Pleasure and happiness are not the same thing

I went to a talk a few weeks back by a successful dating coach that left me unimpressed with the speaker. To be fair, I did learn a couple of things. I always do. That’s why I continue to go to talks and read books. One of the great things about living in London actually. Such a huge diversity of cultures all sharing their own perspectives; their own truth.

The thing that I wasn’t impressed with though was that the speaker loaded the talk with generalisations that were quite frankly, just not useful.

By that I mean he stated things as if they just are, with no exceptions. And people will often accept such statements and adopt them as their own ‘truth’ almost like a hypnotic suggestion. Especially when given by a person in perceived authority. We do of course need to make generalisations about many things or we would have to make the same decision again and again. Like deciding if a chair is safe or not because it’s a different colour to the last one you sat in. You just make the generalisation that ‘with the very infrequent exception’ all chairs are safe to sit on.

One of the things that the speaker referred to was the NLP eye accessing cues (google it if you’re curious; it can be pretty useful) and said that people who are looking down when they speak to you in a dating situation are talking bullshit and lying to you (his exact words).

I challenged and corrected him on it. I don’t usually, but that was so far off that I felt obliged to.

There are three points to take from this.

  • Dating or life for that matter is not an exact science.
  • Don’t believe everything you hear.
  • Test what you hear to see if it works for you.

Something else he said prompted me to think about another idea; the idea of happiness and how it relates to pleasure. He talked about pleasure being the reason for a relationship. And sure pleasure will be present in a loving relationship but if that’s your only focus then selfishness may start to creep in. And to say that anything is THE reason is to miss the mark. I think it’s more apt to say that happiness (an extension of pleasure) is an important part of being in a relationship, and in life. Certainly not the only reason, though.

Feelings about feelings:

Pleasure is a primary state of feeling. Happiness is a secondary state of what that pleasure means to you!

So for example, if you have a one night stand that leads nowhere else; it’s fair to say that it was ‘hopefully’ a pleasurable experience. But whether it made you happy or not depends on the meaning you put on the experience.

Contrast that, with the same act, experienced with someone you love. Now the meaning is quite different. Or at least, it should be. In NLP, we call a feeling about a feeling a meta state. And as I mentioned in the article Visualisation & Law Of Attraction this is how people can immunise themselves to life’s curve balls and have a profoundly different experience despite the situation being negative to most people.

Healthy anger lasts a dozen or so seconds and is a call to actionSo for example, you can be angry at your anger or accepting of your anger. And how long you stay angry, the amount of control you have while being angry, and where the anger is directed are all profoundly different. Think about it; why would you be angry at your anger? Maybe because you feel out of control, or that it happens too much and are therefore disappointed in yourself? Maybe because you believe you are an angry person? And how would that feel? My guess is pretty rotten, and would likely stay in your mind for longer than it needs to.

Healthy anger lasts a dozen or so seconds and is a call to action. To either do something different or look at the situation with ‘new eyes’ (a different perspective).Or said another way; the message of anger calls for a change in approach or a change in attitude. So as with this example, when you are accepting of your anger you are not making it wrong; you are allowing yourself to get the message and move on.

Can this way of feeling about a feeling be cultivated? Yes, it can.

Practice and mental rehearsal (as described in ‘Visualisation & Law Of Attraction’) are one way to do that and I’m about to describe another.

Pleasure is not happiness:

Knowing this idea of ‘meta’ states and feelings about feelings, we can make the statement that pleasure is NOT the same thing as happiness. Someone could feel guilty about the pleasure they experience or impatient or obsessed about the pleasure. Feeling that way is unlikely to lead to any boost in overall happiness compared to someone who feels blessed or abundant about pleasure.

Now here’s the ultimate question here to do with happiness.

What if you turned the things that currently give you short term pleasure, into things that build on your ongoing experience of happiness?

Now it is true that some people have an ability to naturally let pleasurable experiences add to their happy lives. And that ability is again down to a meta state about pleasure in general, and about each pleasurable experience. Of course, there are other layers to this idea of happiness, like what you believe is true about you or the situation.

If there was only one key to happiness; there would be only one thing to write about eh, lol.

Turning pleasure into happiness:

So how do we do this? How do we make something that is a primary state like pleasure into a secondary state like happiness? For that matter, how do we ‘colour’ any primary type of feeling state so it is more powerful and affect us in positive ways.

One answer is to add a quality/another feeling to that state by adding it via previous experience.

So if you want to feel blessed about pleasure, you can get the feeling of being blessed back into your body/mind experience and apply it to times of pleasure. For the sake of labelling, you could call this blessed pleasure. By blessed in this instance I’m referring to that feeling of being lucky, appreciative, spoilt etc in a way that includes you deserving it. So in other words, and this is just my interpretation of blessed, I am referring to blessed as being another meta/secondary state or feeling about a feeling.

BTW; meta states don’t have to stop at one level or layer. They can and often do have more layers to them; like having exciting blessed pleasurable experiences for example. Or you may label it as something beyond pleasure like bliss. And you can add to pleasure or any feeling by applying as many other feelings about it, to it, as you like. You may know people like this who seem to bounce around in pure bliss at the smallest of things. In such cases sometimes people say about them that they are annoyingly happy (note the negative meta state there).

You can, of course, do this both ways around; for instance by adding pleasure to blessed or blessed to pleasure.

If you are busy at certain tasks at work; don’t really enjoy it, but would like to; then you could add pleasure to the feeling of busy. My guess, if you don’t enjoy a task, is that at the moment you have other less useful secondary feelings attached to it like frustration, impatience or blame even. Often adding more positive feelings to these existing ones is enough to change your experience to a positive one.

The mind is, after all, a pleasure seeking and pain avoiding system at its core.

Now that you have an idea how this works; let’s go through an example of creating more ways to be happy.

So here’s an example of using meta-stating or creating a feeling about a feeling. We’ll stick with happiness and pleasure as our focus and you can apply the idea to any feeling state you wish.

There are a few ways of achieving enhanced meta states or feelings about feelings, and one of the most useful to master is as I mentioned above by remembering a past example of a feeling, amplifying it, and then adding it to the base feeling (in this case) of pleasure. This is actually a very simple process and something you’ve been doing either consciously or unconsciously all your life.

So what qualities or feelings could you add to a pleasurable experience to make it a type of pleasure more in line with being happy? For instance, when I think of happiness, it not only contains pleasure but also a sense of deserving it (a type of self-value). It could be something different for you and will likely be more than one thing. Start with one for now. Happiness is probably one of the biggest focusses of our lives so we are diving straight into the deep end here. You can start with a simpler subject if you like. Remember also that you already have a state called happiness so we’re not building it from scratch, we’re adding another example to it to enrich it.

The increasing happiness through layering process:

Pick a feeling you’d like to add to “pleasure” and remember a time when you felt that feeling. Remember; you cannot even know a feeling unless you have an experience of it, so relax; you’ll get one.

In my example; remember a time when you felt a sense of pride and deserving. Don’t make it a big deal life changing example unless you find it easy to. It could be as simple as a time when you came inside to relax in a comfy chair with a cold drink after working hard in the garden. You would likely feel not only deserving of relaxing but other feelings as well like satisfaction and accomplishment.

Really associate in your mind with that time as if you are reliving it again and seeing what you saw, hearing what you heard and feeling what you felt. Imagine what it would be like to be back there again and feel the sense of deserving and self-value growing in you now as you remember it. Let it get stronger and replay pieces of it again and again as they increase your experience of the feeling growing stronger. Notice where you feel it in your body and how it feels and moves. Increase the speed and intensity of the sensations of feeling in your body. It’s easy if it feels tingling then imagine it more tingling. If it moves around in your chest then move it faster. It really is that simple.

With movement; try looping the feeling from where you first feel it in your body, up your body and then outside it and back into that first point again and spin it faster. It really works!

For instance from your stomach up and out the top of your head looped back down and back into your stomach and repeat getting faster and faster as it makes the feeling stronger.

Now as you continue to feel that feeling of deserving and self-value; apply it to the feeling of pleasure. It will help to consider these questions:

What would it be like to feel deserving of the pleasure you experience?

How does that feel?

What’s different about pleasure when you feel deserving of it?

What will you look like to others when you adopt this way of experiencing pleasure?

How will you behave?

Imagine times that you will feel pleasure in the future and notice as you add deserving to them how they change and evolve. Notice as you imagined different times that even if others are not in the same state as you that you are still fully experiencing the pleasurable experience because you know you deserve it!

Repeat the above imagining of future experiences as the feeling of deserved pleasure gets stronger and stronger.

As a type of check on the ecology of this change; ask yourself “Is it OK for me to feel deserving of pleasure?” Check if you have any thoughts come to mind about any possible negative consequences of this new way of being (any hesitations to being this way in the future). If there are any that come to mind now or in the future as you live your new feeling state, then make any minor adjustments you need to, to you imagined future. For example, if you get a sense that others may feel left out then make an adjustment to include encouraging the others around you to enjoy themselves as well. It’s not your job to insist they do, though; it’s always their choice!

Please read ‘Visualisation & the Law Of Attraction’ if you haven’t already for idea’s on how to imagine future experiences.

Experiment with feelings:

Above all have fun with this idea of building feeling about feelings. It’s not about getting it perfect; it’s about doing something different maybe for the first time and building on it.

What else can you do with this idea of adding feelings to feelings or meta-stating? That’s the type of question to ask yourself that will get you excited about possibilities in all areas of your life. You can, and in fact are, building whole new feelings by doing the above process. You can extend what even happiness feels like to you. Why just be happy for example when you could be happily evolving or happily sharing or happily succeeding even. You can be and do this by adding action (feelings that contain a desire to act) feelings for instance to the state of happiness.

One caveat, you don’t really want all your time feeling happy to involve action; you do want to be able to equally enjoy relaxed happiness. So the way to approach this idea of adding feelings to feelings to start with is to make the changes contextual (as described in the article ‘Visualisation & the Law Of Attraction’). To repeat briefly; when imagining future examples of the new feeling make all the examples only in the area/context that you want them to be valid in. Between that and having the intention to have it only in one area will be enough to make it so. You may, of course, choose to make the change a general one and not contextual at all; like with deserved pleasure which I’m sure you will agree is a pretty worthwhile goal.

Make some new feelings and build on your experience of happiness.

What if you began today to feel like you deserve to not only feel pleasure, but you deserve to be happy!?

That’s where you’re heading with this.




For more on accessing feelings and using them to enhance other area’s of your life read…Anchoring yourself to happiness