I was recently reading a book called Radically Free by Drs Kennedy and Warren. They refer to a principle in Dr. Seligman’s book Authentic Happiness. The principle was about the difference between “pleasure” and “gratification.” In summary, Pleasure is an immediate and momentary bodily delight (like chocolate) whereas Gratification is engaging, intellectual pursuits wherein we get long term enjoyment (like raising children and hobbies). Following pleasure leads us in circles, always looking for more pleasure. Following gratification leads us to enrichment and growth.

Now that being said, do we never engage in pleasure? Are they completely separate ideas? No to both. I believe that they overlap. I engage in many hobbies. As I am enjoying creating a project, crocheting or quilting, I am getting some immediate pleasure. It also gives me gratification in my finished work, pride of accomplishment, and intellectual stimulation. It becomes a part of who I am. All those pieces of gratification lead up to who you are, your values and standards.

Pleasures are immediate and short lived. Once the pleasurable feeling is satiated, it’s over. They lend nothing to your self worth or value as a person.  For example, I love popcorn. I could eat it everyday. It would not mean much to me nor lend anything to me, but poor diet. It would interfere with my gratification of a healthy diet and body. Though, I can enjoy some popcorn on occasion for pleasure.

Are there pleasures that interfere with your overall gratification?

How can you adjust the scale to have more gratification in your life?

Dr Martin Segliman’s website has some great information, including a Happiness Quiz. I will definitely be revisiting this topic again. I would rather strive toward something positive than just avoid something negative.

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