Wow, once again it's been a while since I have written. I feel like it's my journal and I look back and think, how has it been so long. Anyways, I felt prompted to write again because of the topic of this post, which is pleasure versus gratification. Hint, hint...writing is gratifying for me, not a pleasure.
So let me begin with a short story. Last week I was listening to an audiobook (my brain still says book on tape) and it talked about the fact that happy people generally live their lives in activities which are gratifying. Gratification being defined as something that generates such a focus that time is often forgotten, future and past thoughts dissipate, and the focus is solely on the moment you are in. For me, writing, fishing, golfing, watching a game I'm really interested, quality conversation...especially with my wife, playing with my kids (most of the time), therapy, prayer, and...writing, are all activities I find gratifying. Said once more, while doing them I'm in the moment, immersed in the enjoyment of the situation, and after I'm finished there is a sense of calm, appreciation, and contentment.
The reason I feel so strongly to write this post, is because I think I am a pleasure seeker, and I think many other people are as well. Pleasure, in my world, is defined as something I do to alter my physical and/or emotional state. Pleasure draws power from the senses, whereas gratification is soul inspiring and heart magnifying. For example, after a long day, do I eat a massive bowl of ice cream out of pleasure or gratification? Very easily, I eat it out of pleasure. Interestingly enough, if you do an experiment, only the first few bites of dessert are usually enjoyable. The brain becomes desensitized quickly and the "pleasure hit" goes away. We are then left eating out of habit of finishing whatever is on our plate or bowl.
I think we are bombarded with pleasurable distractions on a minute-to-minute basis. Think about it, youtube videos, social media outlets, netflix (my guilty pleasure...can't stop watching The Office), sports, food, porn, movies, etc. Now hold on!!! I know what you are thinking, that some of these things are your gratifying activities. Totally. I get it. They are and can be in many cases. That's why I'm writing this, simply to bring to our awareness that what we do isn't so much important (although porn isn't good), but why we are doing it is very important.
So the challenge is obvious. First, recognize what differences you have between pleasure and gratification during the common daily activities you find yourself in. Second, do more things that create gratification than simply pleasure. You'll be amazed.
By the way, I worked on this post three times, and each time I found myself energized and happy, just by writing it. Pretty cool.