Guilty pleasures are something we all have. In fact, I am quite sure all of you had several things immediately pop into your minds upon reading the title of today’s musing. We all have books, movies, activities, foods, etc. that we call guilty pleasures, when we are willing to talk about them out loud to people at all. Smile!
My musing tonight started during a conversation with my good friend, Karen, a few days ago. Karen and I have known each other for over half of our lives at this point. We know more stories about each other than any other person in my life. As we shared stories and caught up about what is going on for us right now we started talking about movies and books. As I mentioned some of the book series I am reading and some of the tv series I’m a little obsessed with at the moment I used the phrase “guilty pleasure”. Immediately something felt off in speaking that phrase. I said it again to Karen rather quizzically. I voiced my bafflement at the phrase. She added how she thinks of reading fiction as being an escape, realizing as she said it that yes that is true and it’s okay to escape.
Then it struck me. Why do we call the things that bring us joy, contentment, and amusement guilty pleasures? What is it about taking time for ourselves by taking a bath, reading a fictional novel, eating chocolate, watching a silly sitcom, taking a nap, etc., etc., etc., that should make us feel guilty? Why can we not simply claim that we find these things pleasing without also somehow justifying it? Why do we feel a need to rush through these things to get back to doing something productive and worthwhile? Is our joy and loving ourselves not also very worth our time?
Karen and I had a lovely conversation around this talking about the value of self-care, the things that we find great enjoyment in, and what we most want to do with those moments that are just for us. We briefly delved into our own inner critic voices that tell us we shouldn’t do certain things or if we do we might not want to talk about it too much. It was wonderful to name some of our guilty pleasures truthfully as the some of the things in our lives that can bring us the most joy and peacefulness.
As I’ve continued to reflect upon our conversation I have settled into the conviction that saying yes to things that bring us pleasure and joy is a profound way of loving ourselves. It is the way that we say yes to us. Each time we allow ourselves to do something just because we want to, not because we have to, we are taking care of ourselves. This is how we begin to wrap ourselves in love.
So in the name of loving myself and claiming my pleasures as things that I will no longer feel guilty for enjoying here are some of my favorite things.
*Bubble baths while having a glass of wine and reading my current book – candles are an added bonus!
*Science fiction/fantasy novels especially if they include dragons or people who can talk with animals
*Nora Roberts novels
*Lots of milk chocolate
*Naps every single day if I can
*Walking barefoot at the farm
*Reading the same fiction series over and over again. I’ve read the following series at least a half dozen times (some more than that), loving them all just as much each time. Harry Potter, Clan of the Cave Bear, Twilight, Outlander, All of Anne Bishops’ series.
*Sitcoms – my current favorite is New Girl which I can watch episode after episode laughing hysterically through them all
*Movies with Channing Tatum or Patrick Swazye in them – love those sexy dancing men
*Outlander – the books and the series
*Double stuff oreo cookies, especially the centers
*Eating an entire carton of raspberries all by myself
*My first cup of coffee every morning
*Glitter, lots of glitter
*Watching the same you tube music videos over and over again
*Trail riding lessons just so I can ride Karoly bareback
*Staying in my pajamas all day long
I hereby declare that I will live my life taking pleasure in the things that bring me joy or peace. I will not feel guilty about these simple, lovely things any longer. I will give myself permission to take care of myself by allowing pleasure into my life as often as I can.
What brings you simple joy? Embrace it, love yourself, and know you are worth feeling pleasure guilty free!