Pleasure Is An Inside Job

Why is it so few of us enjoy pleasure in our lives?

Perhaps it has something to do with what we think pleasure is and where it comes from. Many of us think pleasure is just the opposite of pain so we measure our level of pleasure by how much pain we are dealing with. It shows up in how we answer the question ‘How are you doing?’. Our answer often reflects this balance of pain and pleasure in our lives. When we do not think we have any control over what suffering or joy comes our way, we work hard to maintain a balance between how much pain or pleasure we get by what we do, or what others do around us. If we are not getting positive attention at home, we look to connect with other people to feel seen and heard. As a child, if the pain is high enough, we may run away from home. As an adult, we may have (and hide) an affair. If we feel overworked, we may start planning a vacation or even look to change our job.

Our western society has trained us to look outside of ourselves for our pleasure.

It may be in the form or a new car, a great job, a compliment, bigger breasts, touch or words of love from another, or from the smell of a beautiful flower. When we think that pleasure is generated from what is outside of us, we can lose ourselves in the seeking of pleasure from the outside. When the object/person/situation outside is no longer available, we feel disconnected from the source that we believe holds our pleasure. When the car is no longer new, the job becomes routine, our partner is away, or the breasts begin to sag, we lose the feeling of pleasure. Then, we begin the cycle of seeking pleasure outside of ourselves again. For years, I thought that emotional and sexual pleasure came from my partner. If he was not doing/being in a way that felt good to me, I felt deprived of the pleasure that I desired.

This is how many of us have created addictions in our lives. When we are unable to access the moment to moment pleasure already occurring in our natural response to life, it may show up in our overuse of food, gambling, work, sex, busyness, or drug use. This addictive behavior can be a strong indication of our disconnection to our own internal pleasure.

What if pleasure is an inside job? Noticing what feels good and what doesn’t, then shifting our resources and attention from that which brings us pain over to that which brings us pleasure.

If we don’t know what brings us pleasure, we take the time and space to discover what that is. What feels good to us in each moment? In the body? In what we are tasting, smelling, feeling, hearing, and touching? By turning our attention back inside of ourselves, we can connect to our natural pleasure response which is generated from within us as we interact with the world around us.

You ARE your own pleasure when you allow yourself to feel your natural response inside and then move towards what feels best to you. Which choice has you feel relaxed and expansive? Wool or silk? Tea or Coffee? Lavender or Pine? Sleep or stay up? Metal or Jazz? Flip flops or barefoot? Lights on or off? Married or divorced? Big or small decisions, It’s up to you and you have nothing to justify and no one else to ‘please’ in your choices.

What pleasure will you allow yourself to claim today?


Wendy Watson-Hallowell | The Belief Coach
Wendy Watson-Hallowell | The Belief Coach
WENDY is passionate about enabling individuals, organizations and communities to value themselves and each other in the ongoing process of change. Wendy has guided hundreds of individuals and over 750+ public and private sector organizations to achieve tangible increases in impact and performance. Her successful practice in mentoring and coaching has led to authorship of the book, ‘Live a Life You Love and Make a Living Doing It’. Over the last 30 years, Wendy’s skills have been honed in leadership roles at MTV Networks, The Rensselaerville Institute, and a variety of community based projects in her town. In 2015 she launched BeliefWorks and offers Belief Coaching as a way to address the root cause of what limits the results we can achieve both personally and professionally. This is an 'upstream' solution to change. Instead of changing limiting behavior, she focuses on changing the limiting beliefs that drive that behavior. In all cases, her clients and partners speak to the specific increases in achievement that her consulting, coaching and partnership roles make possible.

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  1. What a great and insightful post, Wendy! Connecting with that part of us that witnesses all of life has brought continued profound peace, grace, and an unshakeable joy on the inside-that expansive state of awareness that has been with us for a lifetime. The ability to flow through life, allow the impressions of experiences to flow through our beings and our hearts can keep us in an internally grounded place of bliss in being alive.

    After years of living with PTSD, I have found that expanding this witness part of me, which some call the True Self or the Essential Self, continues to reap many benefits as I know in the experience of living that all of it is an inside job. (including processing through past traumas, shedding limiting beliefs, grieving, taking personal responsibility for one’s words and deeds including mistakes/miscues, and taking time to cultivate silence and stillness).

    I love this topic so very much. What an important one for many people in our world today. Addiction is a huge challenge for many individuals-interrupting this cycle as you’ve described it takes quite a commitment, a willingness to surrender to the impermanence of life, to come home to the soul of one’s being.

  2. This is such a great post, Wendy! Chasing happiness from external sources is like chasing the mechanical rabbit at the racetrack. You might catch the money, job, car, fill in the blank with whatever you think will be that thing that makes you happy, but the chase is just a diversion from some void INSIDE us, not there.
    Diversions aren’t necessarily wrong, but in and of themselves they’re just empty. Often they are just distractions from some unfulfilled place inside us. The only thing these distractions guarantee is that they won’t deliver long-term happiness. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Hi Melissa – you nailed it. We think that once we HAVE the outside stuff, we will BE filled/happy/pleasured. It’s hard to remember that it’s BE, DO, HAVE, not DO, HAVE, BE! Thanks so much for your comment.