Posted: February 11, 2011 at 11:47 am

Oh, pleasure! You gotta love those little moments of pleasure that sneak up on you.

Like…Braedon only waking up once last night!!! He slept all the way until 3:15! That is huge for his age. 7 hours straight for him? 5 hours straight for mom? Pleasure!

baby b headshot

Or how about…a delicious bowl of oats to start your morning. The simple fact I don’t get sick of this mixture and it makes mornings easier is pleasure in itself.

strawberry oats

I can’t forget…my jeans fitting noticeably better than when they first did, like in the picture below. It very well could be the stretch factor of the pants but either way it feels good and gives me a bit of pleasure.

pre-preg jeans 1st fit

And of course there’s…Makenzie looking up at me with the biggest smile and saying the four most beautiful words – “I love you, Mommy”. Pure pleasure.

mommy and m

I must not leave out…getting fabulous blogging news and opportunities. Yea. That’s pleasurable.


All of those are fine and dandy. But you know what? Pleasure is temporary. Joy is what we are really after. There is a distinct difference in my opinion. Pleasure comes in moments…joy is an overall descriptor of our demeanor, our lives. If none of the above happened – if Braedon slept terribly all the time; if Makenzie pitched temper tantrums hourly; if this blog hadnot grown at all since it started– if none of that existed, I would still have joy.

I would have joy in being a mother and loving my children. I would have joy in the physical health I have, regardless of shrinking sizes. I would have joy in the chance to share my thoughts and connect with others through blogging, no matter where it leads. I would have joy in the blessing of having food available to nourish my body.

For awhile there I confused the two. Or at least I thought pleasure and joy were interchangeable. I would pursue actions that brought me temporary joy (aka pleasure) – binging on sugary treats, partying too much with friends. physical experiences with guys I didn’t care about, spending money, etc. I would feel any number of things in the act of pleasure: satisfied, desirable, powerful, exciting. Then, I would come crashing down with nowhere else to go than seeking temporary pleasure again. I didn’t have JOY in my life.

I certainly still like eating dessert, having a drink with friends, “connecting” with my husband, or buying a cute new outfit. Now, though, they are simply moments of pleasure that add to a life full of joy. No longer do I need to turn to pleasure for a short term high in an attempt to pretend to have what I lack. Pleasure = good. Joy = great! They are both worth experiencing, but NOT worth confusing. I don’t know what path brings joy into your own life, I just hope you know that is where your focus should lie.

Question of the Day – What’s something that brings you pleasure? How does it fit into overall joy? And do you think there’s a difference between the two?

**This post is part of February’s Self Discovery Word-By-Word series. Check it out if you would like to participate with your own post!


62 Comments to “pleasure”
  1. oh my goodness gracious. how did baby B grow up SO FAST? he looks so big there!!

    and I can totally relate to the relief of a good night’s sleep.. I’m starting to think my brand new puppy is just as much work as a baby! ;)

  2. Erica says:

    ahhhhhhhh! So happy to hear you got to sleep! Whoop whoop! And hooray for the jeans fitting a bit better. Could Makenzie be any cuter? She looks so much like you! Have a fantastic Friday. <3

  3. LOVE this post! I think it’s easy to confuse those two things too. What brings me pleasure? Candles :> I like having candles lit around the house…helps to create that cozy, homey feel :)

    Congrats on Braedon sleeping longer!

  4. Oh. And I can’t wait one day to hear those 4 little words too!

  5. M looks so big now when you post a pic of B first! They are both precious! I find pleasure and joy with my boys. I don’t know that I have really thought about the difference between the words before.

  6. a very interesting post. i’ve never really thought about there being a difference between joy and pleasure but i believe that there is. like there’s pleasure in getting a massage from my hubby after a long day but the real joy is in seeing how much he loves me everyday and how much i love him!

  7. I love that picture of baby b- he looks so cute!
    i definitely think they are different. for me pleasure is short lived, while overall joy is consistent happiness. if that makes any sense:)

  8. I love this post Tina! I never really thought about pleasure and joy being two different things, but you’re right!

  9. What an insightful post comparing pleasure and joy! I actually stopped what I was doing and really thought about what you meant and what role both pleasure and joy are playing in my life right now.

    I have to say reading this post is perfect timing – I’m feeling distant from a few friends who are seeking out only short term pleasures (like you said, there’s nothing wrong with it, but when the pleasures fall short for them, they seem to revert to being depressed and unhappy again) and then when the short term pleasures are there (late nights of drinking and eating, hookups with guys, etc) they appear that they couldn’t be happier. But I no longer find short term pleasure seeking only fulfilling and it seems to be coming head to head with them. So yes, I think there is definitely a difference between the two!

    While my pleasure seeking is still wonderful – a concert last night, a massage today, an hour reading blogs– joy for me I guess is much more concrete and long terms. Close meaningful relationships with my family and friends, time for myself, a healthy lifestyle, etc. :)

    • Tina says:

      I felt the same way in a couple of my friendships. I wanted to move past that temporary pleasure seeking and fulfill my life more wholly. Doesn’t mean that time in my life was wrong or that they are bad…I just realized it wasn’t completing me and giving me long term happiness. You have to do what is right for YOU!

  10. Lauren says:

    Running brings me pleasure, and being able to run with friends and the way it makes me feel gives me tons of joy. I never thought too much about them being distinct from each other.

  11. So glad you participated in the series this month, because this is GREAT! I think it’s very important to separate pleasure and joy, recognizing that while pleasure is fleeting, joy is more of an underlying, permanent happiness.

  12. Pleasure to me is temporary, joy lasts longer than that. Also, to me pleasure is a one time thing, but when it lasts it turns into joy — ok I’m starting to confuse myself a bit.

    Pleasure: getting a good sweat going during a run. Feeling that runner’s high!

    Joy: knowing each day that I am fueling/training my body and treating it well. Feeling good each day — alive, healthy and ready!

  13. One of my favorite Bible verses is the one from James: “…count it all joy when you fall into various temptations, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” I still remember a class I had that focused on this one little verse and you are so right that joy and pleasure are two different things! Great post!

  14. The older and wiser I get, the more I realize that it’s the small things that bring me the most pleasure. Rich hot chocolate on a chilly winter’s day; Christmas lights; sitting on the porch after dark in the summer; listening to the rain; eating fresh crusty bread and butter; hearing a favorite song I haven’t heard in awhile; the reaction to something my husband likes that I cooked or bought for him.

    I think overall joy depends on your inner peace and happiness. If you are at peace and content with yourself and your life, pleasurable things only enhance what is already wonderful. :)

  15. Elaine says:

    7 Hours??????? That is amazing! Baby Paul’s laugh gives me both pleasure and joy. I just love that little man!

  16. i actually never even thought about the difference.. those are some great points and something to really think about.
    glad you got some sleep :) beautiful children!

  17. You’re looking great, Tina! Yay for sleep, too!! :-)

  18. You look amazing :) And I’m so happy to hear about your little pleasures in life. It’s the simple pleasant moments and things that truly add up to the most worth. Sleep included!

  19. Getting sleep is amazing. I would describe the feeling as more than pleasure. It’s more like bliss.

  20. Awe… What a great post to start off the weekend :)

  21. Angela says:

    There are a lot of little things that bring me pleasure… sleep, a really good meal, a fun coffee date with a friend, a nice blog comment, teaching a really great spin class that participants enjoy. All of those things sort of build up to joy I think – they make me feel happy and hit various aspects of my life. Great post Tina! :) You’ve got one very good lookin’ family!

  22. Jess says:

    I love this concept – and am in total agreement with you. I’m always seeking ways to feel joyful, and those are long-term feelings and emotions, not the quick high of that first sip of coffee from Starbucks (though, that certainly does make me smile) but the joyful high from running outside for the first time in weeks this winter (which I HOPE will happen this weekend!) to spending some much needed “us time” with my husband, also this weekend. Sure those little rushes are fun and have their purpose, but it’s that deeper feeling of joy I focus on more these days.

  23. Yay for those small victories! Yep, the downside of pleasure is that there must be downs if there’s gonna be ups. But it looks like things are going well for you and you appreciate all the little things. Like right now I am pretty sick, but the upside is my boyfriend taking care of me and actually finding honey lemon tea to not be so bad…

  24. I love having an hour to snuggle with my hubby every night. I don’t have to have it to be joyful buy it certainly doesn’t hurt the joy factor either!

  25. Dorry says:

    I love your take on this – pleasure being temporary and JOY being more of a long-term gift that comes from God. I participate in this series, too – I need to get a pleasure post up next week. :)

  26. Mellissa says:

    I am trying to focus more on joy because I know that it will make me so much happier!

  27. Joy Tanksley says:

    Hey Tina! Thanks a bunch for participating in the series! This is a lovely post with lots for us all to consider. XOXO!

  28. Heather says:

    What an adorable pic of Baby B!! LOVE.
    Having a successful day of clean eating and working out brings me pleasure, but spending the last 2 hours of my day is what matters most. Eating a cupcake and not working out won’t change that at the end of the day…

  29. First off, you have the most adorable children! I think this is a great post. I guess I’ve never thought of pleasure and joy quite like this.

  30. Amber says:

    I love this post! You look amazing for baby B only being a month old. I believe I get joy out of running and feeling great while and afterward. I enjoy running so much I think about running while I sit at work. I get pleasure from training hard and completing a face no matter the pr I get.<3

  31. lindsay says:

    I never thought of it that way. I love how pleasure can bring joy, but joy is on another level of its own. Its a feeling of complete happiness, not of the moment. I find pleasure in taking care of my husband which in the end bring us both JOY in our marriage.

  32. huh, interesting question. Many things bring me pleasure from the perfect song on the radio, to a hot cup of coffee, to a “i’m think of you text” from someone special. I think all those little things together create Joy.

  33. Great read!! Thank you for sharing this. You are so right.. joy and pleasure are two different things. Pleasure is temporary in certain moments/experiences and joy is ever lasting. if one finds the balance. I never really thought about this until now…

    Your babies are so precious!!

  34. Melie says:

    This is interesting! I never actually considered this point before. Food for thought today! :-)

  35. Great post! I have found that there is such a difference between short term pleasure and genuine JOY– which stems from passino and desire. Definitely worth exploring as I’m constantly trying to figure out WHO I am deep within my core.

    Your son is beautiful!

  36. First of all, baby B is so precious! (M too!)

    Secondly… you’ve hit the nail on the head again my friend! I used to have all the pleasure in the world but no joy, and it really took its toll on me! My life is full of joy, even on the bad days, because I am surrounded by LOVE, in the form of my relationship with Alex, my friends, my blog, my school… so much love showers over me constantly and it’s a JOY to be a part of this life I’m living!

  37. You and Mackenzie sure make a beautiful pair!

  38. He is sleeping so well! That is FANTASTIC! My friends are starting with the horror stories of never having any time for sleep… eek!

    Have a great weekend, Tina!

  39. I love this post! Cooking gives me a temporary pleasure that contributes to my overall joy by keeping me and my husband healthy, well-fed, and enjoying delicious food together. Feeding my husband really does make me feel happy.

  40. Ela says:

    This is a beautiful post. Lovely pictures of your beautiful children (M’s hair is growing so long!) and wonderful thoughts. One of the health experts I’ve just been listening to on the Great Health Debate is all about pleasure being a ‘trap.’ I think that that’s a little too hardline: there should be room for pleasure in our lives. But I love the distinction that you make and agree that joy is more important. It’s the lasting things that matter, and the ability to make our own weather and be true to our own inner compass.

  41. ohhh what a great post Tina! The different btwn Happiness-Joy is something I’ve been wanting my friends to understand. :) I experience bits of pleasure when I have a workout high, or when I drink amazing coffee/tea, when I bake and bake till my heart’s content….I’m joyful b/c of God’s love, my bf and family and friends, and especially when I’m able to help someone and walk the rough path with them. I know this prob. sounds too serious! :P But that’s how I roll~!

  42. This is a great post! I find pleasure in talking to friends and family and eating. I think those pleasures derive from the joyfulness of love and health.

    I’ve noticed that a lot of young people (16-22/23/24/25) go through a phase during which they seek immediate gratification from drinking, smoking, having sex, etc. I never really connected with those interests, so it was sometimes a struggle to find common ground with even my best friends. Now, as we get older, many seem to have recognized, as you say, the difference between pleasure and joy, and now seek more meaningful experiences.

  43. I definitely think there’s a difference!! I actually wrote a similar post over the summer!

  44. Loved this! There definitely is a difference and you described it perfectly.

    Pleasure…definitely teaching my turbo kick class today! I love creating a fun environment and motivating others while exercising. It seriously makes me grin ear to ear! :)

  45. My babies always give me pleasure for sure!!! I feel pleasure that I am starting to get into running shape!

  46. I love thinking about things like this – reflecting on my experiences, my emotions, and making sense of them in a meaningful way. I agree that pleasure and joy are different, and that joy is more permanent and rewarding, while pleasure is temporary and short-lived. Pleasure is nice, but joy is wonderful. Great post, Tina!

  47. Stephanie says:

    I think pleasure can bring more joy but that you’re right..the two aren’t interchangeable! When I think of pleasure I think of self-indulgences (the good kinds) and when I think of joy I immediately think of my kids. My kids bring me pleasure at times and can be pleasureful but like you said…they are not always pleasing. Doesn’t take away the joy they bring to my life though!

  48. Jennifer Rahn says:

    Henry did the same thing last night! He slept from 8:30 – 4:15. I was SO, SO grateful.

    I love what you wrote about joy vs. pleasure. I’m in complete agreement. Life is so much more fulfilling now than it was when I was young and stupid. ;)

  49. omg I love your pictures your kids are beautful!! :)

    What gives me pleasure?!?! hmmm waking up all cozy in bed with my 7 pillows always gives me pleasure!

    Hot coffee
    watching the sun come up
    finishing a fabulous workout
    motivating others


  50. Stephany says:

    I love this post! You are so right about the difference between pleasure and joy. :) And your kids…ah! Baby B and Makenzie are just plain GORGEOUS!

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