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Body Image Booster: Your Permission To Feel Pleasure

miami flowers, oct 2013

Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts your week on a positive note!

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!

I’ve always been afraid of feeling too much pleasure, joy or comfort.

For instance, I’ve believed that work must be arduous, even miserable, at times. It’s work, after all.

If it’s easy and enjoyable, then clearly you can’t do a good enough job. Clearly, in order to submit good work, you must feel the difficulty, the rigor, and barrel through it.

I’ve believed that I had to sacrifice self-care when deadlines were looming. That sleep, exercise, rest and yummy meals would have to wait.

I’ve believed that  working out also must feel like work. My body had to feel the pain and discomfort in order for me to call it exercise (or a good workout).

I’ve felt guilty for relaxing. I’ve reviewed my to-do list in my head — on repeat — as I tossed and turned in bed or lounged on the couch, trying to take it easy.

I’ve had the same beliefs surrounding food. I’ve believed that it was wrong to enjoy food, to savor each delicious bite, to look forward to a particular meal.

Today, I still struggle with remnants of these thoughts and feelings. And maybe, today, you struggle, too.

This is why I’m sharing this stunning and eye-opening piece on pleasure from coach and retreat leader Rachel Cole. She writes:

We don’t receive pleasure when we do ‘shoulds’, have ‘to do’s, or when we try to fit in, suck it up, suck it in.

Dry bread and low-fat cheese. Shoes so uncomfortable they make you want to cut your big toe off. The job that looks good on paper. Faking it in all the many ways we do. Denying our self what we truly hunger for.

This is where so many of us live and this is a pleasure desert.

What we need is to feel good. To feel delicious. To feed our our five senses.

I especially love that Rachel calls pleasure non-negotiable. Pleasure isn’t optional. It’s not an indulgence or luxury.

She writes, “Pleasure is quite simply a daily medicine needed for living well and being full…We must treat pleasure like we do drinking water — essential and something we don’t apologize for needing.”

For Rachel pure pleasure is everything from clean sheets to lounging in bed to wearing cashmere at home to food made with love.

She also features several powerful questions on pleasure for us to ponder.

What if you asked yourself each night before you go to sleep: “What will please me tomorrow?”

What if you started each day by asking yourself: “What would please me right now?” Or “How can what I wear today bring me pleasure?”, “How can what I eat today be a full-on pleasurable experience?”, and “Is the music I’m listening to releasing my endorphins?”

Ask yourself these questions today. Consider your own beliefs surrounding pleasure. What myths have you been telling yourself? What shoulds have you created?

Pleasure is not a bad word. It’s a beautiful, powerful and necessary part of our lives. Let’s embrace it.

What feeds your five senses? What is pleasurable for you? What would please you right now?

Body Image Booster: Your Permission To Feel Pleasure

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2014). Body Image Booster: Your Permission To Feel Pleasure. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 3 Mar 2014
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