Sunday, 11 March 2012

Self Worth & Shopping

One of the things that has come out of my going to counselling is my almost subconscious tendency to not buy myself nice things, or not to use them when I have them. There's something about self worth in there - I seem to have it drilled into me that what I want doesn't matter. There's something about perfectionism and not wanting to ruin or waste things by using them in the wrong way, making terrible inedible supper, or wasting fabric on a dress that turns out unwearable. Often I won't even start things because I'm too put off by the thought of it not being right or good enough.
Sometimes I don't buy things because I can't find an option that's as cheap as I've somehow got it into my head that it should be. This ends up with situations like having no waterproof shoes, an ancient phone, or no batteries for my bike lights. I'll hold out for a cheaper price or better deal and deny myself until I get it, possibly substituting cheap alternatives in the meanwhile, or opting for something I don't really want.
I do it in clothes shops, in the supermarket, in coffee shops, on the internet. Take me out for coffee and I'll get a filter or americano, and whatever strikes me as the cake with the best price/size ratio. Which is obviously stupid, having coffee and cake in the first place is being indulgent so I may as well pay another 40p and get a latte if I want one, or the flapjack with chocolate on. My reliance on my perception of value is reinforced by not *knowing* what I want,  and vice versa. As I'm not used to what I want being the deciding factor I stop listening to what I want and on it goes.
It's uncomfortable to think about how I deny myself and often make things more complicated by doing all this, but the outcome is very positive - my counsellor told me my homework was to buy myself nice things!
Now of course this isn't as easy as it sounds, otherwise I wouldn't have been told to do it. I have to fight my instincts to buy the cheaper option or the reductions (often the caveat when I have nice things), and just listen to what I want and BUY IT. It'll be more expensive, yes, but where do you draw the line? Rationally I know I need to treat myself because I don't not deserve it, now I need to believe that.

Fancy pie... reduced.
I went to the supermarket earlier feeling suitably empowered, and I did it. I bought a butternut squash just because, I felt like crumpets so I bought crumpets, I got the really nice tomatoes.
I did fall down on a few things - I wanted squash soup but bought tomato & basil because it was on offer, I prefer baked crisps but bought the "light" ones that were reduced. But it's a start, and I'm going to enjoy the nice things I've bought and not feel guilty if I end up "wasting" something in a stew that's less than delicious.
On the other hand I'll still use it all efficiently. I won't end up throwing away a whole bag of mouldy tomatoes but if one or two go bad I won't kick myself too hard. I'm not throwing away my attitude to food and shopping and going for the polar opposite, yet again it's all about balance.
Wish me luck?


  1. Hey you!

    Aww, it's hard sometimes but you'll get through it! You need to look at this: I only stumbled across it yesterday so sadly missed out, but there's still things in there that are good to read now. Hope it brings you a smile if not some empowerment!

    Good Luck!

    1. Thankyou! I think lots of it is about taking time to reflect on what and how I do, to congratulate myself when I do well and notice when I'm giving myself a hard time. That's a lovely series of posts, definitely worth a bookmark :)

  2. Good luck! I used to be in a similar mindframe - after years of barely having enough money, it took me a long time to believe that I COULD buy the nicer, more expensive option and didn't have to squirrel every single spare penny away.

    1. Thank you, I'm just glad I've gained a new perspective. I was always sort of aware of how I shopped but didn't regard it as a bad thing or indicative of anything else.


Yay :)