- I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Limiting Negative Pleasure
My dear friend Jacob Glass has been doing spiritual lectures for more than twenty years. He has been the most important positive influence in my life. Without Jacob I would not think, believe, or react the way I do now, which by the way is so much better than how I used to think, believe, and react.
Jacob lectures weekly in a San Diego, and once a month in Santa Barbara. He records his lectures and makes them available to the public. You can view his website at www.JacobGlass.com if you are interested in the work that he does.
As I was driving the other day and listening to one of his CD's, he was talking about Christine Northrop M.D., one of his favorite doctors. She has coined the phrase "negative pleasure". Negative pleasure refers to giving your attention towards things like reality television, shows like the Bachelor or Survivor, or entertainment news shows like TMZ or Access Hollywood, or reading things like People or US magazines.
All of these things are what we might call "negative pleasure". They are not really adding anything positive to our lives, but we enjoy looking into the lives of others, especially if they are doing things that are ugly, crass, juvenile, humiliating, stupid, or degrading. That is why Ms. Northrop has named it a negative pleasure.
We are gaining "pleasure" from a negative situation when we spend our time focusing on those types of media. Kind of strange when you think of it.....why do we get pleasure from watching or reading about peoples stories, particularly if they are negative? Would we be watching shows about people who were having a great time, doing wonderful selfless things for others, being respectful and kind? Somehow I don't think that show would make it, and I think it is because it would make people feel bad watching others that were having a good, positive, helpful, and honorable life.
They would feel bad because many people who watch these shows, struggle and do not have a life that is great. That is why these people like to see the negative stuff, because it helps them to feel better about what is happening in their own lives. When they see other people acting stupid, classless, and rude, then they don't feel so bad about who they are, and how their life is going. And then some viewers may just be at that level, and feel akin to the situation, scary!
It is not going to hurt any of us to partake in a small amount of this negative pleasure, but if it is becoming a huge part of where your attention is going, you might want to re-think what it is you are focusing on.
I know for myself that when I have watched TMZ for instance, I feel crummy afterward. I don't feel good watching people being made fun or or ridiculed. I am the type that likes to watch people doing good things, and showing some class. I love to see people that have made a positive change in the world, whether it is helping children, helping the poor, or working to help the environment. It is difficult for me to find anything on television to watch, because these "negative pleasure" shows have taken over the networks.
So if you indulge in "negative pleasure", make sure that it is moderately, if you are trying to better yourself. Raising yourself up and becoming a healthier person of body, mind, and soul, does not include laughing at, ridiculing, or enjoying the downfall of others. Remember that what we focus on, we create more of. Focus on the positive sides to life, so that you are creating more of that!