Last week I had to make a lunchtime grocery store run to pick up dishwasher tabs. I’d woken up on the wrong side of the bed that particular day – the weather had been garbage, I had a headache, skipped my workout, and my attitude was pretty horrific. I felt out of sorts. By the time lunch rolled around, I was pissed I had to even stop by the store.
But I had to walk by Kroger’s Manager’s Special (discounted) flower section on my way to the dishwasher tabs, and a bouquet of carnations (not filler flowers after all!) caught my eye. They were the prettiest shade of pink and immediately made me smile. And they were marked down to $2! I told myself that I needed to cut back on unnecessary and impulse purchases, but I couldn’t get them out of my mind. Taking down the Christmas decorations left our house feeling a little empty, and I wanted something to spruce it up. After going back and forth for longer than I’d like to admit, I finally put the flowers in my cart.
Among the many, many things I’m trying to work on this year is allowing myself to experience joy. Why do we punish ourselves? Even though I’m trying to budget and not making impulse buys, that $2 treat lifted my spirits. It brightened up our home. And it lifted J’s spirits, too. It was a simple, uplifting thing we both needed in the midst of this frigid and gray winter.
Isn’t it strange how we withhold pleasure and joy from our lives? We’d rather put the $2 bouquet back on the shelf. Or deny ourselves a much-needed nap. Or a weeknight glass of wine. Or a night out with friends. We stay at jobs we hate, and with people we don’t love. We turn down dates or days off or a homemade treat or getting our hair done or having a massage or taking a walk because we don’t think we deserve it. We think we haven’t earned it. We’d rather self-punish than allow ourselves to experience joy and pleasure.
But that’s bullshit, isn’t it? Why do we make our lives harder? There’s a never-ending cycle of bills and deadlines and sleepless nights and grief. So why not give yourself permission to experience happiness? Find a new job. Use all of your vacation days. Go to the beach. Adopt a pet. Sleep in. Create. Eat an ice cream cone. Play in the snow. Surround yourself with good, positive people. Unfollow or pull away from those who aren’t those things. Invite in fun and love and passion and laughs. Give yourself a break.
Do you deny yourself joy and pleasure?