Reality Pleasure Principle

Transformations-Reality-Pleasure-Principle

{Reality Pleasure Principle}

Wikipedia says…
From a Freudian standpoint, one means of strengthening the reality principle within the ego would be to attain control over the id. Through maturity and a better sense of self, individuals can find the strength to gradually develop the reality principle and learn to defer pleasure by making more rational and controlled choices. In a traditional psychoanalytic model, this could take several years of restraint, and even so, many people will make the choice to achieve instant gratification over delayed gratification.

Pleasure Principle and Reality Principle is an understanding of the inner conflict that for all of us is an ongoing part of our development. When we yield control of our lives to the adult self, we stop the inner child from responding to triggers and circumstances that pull us to a quick fix. A quick hit of self-soothing.

If we do the work of self-development and self-control – and move toward a balanced life of healthy choices over the momentary pleasure, we get from short cuts – the end game is a life of personal rewards and health.

Think of the moment in a restaurant when we were faced with the choice created by the server when they say, “Will you have fries or a salad with that?” In that moment we are face to face with the reality that a salad is healthier than the fries. The pleasure desire wants the fries, the reality is for a healthy body we need the salad. I for one want the fries and my internal dialogue can convince me every time that its ok to compromise. Reality hits me when I get on the scale – it never lies.

I want to blame the scale, the menu, the weather, anything but the mirror. In our Transformations retreat we often say “I create my results in life.” Yes, I do. No one else can be held accountable for that number on the scale, just me.

The result is often shame, guilt, sometimes anger at myself. The old tapes will kick in and call myself down. “You will never loose weight.” “Your so undisciplined.” “You will be fat your whole life.” “Look at all your friends, they are in shape and you can’t keep up.” And on and on the voices rage. Never helpful always condemning.

Replace food with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling at the casino, bingo, porn, or any other means by which we take a short cut to “Feeling good.” The reality principle is slow, progress is delayed gratification, but when the pleasure arrives it is so much more rewarding than the quick hit of dopamine we get from all the above mentioned ideas.

Pleasure and reality meet in the humanity of our lives to regulate, stimulate and guide our choices.


The stories we share allow us to put voice to our thoughts and feelings. They help us describe the things we have seen and done, the moments that matter, the things that have shaped us, and the things that have defined us. Read some of the Transformations Stories here.


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