I was at Anthropologie with three of my close friends. We were headed to a girls-only weekend at the lake for the first time in years, but we obviously needed to stop and check out some shopping hot-spots along the way. While perusing this funky bo-ho store, I spied a mug. I loved the pattern. It was my favorite color. It had my initial on it.
I walked over and picked it up, turning it upside down to see the price tag. Six dollars. Wow, that seemed like a purchase I could live with. But did I NEED a mug? No. Could that money be spent elsewhere in our family budget? Yes. So I put the mug down and walked away.
But then I had a talk with myself about how rarely I buy anything for myself. How it had actually become difficult to do so. How it had been quite a long season of putting my family’s interests and needs before my own. How I was tired a lot of the time, had taken on quite a bit while my husband was out of town for an extended period of time, and had started to feel like a shell of myself. How I was standing in this store fighting with myself over spending six dollars on a mug that I really liked.
So I walked back, picked up the mug, and purchased it.
That moment in the store was the start of a journey. A journey of learning how to love myself and take time for myself again. I got home, placed that mug out where I could see it, and used it often for my morning coffee. Not only was it aesthetically pleasing; it was a symbol to me. It may sound silly, but every time I looked at that mug with it’s lovely turquoise pattern, pretty curves, and my initial inscribed on the front, it reminded me of my worth.
One day that mug walked off from our home. Or got broken or lost. But there came a definite time where the mug was gone and I missed it. My absolute favorite mug was gone; the really pretty one that had taught me something. I looked up the mug online, but now the purchase price would include shipping, which added another ten dollars to the price. So I went without. I kept working on having a healthy view of myself, despite no longer having the lovely symbol of what started this journey. Which was obviously more important.
But then I got a gift certificate for my birthday…and I decided if it was worth buying that mug once once and learning to love myself, it was worth buying and having it again. Even with the added shipping. The mug arrived and sat proudly on my desk at work EVERY DAY. It was an accessory. And a sentimental keepsake. I smiled when I looked at the mug, laughing a little bit at myself for having now bought it twice.
You see, that day in Anthropologie I realized that taking care of other people and not taking care of myself needed to stop. It started a personal awakening that included counseling, seeking out a mentor at church, reading a lot of books (like Codependent No More), resetting my thought life (which I discovered how to do by reading Switch On Your Brain), recognizing the importance of having hobbies, and overall learning how to better balance loving myself and loving others.
And then one day that mug walked off from my desk at work. Or got broken or lost. But it definitely disappeared. It had been there one day and was gone the next. “Seriously!?,” I thought to myself. (I *may* have even posted a lost mug poster in a prominent place so our cleaning crew and staff would see it for a couple of days after.) However, the mug did not turn up and I decided I was not going to buy the mug a third time. Because that seemed a little excessive. And while the purchase of the mug had taught me that it was time to love myself better, maybe this time around I needed to learn something else from it.
Like the fact that I didn’t need the mug to symbolize what I had learned, because the change was inside of me. I knew it, felt it, and my relationships and emotional health were better because of it.
What have you treated yourself to lately?