Ep #95: What Prevents Joy
“Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.”
― Eckhart Tolle
A lot of us have been sold the idea that joy should be as easy as pleasure and that it should be something we can get a quick “hit” of. Unfortunately, this can’t be farther from the truth.
Joy is not external and can only come from within us. It is a constant practice that comes from a relationship with ourselves and our minds.
On this episode, we explore the true sources of joy and why seeking pleasure outside of ourselves often happens to be at the expense of joy.
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What You will discover
- The difference between pleasure and joy.
- How pleasure prevents pleasure.
- Where feelings of joy come from.
- The most powerful question you can ask yourself to help you find joy.
- And much more!
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Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it's all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching. Now, your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hi, my friends. How are you? I always say, "Hi, my friends," I say it to my dogs when I come home. I say, "Hi, my friends." I say it to my son, "Hi, my friend." He always says, "I didn't know we were friends." He's 15 years old, he's a teenager. I said, "Oh no, we're best friends. We're best of friends." He totally disagrees with that presumption but I'm holding steady to it.
Today, should be, if you're getting this on time, New Year's Eve. I'm sure you're thinking about your wonderful plans for the evening. Hopefully they don't involve too much drinking. For those of you who want an update from me, I am currently doing a program called Stop Overeating Masterclass. It is, I think the highest quality program I've ever produced and I think I have the most high quality people in a program that is virtual. The people that come to my in-person are ridiculous, like unbelievable, high quality, amazing people in the world, but this virtual program that I'm doing with Stop Overeating Masterclass has attracted an equal caliber, which I'm super excited about, I've really enjoyed working with everyone in this program.
One of the things that has really changed the experience for me is I've really involved myself in my experience with liking to drink wine, even though it's something that doesn't serve me ultimately because I end up not feeling very well when I drink it but still having this attachment to it and also with my students who are trying to stop overeating but have an attachment to overeating and so we've all been working through the tools that I've created and offered together and so it's been just an incredibly magical experience.
One of the students in the course likes wine like I wine but the drinking of the wine is interfering with her weight loss and so we've been talking about the holidays coming up and maybe what we call our exceptions and making exceptions for our regular way of eating to include more sweets and alcohol and that sort of thing. One of the things that I've really noticed for me is there's something that we call food chatter and I know that many of you guys can relate to this where it happens where it's like, "Should I eat it? Should I not eat it? How many calories does it have? Is it going to help me lose weight? Is it not going to help me lose weight? Who cares? One isn't going to matter, it's not really going to matter. Oh my gosh, it's the holidays, of course I'm going to enjoy this, right?" All that chatter.
I think naturally thin people don't have this chatter. They just either eat something or they don't. We do not. We have lots of mind chatter, lots of food chatter around food. I did and some of you that listen to the podcast know this, I went 100 days without alcohol and when you're not drinking and it's not an option and you've made a commitment, there's no alcohol chatter. There's none because you're not drinking, it's 100 days, the only chatter may be, "When's 100 days over?" But there's no, "Should I drink? Should I not drink? Should I have one cocktail? Should I have two? Should I have a half a glass? Maybe just a sip. Maybe I should have a little bit?" None of that because it's just off the table. It's not happening.
For example, I don't have any cigarette chatter, ever. I don't think, "Should I buy some cigarettes? Should I not buy some cigarettes? Should I have a puff of that smoke? Should I not?" Never do I ever even think about cigarettes for myself for any reason. My brain is free of that expenditure. For so many of us with food, a significant portion of our day is spent thinking about food. Now this is true for even for people that don't have overeating issues, right? Just thinking about what we're going to eat and when we're going to eat it. It takes up a lot of energy in terms of, "Am I going to go out to lunch? What am I going to eat? What's for dinner?" That's already taking up a lot of energy and then when you overeat, it takes up even more, right? Because you're constantly thinking about, "Should I eat that? Should I not eat that? What should I eat? Is that going to help me lose weight? Is it not?" That doesn't even include all the chatter we have around our body.
All of that to say that I've been working with my students, it's really fun, we all meet on video so it's like our girl hangout. We all can see each other and chat and it's so awesome. What's really fun about it is watching everybody lose weight so you see everyone once a week and everyone's ... You can't see their whole body usually but people's faces just keep changing because the more weight you lose obviously, you can see it in your face. That's super fun to watch. What we've been talking about this week is really the upcoming New Year's Eve and the desire to drink and also the desire not to drink for me and the desire to overeat and also the desire not to overeat.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I've been thinking about recently and I shared this with my group, recently I went out to dinner with my husband and we went to ... We were in Austin and we went to this beautiful steakhouse and for me there's a lot of ritual around wine and the beautiful bars that we go to and the beautiful glasses and that ritual of pouring and choosing the wine and pouring the wine and tasting the wine and drinking the wine, right? It's not just about having it. It's about the whole ritual around it. I had said I wasn't going to drink anything but I'm not on one of these where I'm not going to drink for 100 days. There's still a lot of chatter in my mind because it's an option. This is something really important to consider when it comes to something that you're trying to quit in your life, if there's an option of having it, you're going to have so much more chatter than if you just say, "I'm not going to have it. I'm not going to drink at all," right? Or, "I'm only going to have one glass of wine and that's it."
I was sitting in this restaurant with my husband and just listening to the chatter in my brain and the justification and the excuses and everything and the little temper tantrum that I was having. It turns out ... I went through the whole dinner, just beautiful. I actually utilized some of my own tools that I had created for my class in order to prevent overeating, prevent overdrinking and it worked beautifully. I left that dinner just fully satisfied and fully proud of myself and better than that, I slept beautifully through the night and the next morning, I woke up and I was like, "Yes. I feel amazing." Right?
One of the things that I came up with was ... I've talked about this a lot on the podcast, is this idea of decisions ahead of time, making decisions for that future self. If you guys are thinking about this, if you're making a decision for yourself in the future, you have to negotiate with how you're going to feel. Now if you wait until that moment to make that decision, you're of course going to overeat, you're of course going to overdrink, you're in the situation, you haven't decided ahead of time, you're surrounded by all the stimulus and your willpower has probably been depleted throughout the day. When someone offers you a glass of wine if you haven't thought it through ahead of time, you're probably going to say yes. If someone offers you a cookie or some freshly baked brownies, you're for sure going to say yes if you haven't thought it through ahead of time.
I've spent a lot of time recently negotiating with my future self and having conversations and developing a relationship with myself in a whole new way by talking about how are we going to feel when we're in this situation and there's wine to be had and sometimes I say, "No, we're not going to drink," and other times I say, "We'll have one glass or two glasses, whatever." A lot of the times when I decide that I'm going to drink, we have a tool that I'm using in the Stop Overeating Masterclass called the exception tool and it's a form you fill out and it's so amazing. What you do is you basically decide what you're going to do ahead of time and you anticipate the consequences of doing it.
For example, for me, drinking wine ahead of time will for sure require me to be up in the middle of the night and not feel great the next day. I know what I'm signing up for. It's similar with me and french fries, right? If I decide that I'm going to eat french fries, I know that I'm not going to feel good afterwards. I'll probably gain a little bit of weight and I'll just feel off probably for a few days. That's just how my body responds. Sometimes I decide that I'm going to do it anyway.
I've been doing this for the past couple months, making these exceptions or deciding that I'm not going to make an exception and I'm not going to drink or I'm not going to overeat or whatever it is or have a joy eat. Just recently as I'm thinking about New Year's Eve, right, which is when some of you may be listening to this, I was thinking about, "Of course I'm going to want to have a drink on New Year's Eve, right?" I'm having this conversation with my future self that will be there on New Year's Eve and will be ... I'm obviously recording this before New Year's Eve and I have a little conversation with her, right? She says to me, "Brooke," this is Brooke talking to Brooke, right? "We're going to want to have a drink. Let's plan on having one or two, we'll have some wine at dinner, it'll be beautiful and then you can have a toast."
It seems like a no-brainer, but here's what I have been adding into the mix that has changed everything is I'm also having a conversation with what I've been calling my future future self. Not just the person on New Year's Eve that is thinking about having a drink but also the person that I will be when I wake up the next morning and the person that I will be when I sleep through the night or not. Instead of just consulting my future self that's in that moment, I'm consulting my future future self. Now there's three of us, which is cool because the decisions that I make ahead of time, it's easy for me to say, "No drinking," right? Because I'm not in that situation yet. Sometimes I lose that discussion with my future self but when I bring that third part of me, it's like my third sister into it. It's almost like it's two against one. It's like, I want to create this life where I don't have a lot of chatter and my future future self wants to feel healthy and sleep through the night and not have to deal with any effect of what drinking a glass of wine will do to me and so now it's two against one and it's changed everything in the way that I talk about and think about my decisions ahead of time.
I've offered this up to my group so I wanted to offer it up to you as well. When you are thinking about how you want to live your life and maybe it's with food and you're thinking about how you want to eat in terms of the food you want to eat at a party or how much you want to drink at a party or maybe for some of you, it's smoking or working or whatever, and you're creating these decisions ahead of time of how you want to handle stuff, you want to consider yourself in that moment because that's important for you to be realistic about what you're going to want to do in that moment and provide some limits and make some decisions but also make sure you bring into that discussion, into that decision ahead of time, that future future self, the person that will then need to feel the effects of the sugar or the food that you're feeding yourself, not just considering the person that gets to enjoy eating it. That could change everything.
That was a total detour from how I was going to start because this Episode 95 is what prevents joy but it's exactly in line with the difference between pleasure and joy. One of the things that I have really discovered lately is that our desires and our needs for pleasure can sometimes, not all the times, prevent us from experiencing joy. The way that ... Eckhart Tolle, you know I love me some Eckhart Tolle, the way that he describes the difference between pleasure and joy is that pleasure is always something outside of you providing you with pleasure whereas joy comes from inside. If you think about the pleasure of touch or the pleasure of ... Maybe a beautiful sunset or the pleasure of eating food or the pleasure of a massage or a pedicure or the smell of something, the taste of something that provides us with pleasure.
Pleasure is a beautiful thing and for those of you who know Tanya Lee, she's my luxurious friend and she teaches a lot about pleasure and how important it is and I've talked about it on the podcast about getting pleasure from the clothes that you wear and how you dress and the food that you eat and the places that you go and how you keep your house and candles and scents and manicures and pedicures and all those things in how pleasure is important. I think when you evaluate pleasure and you look at it against or next to joy, you learn so much about yourself and what's important to you. I want you guys to consider in your life the areas where maybe pleasure is preventing joy.
Now I think because pleasure is a positive thing that we don't necessarily think of it as something that could prevent joy, but too much pleasure, seeking too much pleasure outside of yourself can be at the expense of joy. I want to encourage you to consider joy first, pleasure second. If you're not in a joyous place, there is no amount of pleasure that will get you there. I think so many of us try to compensate for our lack of joy with pleasure. Let me tell you something and this is really important, there is never enough pleasure to compensate for a lack of joy. You cannot get enough of what you don't want. Too much pleasure is the opposite of joy. Too many Twinkies, too much wine, too many drugs, too many massages, too much cleaning, too much working. All of the things that provide pleasure from the outside, too much of those things can actually provide the opposite and in our effort to be more joyous, we create the exact opposite effect when we try to create it with pleasure.
A lot of times I'll read these books about ... I've read probably every book there is on compulsive overeating and they talk about not trying to get pleasure from food but trying to get it from another place, trying to get pleasure from ... It's always taking a bath or a walk that you're supposed to get pleasure from. What I want to suggest is that you consider that maybe it's not more pleasure that you need. Maybe it's not more good tasting food. Maybe it's not more beautiful clothes. Maybe it's not more rest. Maybe it's not a comfy blanket or a cuddly puppy that's going to provide you with pleasure. Maybe what you're missing is joy, is the true joy that comes from within you.
Now a lot of people will say that they know how to create pleasure because pleasure is what we are sold. Pleasure is what we are taught, how to purchase pleasure. Pleasure can be sold in a box basically. I can sell you a candle, I can sell you a trip, I can sell you a food, I can sell you ... All of the external things, a brand new car, clothes, that's going to provide you with pleasure because it's going to be something that comes from outside of yourself that will create those good feelings.
It's very hard to sell joy because it's not for sale. I can't make any money off your joy, off of you creating joy from within you. I can't sell you a Twinkie and have you get so accustomed to getting that pleasure, that joy from the Twinkie that I can make money off of you. By the way, a lot of people get pleasure from smoking cigarettes. What I was talking about before and that sensational pleasure inside drugs, that's why all these addictions are the attempt to compensate for a lack of joy with excess pleasure.
In my next podcast, I'm going to talk about what feels good and how to create that joy in your life because really, what we all want is to feel good. If you think about the difference between feeling good from pleasure and feeling good from joy, you'll notice a couple of things. First, pleasure is always temporary and it's always dependent. It comes from something outside of ourselves and it's dependent on that thing being provided to us or for us to go get it. It's not something that just permeates from within us, it's something that is dependent on us getting it from outside of us.
The second thing is, when you think about joy, joy comes from within you. Now that doesn't mean that it's effortless, that doesn't mean that you don't have to work at it. I think a lot of us have been sold this idea that joy should be as easy as pleasure. Joy should be something that we can get a quick hit of. It's not because joy is a constant practice to create and to create the source of joy, which as Eckhart would say can only come from within us, what exactly does that mean? How does joy come from within us? Our relationship with ourselves and our minds. If you think about our feeling of joy comes from what is going on in our mind, what we are believing about the world, about ourselves, about what's true. That is going to create our feelings of joy. If we believe that the world is beautiful and wonderful, if we think about how much we love our children, if we think about all of the good that's happening in the world, if we think about all of the kindhearted people and all the good deeds that are going on, we're going to feel joy. If we think about the opposite of that, we're going to feel the opposite of joy.
The problem is, most of us have a very negative opinion about ourselves. We haven't been taught to believe beautiful things that create joy. We haven't been taught to focus our brain on the things in the world that will have us thinking thoughts that create joy. We're usually focusing on how busy we are, how little we have to do, and where can we get some more pleasure. When we shift our mind and we start really thinking about what is it that creates a feeling of joy within me.
When I think about what do I feel joyous and for me, it's this. When I think about my husband, I was thinking about him today. This may sound crazy but ... It is crazy because I was laughing at myself. I said to myself, "I'm so glad that my husband's not dead. I'm so glad he didn't pass away. I would be so devastated if my husband passed away." It doesn't mean that he won't tomorrow but he's not dead today, he's here and I look at him and I just think he's so gorgeous and he's so sweet and he has the best heart and he's the best person I know and he's always helping the kids out and helping me out and thinking ahead and trying to take care of everything for our family. Just very generous and always saying wonderful things about everybody he knows and never saying negative things about anybody ever. It's unbelievable. I'm just so glad that he's alive and on the planet and in my house and I'm so lucky that he loves me.
When I think that, I genuinely feel joy. When I think about my son, Christian, and how much he's grown and how smart he is and how dedicated he is to golf and how sweet he is to the puppies and how smart he is and how hard he works in school and how talking to people just comes so naturally to him, I feel so much joy. When I focus on Connor and how funny he is and how dedicated he is to video games and how sweet he is with the girls in his class that have crushes on him and the things that he talks about and the things that he worries about, I feel so much joy. I feel so blessed that my kids are helpful.
When I say I feel blessed, I feel joy about it. I feel good about it. I know it sounds trite I guess to ... I don't know, just be in the space of like, "Oh, everything's great." When you focus on what is great, I do feel joy. I feel so much joy when I think about my employees and my business and what I've created and the clients I get to work with, when I think about my plans for the future and how I'm overcoming all of these challenges inside of me. I feel so much joy and when you sprinkle a little pleasure on top of that like a condiment, it's fantastic. When I go and get a pedicure, when I go and get a massage, when I have a dessert, when I have a cookie or something like that, it's just a little bit of pleasure, it's not something that I'm trying to squeeze joy out of and always being disappointed.
For those of you who are seeking a little bit too much pleasure in your life, I have one of my ... It's so funny, I have one of my students that's in my Stop Overeating Masterclass and I know she wouldn't mind if I share this. I always use examples of like, "Do you feel this way about cigarettes? Do you feel this way about marijuana? Do you feel this way about cocaine?" Every time I bring up an example, she says, "Yes, I do. Yes, I do. Yes, I do." Finally we got to heroin, she's like, "Now that's one I don't like. I can relate to you when you use heroin." That's pleasure seeking to the point of harming yourself. Think about that. Think about things in your life that give you pleasure and if you're using them in a way that ends up giving you the effect, a negative effect, you have to ask yourself, "Why am I using this in my life? Why? If overeating is making me overweight, why am I doing it? Is there something missing that I'm trying to compensate with and what would make it so I wouldn't want to do it?"
I think that's the most powerful question you could ask. A lot of times, we want to not want something so the question is, "What do I want more and what is my path to getting that? What is more important to me than that little slice of pleasure and how do I go about getting busy getting that?" If you want to know what prevents joy, you might think it's despair, you might think it's anger, you might think it's depression and you would be right, but it's also too much pleasure. As we're rounding out and ending this holiday season, this is not an opportunity for you to then beat yourself up but notice, look back now on New Year's Eve and think about this as you move forward into this evening is, "What do you want more of? What is sustainable?" Joy never ever leaves you with a hangover or a negative consequence or a bloated tummy or feeling sick to your stomach. Pleasure often does. Really think about the difference between pleasure and joy in your life and how can you get more joy so you won't need as much pleasure seeking activities that have negative consequences.
I want to wish you all the most amazing end to 2015 and I cannot wait to see you on the flip side in January. Have a beautiful, wonderful evening. Happy New Year's, everybody! Take care. Bye bye.
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