What is so guilty about (so-called) guilty pleasures?
Like most things in life it comes down to semantics. Because I’m stubborn, I’m going to challenge the commonly held view.
According to the Urban Dictionary a ‘guilty pleasure’ is “something that you shouldn’t like, but like anyway.” Surely I’m not the first to ask “but why on earth not?!” Life is hard, really hard. So why “shouldn’t” we like something that gives us a momentary reprieve from the rigours of life (as long as that something doesn’t compromise our values or hurt another person)? There is no harm in harmless (so to speak). In fact the harm would lie in denying ourselves harmless pleasures.
I have what I refer to as a strong ‘guilt reflex’. Thanks to my upbringing, I am extremely quick to acquire and plague myself with genuine guilt over everything and anything (regardless of whether I am at fault or not). I don’t need to feel more guilty for the rare occasion that I actually do something nice for myself…thank you very much. Instead we should embrace and be proud of the little simple things that make life better.
Time and time again I realise that for someone who is so serious and thoughtful that I can come across as someone entirely different – someone really silly and lighthearted. I appear to get caught in one extreme or the other. Because I spend most of my time being so serious, my mind and body gives way to total silly abandonment whenever the opportunity presents itself, particularly when I am spending time with other people. I often get too self-conscious about how others perceive me. People often comment that I surprise them and I do or say things that people never expect. To me, the fact that individuals are complex and ever changing is fascinating and something to be embraced. It should encourage us to get to know people better rather than make us self-conscious and hide away to enjoy things on our own.
I take pleasure in cheesy dance movies. Immediately after reading and contemplating articles on the extent to which World War I changed Australia (which I read just for fun), I watched ‘Step Up 2 The Streets’. It is not the first time I’ve watched it (nor will it be the last). I am not ashamed to admit that I watch them to appreciate the skill of the dancers and choreographers and to benefit from the therapeutic qualities of predictable plot lines.
At the end of the day these pleasures make me a better person. They encourage me to not take myself too seriously and to look at myself in a different way. Doing so provides so many opportunities for personal insight. Being self-aware is one of the greatest gifts of all. I’ve never been comfortable accepting compliments from people. Until one day, I heard that a compliment is like a gift. Instead of throwing it back in their face accept it and be thankful. Lets learn to accept the simple pleasures with open arms and say “thank you”.
What will you now call a ‘glorious’ instead of a ‘guilty pleasure’?