mother and daughter eating apples during picnic

Finding the Pleasure Within Our Pain

I’ve been reading about masochism. I know this is a taboo subject, but I think there’s something here that we can integrate into our everyday life to be more whole and more human. We we see such a word, we completely disregard such a topic. I think in this case, it’s typically referred in a nature that is geared toward practicing adults.

There is such a thing as benign masochism that could be beneficial to living a more whole life. Benign masochism is the idea of seeking pleasure from experiences we believe to be aversive and frightening. The perfect example is going to a dark, loud theater to watch a scary movie. We know we are going to be frightened, but we do it anyway because we derive pleasure from that fear. We jump out of our seat to later laugh because of our experience of being scared. Our first inclination is to resist experiences that are scary. I think Darwin (or someone like him) would say we fight or take flight. Meaning we either fight what’s in our head, or we try to escape from it. What if we can derive pleasure from our suffering as we do when we are at the movie theater?

No Need to Sky Dive

This is not an article asking you to be risk takers. You don’t have to be daredevils and jump out of planes, or run with bulls. Lord knows I wouldn’t. This really isn’t about conquering your fear. It’s about regulating emotions so that we don’t feel anger and sadness when we experience suffering. However, just like thrill seeking, I believe benign masochism can help us greet the day with excitement rather than looking like Squidward because we have to do something we don’t like doing.

You can’t get hurt if your expectation is that you’ll get hurt. I’m already certain that the response to that sentence was resistance, but we practice this notion throughout the day. Those who go to the gym know that pain is coming when they lift heavy objects, but that pain means nothing to them because it’s expected of the action. Pain seems to hurt when it comes as a surprise.

Our issues with life is believing dualism, thus splitting what is the same into two separate pieces. Most knowingly, we split things into good and bad. When it comes to pain, we said that pain is bad, but is that always the case? Again we watch scary movies for an enjoyable experience. We also listen to sad music to feel better. We believe rollercoasters are fun while we scream our lungs out. Mother’s go into labor knowing that there’s pain, but also know that there’s a gift awaiting at the end. If pain is not always bad which makes pain being bad objectively untrue, some good can be found in all pain, right? That’s just me thinking logically.