wake up out of your painful slumber and immediately be on the road to having some pleasure in your life.

  1. Learn about yourself- Develop your self-awareness so you can understand what keeps you attached, stuck and suffering. Dig deep. Learn where these patterns of attachment started and why you fear loss enough to keep pleasure at bay. Once you start understanding yourself better, you will have opened up a new path which leads to having more pleasure.
  2. Make different choices- Many decisions are made on auto-pilot; you may not realize why you make the decisions you do or how your old feelings influence a current situation. When you’re faced with a choice, ask if it is pain-producing decision or a pleasure-inducing one.
  3. Trust yourself- It’s never really about what’s outside of you that you need to trust. You need to learn to trust your own emotional resilience in the face of disappointment. It’s to understand that you choose how you perceive events outside of you and that you can handle when things don’t go your way. In the end, coming from trust within leads you to trusting what is outside of you too. And with that you open to more pleasure in your world.
  4. Get out of your own way- Watch how your mind limits you. It’s trying to protect you and not allow you to experience anything outside of your comfort zone. Getting uncomfortable with taking action that you would never normally do can lead to unlimited, expansive thoughts in your head. As you say ‘yes’ to life and living, being uncomfortable becomes the norm and pleasure is found in those moments when you realize you got out of the way and possibilities abound!
  5. Stop playing it safe- Risk it! You can always change your mind, but it really is about living from your heart. Where’s your passion? When you live this daily, pleasure courses through you and the contrast you experience when you look back at how you said yes to misery will assure you that you’re on the right path now with every risk you take. Even when things don’t go your way you’ll know it is temporary and automatically shift your focus to what turns you on rather than what weighs you down.

Want more on avoiding pleasure and inviting pain? Please check out my radio show.

40ish Reasons Why You’re Stuck and How To Get Unstuck!

The items listed here alone or together, do create havoc in our ability to move forward.

Learn all the deeper reasons why you MIGHT be stuck….

And of course….. how to get out!

1. You were raised with the rules, structures and models of others…you have no clue as to how to live by your own rules. How do you stop? Break those rules.

2. You’re afraid. Deal with it, as Suzanne Jeffers said, “Feel the fear and do it anyways.”

3. You enjoy growing old, bitter and miserable, because you keep saying NO, when deep inside, you mean YES or vice versa. Start saying what YOU actually feel.

4. You text when you should call. Call! Better yet, have a face to face conversation.

5. The absolute wrong things are important to you. You’re more worried about what someone else will say or do and you hold back–BECAUSE IT’S MORE IMPORTANT than what you want, or feel. It’s time to re-evaluate this one precious life you currently embody.

6. You’re a failure. Congrats! You’re part of the human race, get over it and keep on truckin’. Failure is subjective–learn–grow–keep moving.

7. You’re a loser. So what? And yesterday’s winner will be tomorrow’s loser and so on, read a history book, this isn’t permanent, so don’t treat it like it is!

8. You need validation from an asshole. Someone important in your early life didn’t give you the love you needed, and you’re still looking for a sign that you’re okay…from someone who doesn’t want to give it to you. Learn to validate yourself.

9. You’re afraid to be alone. Well, isn’t it fairly lonely being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t get you, like you or want to share a bed with you? Start now. Today. Begin liking your own company, get clear on why you think there’s no one else and deal with your worth…grow your confidence.

10. You think you have to be the hare. People carry the delusion that change needs to be abrupt, like a sword cutting everything down at once, so they’re afraid to make a move. Be the turtle (he’s still moving).

11.Treating life like a destination. It’s not. Ever.  Til we’re not alive anymore. Everything changes around us, why do we as humans think we’re any different? We’re not. Remind yourself it’s a journey and just because this sounded good yesterday, and it feels like crap today….doesn’t mean you should stay where you don’t want to be.

12. You’ve stunted your own growth. Funny thing with the fear of outgrowing those around us, it can keep us stunted for our entire lives. What is the quality of those relationships? Are you fulfilled? Happy? Do you feel trapped? It’s time to allow yourself to be honest, with yourself and others, about what you want and where you’d like to head (you can be the turtle).

13.  You can’t let go. It was so good at one time–at least the 1st 24 hours and you want to recapture it. Buy a dog or a cat, release one little finger at a time by going through the pain of attachment, it’s not about them…it’s about you…and you have the cure; it’s time to feel your real feelings.

14. You’re a martyr. Self-sacrifice is a debt that will never be fully repaid. No one else but you cares and those who you want to be impressed with your pinning yourself to a cross aren’t, they actually despise you for it…or even worse have indifference toward you. STOP. Re-evaluate the goal. Are you getting what you want by being self-less? Become selfish (ie. not self-absorbed–which martyrs are–except for those who actually did it for the greater good)

15. You’re a victim. You need to blame everything outside of you for being stuck. Take responsibility for yourself and your choices.

16. You make bad choices on purpose. See #15. You don’t believe you deserve better, so you make choices, which keep you stuck. It’s an excuse.  Become aware of every decision you make, does it induce pain or pleasure?

17. You love to complain. It’s a cycle. You grew up with it…it’s everywhere, you’re just doing what everyone else does. This is non-action, no sympathy here. Decide to change your position in the situation you complain about, understand WHY you’ve preferred being stuck. It’s a very old answer.

18. Being a doormat works for you. This is a benefit, otherwise no one would do it. Get to know the benefit and find why that benefit works for you (are you afraid of loss?)…..then replace it with actual self-fulfillment, by pleasing yourself.

19. You watch reality TV. Think I am kidding? What do we avoid by watching someone else’s drama? Demeaning others makes us feel good? Turn off the TV (at least the yelling, fighting and over the top drama) and join your life–by being PRESENT.

20. You don’t trust yourself. When you don’t trust you–you don’t trust others. Not trusting means #16. Not trusting means you believe you can’t handle disappointment. Develop emotional resilience; it’ll make you trust the only person you should: YOURSELF.

21. Perfect picture syndrome. The belief that has never, ever, ever been the REAL picture of your relationship, job or life is somehow going to be destroyed if you get unstuck from the hellfire you live in daily. Waiting for that picture to come thru is waiting for the 12th of never. Start seeing reality as it is, not as you want it to be and accept it….as it is.

22. Your patterns rule you. Self-awareness is nil. You’ve no idea why your stuck in the same dance. Wake up. Really wake up! Pay attention to what triggers you to keep repeating history, daily.

23. You are dishonest. You lie to yourself and to the people who you could set free with the truth, or dramatically change things with, because you’re afraid of what will happen, so nothing changes. Get honest–dig deep, get to know what is your truth and then state it…..out loud.

24. You’re a control freak. You’d rather keep misery as company, because you know it and so you show up the same way all the time, so the balance of power doesn’t tip. Until it does. LET GO. You’re stuck in a merry-go-round that goes nowhere. You’re control is an illusion and it scares the shit out of you to think of showing up how YOU really want to, because you can’t control what would happen.

25. Scarcity. There’s not enough. Bullshit. Get clear on why you think there’s so little and shift to a more abundant thinking, slowly (like the turtle), placing focus there rather than on a void.

26. You’ve been hurt, disappointed, screwed over and so on. People can be immobilized for years, out of fear of supposed bad things happening again. Life is an experience, why would you block an experience and keep living in the SAME daily soap opera in your mind of what possibly could happen?

27. Risk is a four letter word. So is FUCK, both are action words, when you add an ‘ing’….you have verbs. If your inner critic, judge and jury are keeping you inert, because of whatever happened in the past, you’re a prisoner of your own thoughts. Time to have a Q&A with all those people in your head, once you get some clear answers…its four letter word time!!!

28. You have no meaningful standards for your life. What do you want your life to FEEL like? What are you doing to achieve it? How do others treat you? If you have “I don’t know” as your answer to those questions….it’s time for you to make some boundaries. The only way to have a boundary is to live your boundaries–be them–don’t compromise, because when you’re treated poorly, you’re not living in a meaningful way.

29. Shame. Shame. Shame. It’s probably the most toxic of all feelings to our growth, love, happiness and pleasure in our lives. We shut up, shut down, run away and hide when we feel shame. It’s someone (real or not) telling us we’re worthless, stupid, bad, etc…and we believe it on some level. Stand up to shame, show it who you are (even the part of you that was made to feel shame) and accept that you’re imperfect, but still damn cuddly and lovable…and your opinion matters most…to yourself!

30. You absolutely refuse to accept yourself. You’re trying to live up to some expectation (real or imagined) that keeps you stuck right where you are. Be disappointing, throw everything up in the air and rearrange it where you want when it lands.  Accept all the cute little dark things in your closet, we all got em’ and relax a bit on who you think you should be…and be who you are.

31. Your dreams don’t come true. Yes they do, just believe in them and do things that align with those dreams. (instead of the opposite)

32. There’s no love. When you’re stuck, where’s the love? There might be a life jacket or something to hold onto, but REAL LOVE has to be watered regularly and it grows. Stuck doesn’t equal growth. Start deserving love today–do loving things for yourself NOW.

33. You’re waiting to be saved (rescued). Admit it, if it’s true and then save yourself.

34. You’re numb, distracted or convinced that you can cobble the pieces of your life together. Get un-numb, realize it is un-fun….and ask yourself the tougher questions…if today was your last day on earth is this how you’d want to live?

35. Emotional intimacy= vulnerability; no thank you! Being in a stalemate keeps others at a distance, you find excuses to not get closer or make any movement, because you could be destroyed in the process. Protection is also an illusion, so try stripping naked and being real, you’ll feel better, no matter what happens.

36. Committing to real happiness, love or a healthy relationship feels overwhelming. There you stay–stuck–moving forth–moving backwards, rinse, repeat. Like a yoyo, you never make progress, because every time you do–you run like your foot is on fire, no matter how great the opportunity! Relax. Really relax. Breathe….allow yourself to be in the moment, understand the urge to bolt is about yesterday, not today.

37. Refusing help. First you gotta wanna help yourself to get unstuck and second, you want to enlist someone who can help you see what you might be missing. Admit you want a life, then get a flashlight (preferably one being held where you can see what isn’t clear) and start to re-arrange/organize that closet.

38. You’re stuck in the past. See number 13. If you think your glory days are behind you–then you’re immobilized to create glorious days in the present. Get grounded here and start loving what is….then you will create more of it….and voila! Your glory days are now!

If you need some help getting unstuck, please feel free to give me a ring, 818.279.1735 or an email Tracy AT tracy crossley.com. I’d be happy to help you create the present and future you’ve always wanted.

This relationship just isn’t fun!

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This relationship just isn’t fun!

My adult daughter uttered that statement to me, as she was describing a text conversation with her ex-boyfriend. I thought about what she said, as much as she loved him and he still loved her, what he was doing at the moment was not fun.

She hit the magic word, “fun.”

Not to get in to the whole story, but he had been remiss in mentioning he was in a relationship when he reached out to her. He actually had reached out to her several times since their initial break up with words of love,  reminiscing about how amazing their relationship had been and missing her….and had actually seen her too.

My daughter was looking at the entire situation and his current relationship, which he had admitted he was settling for and exclaimed, it was not fun! Her whole perspective had changed. Sure, she remembered the great times, BUT to her, how he had changed was not appealing to her.

How many people are decisive in this way when it comes to their happiness? So many of us struggle to stay where it is not fun!

He was allowing his girlfriend to force him into sending messages to my daughter, because she clearly perceived her as a threat. Unfortunately, it’s a way to delude oneself into a sense of control. As most of us know, this is not fun, because she will be faced with the loss again at some point in the future. Remember folks, when we force our control on someone else, we are trying to hold onto something and not suffer a loss. And inevitably, we do lose, whether it is now or 20 years in the future.

Meanwhile, the awesome state of mind my daughter was holding is that she wanted nothing to do with the drama. Even with the barrage of text messages, which were meant to make her feel bad; she wasn’t taking it personally. Her only response at this point was one word, “okay.” No argument, just acknowledgement that his message was received.

I asked her if she felt like saying anything else. She said “no, I’ve stated things several times and he is going to do whatever he chooses to do,” she had let go. And she felt her ex wasn’t any fun anymore, that whatever fun there had been was gone.

Now, I am not placing judgment of right or wrong in this situation, just stating the obvious. What got me was the “fun.” How many of us get caught up in trying to win or have what we think we want, and there is no fun in it, only pain? Why do we want to hold onto someone when they clearly are not heart and soul in the relationship with us? Is this fun?

We can become so afraid of loss, that we act in ways, which constrict rather than expand. Love is expansive, attachment is to shrink. And a great indicator of where we are at between love and attachment is how much fun we’re having!

I receive emails everyday from people who are trying to let go of attachment to someone where there is not fun and pain is the overriding feeling, and they still hold on tightly. It is not that they are crazy or something is wrong with them, it is where they are placing a need for validation.

To also be clear, it is not that we need to have an expectation of fun as a  24/7 thing. In a healthy relationship, even when things are challenging, we can still be friends and have the goal of not allowing obstacles to destroy all the fun.

The need for validation, to fill an empty place in us or to be rescued can keep us in a relationship where fun is a rarity or completely missing, or it can keep us pining over someone we are no longer with…

And so, if we want to have fun in a relationship and on our own, we have to get clear in how we consistently support our own actions, which are not about fun.

Where do we control? Do we seek the answers inside or on the outside?

Do we want others to bend to our will, so we feel better?

These are questions to ask ourselves when our actions support our pain. Everyone deserves to have fun, in and out of a relationship…if you need help getting there, please let me know, info@tracycrossley.com

Accepting the Holes and Living Passionately!

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I used to believe I’d get to a day, where nothing would affect me anymore or life would smooth out, so “the ducks outside of me would be in a row.”

Sure, there are moments where everything in life feels like it’s in an anointed place, but those moments come and go! Life is not static, it changes. It’s our absolute refusal to get out of the way of the expression of life and allow things to just be as they are; we think we have to change it to feel better.

We don’t and I’ll tell you why.

Have you ever wished and hoped for something truly amazing to happen in your life?

We keep wondering when it’ll show up, change or happen…and then it does. As we FINALLY have our object of desire…there’s an anti-climax. Perhaps, some disappointment and a lack of fulfillment at having arrived at this destination too.

Whether it’s a relationship we’ve been wanting or a change of heart by someone we’re pining away for or a new job, client, house, vacation, etc….

Our object of desire, never stays “shiny” or “amazing”…..and perhaps, because we’ve longed for it over an extended period we might not want it anymore.

Yep, I’ve been there and sometimes it still comes up! Realizing my WANT for everything to be as I SAY, puts stress on my mind, body, emotions, etc… as I lie in a state of wait or I put an inexorable amount of energy toward having it my way.

It’s not an outside job.

We’ll only fill the holes inside of ourselves by starting there–INSIDE our bodies.

Nothing outside of us fills those empty holes for very long (infatuation anyone? Intense attachment? Etc). Nothing inside of us can permanently fill the holes 24/7 (although a higher level of contentment will always remain–there’ll always be growth)…it’s to live with the holes and live passionately. 

As I heard in a dream last night, “some of us play in the trees!!” 

We take emotional risks.

It’s accepting life and tossing expectations aside.

It doesn’t mean we have no standards for our life or the behavior of others, it means we don’t live and die by everything around us. We aren’t controlled to be in a “bad mood” over our perception of what someone else is doing or not doing.

Taking the energy from our sheer force of will and instead loving what we’re doing and being, even if we feel shitty, is called ACCEPTING and ALLOWING! And the moment we do, it dissipates into a deeper engagement of life.

Living passionately means to find what gives us joy, whether it is sitting in meditation–connecting to ourselves, or it’s dancing, laughing, crying, being creative, breaking bread with others, mountain climbing….having a business that is an extension of who we are at heart. Whatever the heck it is….live it passionately, take the leaps….the more leaps we take, the more those empty holes get filled up.

Our holes get filled by being a part of life rather than blocking the flow of it and thinking of HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE.

Over-thinking, blaming, complaining, hiding, holding on and so on are ways we block life.

When fear tells us this is the only way to be, we’ve allowed ourselves to slip into a VERY FAMILIAR pattern. We put ourselves there, no one else–everyone outside of us is playing a role. It’s akin to hiring others to act the part, so we find this shitty emotional state to live in…by giving them our power, and a script that says, “Act this way, so I can remind me of my lack or not having the value to get what I want,” we create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Think I’m kidding? Our subconscious beliefs are like a metal detector picking up stuff to keep us safe in our misery. It’s the long-held belief and our supplying it truth by everything we can’t have and placing us in a state of want…of thinking “if only” everything would come together then I would be happy, that makes us think our way is the only way!

Such utter bullshit.

Human beings can live in a limited manner, it’s our choice…so stop looking for the safety of the familiar way of ACTING in life and find the scary, the vulnerable, the misery, the undone and embrace it all passionately!!

And as you do, your holes will become smaller….and create anxiety far less often, because with LIVING PASSIONATELY we realize there’s really nothing in life we have to have (beyond our basic needs) to fill us up or make us happy.

Just by accepting our holes and risking where there’s fear is the key to feeling fulfilled!!