…examine your own beliefs about how much pleasure you deserve to have!
How much happiness do I deserve?
How much money do I deserve?
How much sexual satisfaction do I deserve?
How much success do I deserve?
The levels of happiness, money, pleasure, and success in our lives that we believe we deserve, are exactly the levels we have right now.
Anytime something happens in life where we experience more happiness, money, pleasure, or success than we believe we deserve, we sabotage ourselves.
Our upper limit is our subconscious belief about how much of anything good we believe we deserve. These beliefs take many different forms, and sometimes include the word “deserve” or are identified when they accompany words and phrases like:
– That’s irresponsible / selfish….
Everyone has different upper limit levels for different categories of pleasure. One person may feel that they deserve a lot of money, but not a lot of love. Or another believes they deserve a lot of ease, but not a lot of success. We all have a limit in each of these categories: fun, satisfaction, comfort, adventure, joy, creativity, support, play, money, emotional connection, sexuality, ease, etc.
How our limits are set in these categories can come from a variety of sources:
– Things people have said to us
– Cultural beliefs (current and historical)
– Family beliefs
– Religious / moral beliefs
– Our own stories
– Trauma / harm / abuse
– Feeling fundamentally flawed (which often leads to risk avoidance)
– Disloyalty and abandonment (particularly to family)
– Believing more success makes you a bigger burden
– The crime of outshining
This article goes into more detail about each of these reasons
My first big discovery with upper limits, came when I saw illness listed on the upper limit moves list. Illness??? My first thought was that getting sick was entirely out of my control and had zero relationship to anything happening in my life or my beliefs about it.
But then I remembered how I would get sick every time I went on vacation. Like clockwork. 3rd day in. I’d get a horrible cold. No one else on the trip would get sick. Just me. This happened so regularly, I remember thinking that maybe I just shouldn’t go on vacation because it kept getting ruined and wasted by these damn colds.
The idea of my cold as an upper limit move was fascinating. Was there an upper limit I had around how nice of a vacation I could have? After some digging, I found that indeed there was. There was a part of me that felt guilty for taking really nice, expensive, luxurious vacations — especially when so many in this world can’t, including some of my dear friends. This, and many of my upper limits, come from the category of “the crime of outshining.”
Seeing how I was unconsciously playing out this old story, by getting sick during my awesome vacation, was a huge eye opener. Now that I’m aware of it, I am able to remind myself that I deserve to have nice vacations, that I can feel and hold every ounce of pleasure available, and that my expansion of pleasure does not have to come at the cost of friendships, or anyone else’s enjoyment of pleasure in their lives.
Since becoming aware of this, I enjoy illness-free vacations!
More recently, I had another major upper limit meltdown. The “move” was a total shut down of my brain and body. I couldn’t think straight. I just wanted to crawl into bed and hide. I didn’t want to be touched. I didn’t want to talk. My only description was that I felt overwhelmed.
The evening was comprised of a collection of events, that individually wouldn’t have triggered my upper limit, but collectively were more than I believed I could handle. The events included being in the limelight, making a significant & public financial donation, widespread sharing about our upcoming adventure, and a sexual adventure. One good thing, piled on top of the next. By the sexually charged climax of the evening, my body shut down.
The next morning, I shared this string of events with a friend in hopes of getting help shedding light on the shut down. She congratulated me on hitting my upper limit about how much freedom I deserve — freedom to be fully seen, financial freedom, freedom from corporate America, travel freedom, and sexual freedom. She was exactly right. Yet another upper limit established by the crime of outshining.
This method of recognizing upper limit moves, identifying the stories, releasing the reasons and expanding into more pleasure may not be adequate when upper limits have been established by harm, abuse, or trauma. Those stories deserve to be heard and supported by professionals who can help untangle the associated web of emotions and experiences.
Pleasure is an infinite resource that every human on this planet deserves. And being aware of this concept of upper limits, feels like it puts more power back into each of our hands to expand the amount of pleasure we experience in our lives. My hope is that by shining my light fully, I can be a beacon towards pleasure for those around me.
[In a future post, I’ll tackle the concept and word “deserve” which I think is loaded and limited with its current cultural definition. But it works on an introductory level to understand this radical idea of upper limits.]
I’m sure I’ll be referring to upper limits in my writing going forward, so I wanted to have a summary of my thoughts and experiences on the blog to refer back to. And I hope that this condensed-ish version of the idea will be helpful to my loyal friends who read this blog. If you’ve made it this far into this long post, then that is you!! And thank you!! XOXO
Photo sources: first, second – unknown, third