What do you think of the phrase “guilty pleasure” and do you have any?

What do you think of the phrase “guilty pleasure” and do you have any? –@JenShahade

Before I answer this let me share with you that Jen Shahade is one of my favorite chess players. A former US Women’s chess champion and author of two great books, “Chess Bitch” and “Play Like a Girl.” I’ve read both and benefited just as much from the second as the first.

Now: Guilty Pleasures.

Everything has consequences, good and bad. Everything you do. You can’t avoid it. Keep that in mind with this answer.

There’s three types of guilty pleasures:

1)     Those that hurt others. For instance, cheating on a wife. The consequence is that your pleasure is fleeting. Your sadness is painful (when you are back with your wife and miss the other person), and the consquences could be awful (the pain you cause everyone or even the pain caused by the withholding of love you are giving to your guilty partner).

2)    Those that hurt you. For instance, eating that huge chocolate cake at 4 in the morning when nobody else is up. The pleasure is delightful. The consequence is when the cake is gone, and when you go back to sleep and wake up later, feeling ill.

3)    Those that give you shame. For instance, a guilty pleasure for me is playing chess online. It doesn’t really hurt me. But I feel ashamed that I’m not being more productive.

My goal is to eliminate #1 completely from my life. #2 mostly (but be aware of the consequences) and with #3 it’s trickier. I want to turn guilty pleasures into real pleasures.

Where does the shame come from? Some sense of “I have to be perfect.”  Or “I must never procrastinate with games.”  Perfection only leads to shame because the only way to be creative, to be fun, to be flexible in life, to roll with life’s punches is to be imperfect.

My goal is imperfection. To thrive in it. To thrive in my guilty pleasures until they transform me into a life of contentment.

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