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You Should be Ashamed!
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Sometimes even the best of us take pleasure in the wrong things.
From picking our nose and examining the output to exulting in making a witty yet cruel remark, we sometimes find ourselves enjoying things we know to be distasteful or unkind. We may prefer not to talk about these unsavory pleasures to our partners or our friends, but it’s probably best to be honest with ourselves about these feelings and activities that we enjoy with a certain shame.
There’s a reason for the phrase “guilty pleasures”! At this point, guilty pleasures are something of a cultural phenomenon, with thousands of guilty pleasures lists to be found online. But those guilty pleasures usually have to do with food and media: greasy snacks we love to eat, trashy movies we love to watch—sometimes both at once. I am interested in guilty pleasures that are more offbeat.
My Body, My Self
Many of us secretly appreciate ourselves in ways we don’t usually share, from preening and posing for the mirror to smelling our own secretions. There’s a pleasant, waxy scent found excusivly between my breasts, and sometimes I run my finger along that short path so I can get a little sniff. It’s more delicate than my ear wax, which I also like to sniff.
Ewww, disgusting! Well, maybe—but you probably you don’t find your own ear wax abhorrent, for we rarely find our own bodies to be foul. I love my body for housing my spirit and my mind, and I regard most of its effluvia with affection and appreciation. Sniff, sniff! Since this sort of thing doesn’t affect anybody or anything, I don’t worry about it.
Ignoble pleasures involving others are more problematic morally.
Crowing About Being Right, Or: I told You So!
You and your friend have a dispute about some factual item, with each of you absolutely certain about something and absolutely irreconcilable. Circumstances or Google prove that you are correct and that your friend is wrong. Oh, the satisfaction of undisputed victory! For the moment, you are the undoubted superior. Your version of the truth has prevailed. And it’s easy to bask in the win and remark later on, “I told you so!”
Take the high road instead! Tell your friend you used to feel the way they did but you then discovered such and such. You can usually fish around and find some reason why you once thought differently, but then this and that happened, which changed your mind. Create a bridge between your two positions, even after you’ve been certified to be right. And you never need to say “I told you so.” It will be obvious. Your friend will know.
Gloating Over a Win
Whether you are finally getting published in that magazine, whether you prevailed at a 5k race, whether you got that promotion and your work buddy did not, it’s easy to feel elevated—and easy to act badly. It’s probably worse to be a poor winner than to be a sore loser! Again, it’s best to deprecate your feat. It’s good to offer reasons why your achievement isn’t so stellar, after all. “The editor has always liked my subject.” Or: “I almost lost it there at mile 2.” Or “I’ve been training like a madman so I’m glad I have something to show for it.” (At this point you can give a quick glance at that cheap gilt trophy you are holding.) Or: “I probably got the promotion because we went to the same college.”
These things may be true and can offer a lifeline to those who failed while you prevailed. Kindness rules! Or should.
Photo by Kvnga on Upsplash
Trumpeting a Financial Windfall
You’ve received an unexpectedly high advance. You’ve suddenly inherited a goodly income. Or you’ve won $50,000 in Las Vegas. You want to tell the whole world! But some things are best kept on the downlow. Why stir up envy unnecessarily? People will not love you more because of your windfall—but they may expect you to always pick up the tab! Which you may choose to do! But you shouldn’t feel obliged to do so every single time. The best way to celebrate a financial windfall is to give some of it away . . . on your own terms.
Have you noticed a commonality in the above? Crowing about being right, gloating over a win, trumpeting a financial windfall? All involve some sort of boasting, some implied comparison, some self-elevation. These pleasures are all too natural. But they are, of course, ignoble.
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