I’m eating a chocolate shortbread cookie with strawberry icing, it tastes like cold fresh jam. The flavor feels cool and refreshing on my tongue. It just feels so good to be treating myself so well. Lately it seems as if I am actively unlearning all of the lessons trauma has taught me. I am learning to love myself and let others love me and it feels nurturing on a level I did not know I needed.
For a long time it didn’t matter if the gift was large or big – if I wanted a cookie, or a trip, or new luggage if those expenditures were for me they were too much. I could buy tickets for a flight to visit someone else, or if there was some obligation tied to the travel – then it was justifiable and there were strings of logic related to who was allowed, when it was allowed, and what was ok for me to enjoy if it was related to someone else. I could not afford to go on vacation – but my friend’s mother passed and so a four day trip to Las Vegas was acceptable because it was to comfort her.
There was nothing too pricey for my children or my extended family but my partner was on the same level as myself – they didn’t really need anything, much like I didn’t really “need,” anything. Lately that has shifted. I am finding that I myself have wants, needs, desires that long to be met. They linger if they go unanswered for too long. My wanting new clothes, or shoes, or a bag that I will have spent hours investigating and pouring over online used to be activities that would consume me and leave me feeling unfulfilled. I felt unworthy of care but I am finding now that investing in myself, investing in the things I want is very satisfying. It gives me the freedom to stop fixating on whatever that item was and move on to living with that gift. It is interesting and sad that so much time was spent denying myself that which I wanted most.
Simple things like a sweet treat at the bakery, mid-range things like a new purse, or luggage set, an adventure or trip to some far off place that might delight or inspire me to create some new art or reimagine my priorities in a new way. These gifts help me along on my journey. They make my path more delightful, richer, and more pleasurable. Feeling that nurtured, supported, and cared for by myself inherently shifts the way I view myself and the world.
The kindness I am showing myself transforms the way I relate to others and myself. Because I no longer save the best for someone else, or treat myself as if I am not worthy or deserving of life’s joys and pleasures, I am enjoying those delights myself. I am planting seeds in my own soil and coaxing inner growth and development first. I am not giving all of the best I have to offer away. I am nurturing myself. I am giving to me first and that is a powerful shift. It takes a little time and I am not perfect – I still have not purchased the bag or the luggage and I still haven’t booked a vacation just for my partner and me or just for myself but I’m getting there. I’m writing about it and that tells me it is important. It is something I need to do for myself. If I’ve been thinking about it for several months, in the immortal words of the Doors, “the time to hesitate is through.” I am buying the bag and then I will write about how that makes me feel. Not for a holiday or because I did some extra work that proved I am “now,” worthy. I am just buying it because I want it and because having that item will bring me joy. I’m off to purchase a suitcase and already I feel incredibly spoiled.
What was the last simple pleasure you gave yourself?