The Pleasure Principle


Since this is the my SELF DECLARED year of UNITY, COMPLETENESS and my number for the year is 12, I’ve decided to dedicate each month this year to a guiding principle.  My Pastor kicked  the year off talking about JOY and our constant need for JOY.  He quoted C.S. Lewis by stating “Joy is the serious business of Heaven”.

These past two weeks of messages about JOY got me to thinking and then the title came to me.  The Pleasure Principle.  Pleasure is defined as a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment and is synonymous with JOY.   (Confession time:  When the title of this blog came to me, I was immediately transported back to 1986.  I laugh because I nearly got a memorable “whipping” because I thought that I WAS Janet Jackson and so I tied my t-shirt into a knot in the front and tried that daggone chair tipping stunt over and over…but I digress, as that is not the purpose of this blog.)

I will admit that I was robbed of my joy the last month of the year and possibly even longer if I’m honest with the myself.  This by no means was an intentional act.  I just looked around and realized that I was grumpy, irritable, and wasn’t smiling very much (well until I knew that my STAYcation was about to start).  As I tried to determine why this happened, all that I I can just say for sure, it is that this was a gradual process.

My Pastor stated in his recent sermon that “joy is bigger than your reality”.  I will admit my reality and surroundings didn’t equate joy.  We were approaching the Holiday season and for the first time, NO ONE would be home for Christmas.  So, I would be there with no Christmas tree, no Christmas lights, and no family around me to make it feel like the holidays.  It would be just me (and RockStarr, my pup).  It was during this time alone that I was reminded of a valuable lesson.  “Satan desires to rob you of your joy.”

There will be things that try and chip away at your joy, but your have to determine within yourself that in order to maintain your joy, you must do something to protect your joy.  You protect your joy by doing the following (this is by no means a comprehensive list)”

1. Admit that you need more joy in your life.

The lack of JOY in your life may be a little hard to recognize at first because the absence of JOY doesn’t mean you are at the house with the blinds closed and you are crying in the dark.  The absence of JOY has a slow leak and you don’t realize it’s gone until your “tire is flat” and your “JOY tank” is empty.  The only TRUE source to our JOY resides in Jesus.  PURE joy comes from the inside, it’s not anything that is external.  Sure external things add to the joy, but if there isn’t a seed of joy that already resides on the inside of you, then those external things will too become something that is fleeting.

2.  Actively seek JOY in your life.  

This means that your everyday interactions are going to have to change.   If you normally have a DAILY “venting” session with a co-worker about the “foolery” happening in the workplace, actively seek to change that pattern.  Reveling in the negative will get you NOWHERE.  If your best girlfriend or the dude(s) you hang out with on a regular basis project negativity or those relationships /interactions don’t produce joy in your life, reduce how much time you are spending with them or be an agent of change for that  environment.

3.  Find a JOY reminders and/or scripture and post it where you will see it FREQUENTLY.

I remember going through a particularly rough period in my life.  I was constantly having to remind myself who was in control of the situation.  So, to aid in providing myself with these reminders, I posted sticky notes EVERYWHERE.  There were on my mirror in the bathroom, in the kitchen, on the fridge, and even posted on my steering wheel and dashboard in my car.

This may be a little extreme for your INTENTIONAL joy situation, however, it does serve as a reminder of your pledge to live a joy filled life.

Here are some joy quotes and scriptures to help you get started.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

Thích Nhất Hạnh

“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.”

Mark Twain

“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“If we can just let go and trust that things will work out they way they’re supposed to, without trying to control the outcome, then we can begin to enjoy the moment more fully. The joy of the freedom it brings becomes more pleasurable than the experience itself.”

Goldie Hawn

Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 30:5 – For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Romans 14:17 – For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

4.  Give JOY away.

True joy is contagious.  For a real life example, think about when you are around others and someone in the group yawns, what instinctively happens?  Someone in the group actually yawns as well and you don’t even know why or better yet, you can’t even control it.  it just happens automatically.  Take that same principle and apply it to JOY.  When you are filled with joy, then others will know and something in the atmosphere changes when JOY is present.

So, I go back to the Pleasure Principle, which is actually a Freud psychology theory.  The basic premise of his theory is that we seek pleasure in order to avoid pain, however in this Pleasure Principle remix, we know that practice of JOY means that our pain (which is inevitable) will be a little easier to navigate because our pleasure (JOY) doesn’t come from something external and we don’t have to look to far for it because it resides on the inside of us.

I would love to hear how you are living your life in the “Pleasure (JOY) Principle.  Feel free to email me at and share your story.

Sidenote:  I have attached the Janet Jackson, “Pleasure Principle video for you to watch and understand that “chair stunt” I talked about in the blog.  (Chair stunt – around 2:19 of the video)

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