Are you like me and feeling Guilty about doing something for yourself?
So last Saturday I had finished shopping for everyone’s gifts, had them all wrapped and stashed way in the garage, waiting for THE day to put them under the tree. I was early for a reception, and I decided to check out a consignment store to look for something for myself.
I walked out of one store with a pretty red top with gold sequined trim around one side of the waist, which I snagged for $8.00; not bad – it’ll be nice to wear on Christmas! I was flushed with the excitement of buying some clothing for myself, which given my last year was actually a big deal.
I moved out to Missouri a little over a year ago to help my daughter with the kids when her baby was re-diagnosed with cancer. I had just lost my job, was paying the bills long distance to maintain a household 1000 miles away for a floundering marriage, and so was broke and living in the outskirts of a small town, and without a vehicle or public transportation when my daughter was making the almost weekly trips 2 1/2 hours away to St. Louis for the baby’s treatments while I stayed home with the twins. (The baby has now been pronounced cancer-free since a few months!)
When I had money left over from my unemployment check after paying the bills, I was spending it on a few little items for my family. In one year, I bought two small items of clothing for less than $20.00 total for myself. Yeah, big spender!
Now, when I say, going to a consignment store to myself was a big deal, you can see I wasn’t living a life of spoiling myself to excess!
When I left the first store, I walked down the strip mall and went to visit an antique mall, where I spotted a beautiful lightweight beige-grey designer coat for $20.00, found a Relic bag for $16.00 and got a black and white cheetah print silky scarf for $4.00 to match the zebra print lining inside the coat. I was over the moon with my little beauties, imagining myself going to get-togethers this holiday season!
The total bill still came to less than what I would have paid at Walmart for a regular Spring coat, but since I haven’t bought much for myself in a long time, the next day I was having buyer’s remorse, big time, and since it was a consignment store, it was non-returnable. I was beating myself up over getting myself a pretty gift I loved but didn’t really have the spare money for.
The guilt was chewing at me and chewing at me. I needed to accept that the money wasn’t going to come back, and that perhaps I needed to give myself permission to enjoy myself a little, especially at this time of the year.
I’ve had to give myself permission a few times in my life to do something I really wanted to do, but had been held back by guilt. Or fear. Or doubt. As have we all no doubt!
This of course goes beyond just buying clothes, but goes so much deeper than that. It speaks to deep soul yearnings to move out of the constricted areas in our lives, and onto new paths.
What is the path to joy?
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Here’s an excerpt from the Lemonade book:
Giving Ourselves Permission to Follow our Joy
So it comes down to giving ourselves permission to follow our joy. If we are the “first in the family” to become an artist, a magician, a writer, a dancer or even to go back to school, maybe the truth is we are the first to give ourselves permission to do so. Maybe we did inherit our talents from family members, yet if not one of them had ever had permission, or had given themselves permission, then the seed that lay within was never developed to maturity. Many seeds get crushed under cold, callous heels, and many a spirit has been broken because of this.
If people criticize what we do because it may not be good enough, do we stop doing it because we may be the only ones to appreciate it? Do we need their permission to do it, and if they disapprove, do we stop doing it? These are all good questions to ask ourselves.
Additionally, it may not be the finished product that brings us pleasure, but it may be the process we enjoy. I’ve met many people doing what brings them joy, even if no one else appreciates the end result. They are some of the happiest souls, because they are expressing themselves through their chosen outlet, irregardless of what other people may say.
Do people give them a hard time for continuing to do something that doesn’t seem to produce results other people appreciate? Yes they, do, but I see a grudging respect as well. Are they affected by what others say? Sometimes, but they seem to have developed an inner ability to brush it off, because they have come to realize that the pleasure they get from their activity is far greater, and well worth putting up with some teasing.
We can give ourselves permission to be ourselves and follow our joy. Only then do we become better at being ourselves.
When I talk about following your joy, of living your soul’s path, I am not referring to or advocating things like stalking someone, child porn, committing adultery, or anything hurtful or destructive to another person.
Those would be things I would put under the negative or toxic heading, for even though you get a good/great feeling from it; the activities themselves create victims and cause lifelong damage on many levels. There are just some things that are negative, and if we give ourselves permission to pursue them, this leads others and us to the darker side of life.
However, if your outlet is to sing, but everyone begs you not to, maybe a simple solution is to find a place where you can find vocal release without making enemies!
The following of joy, I believe should be in the positive things. For when we are on a positive, healthy path we find peace.
By doing the things that lead us to our soul’s path, even in small increments daily or weekly, we are actively working to boost our sanity levels.
This is an ongoing, lifelong process!
The Dangers of NOT Giving Ourselves Permission
If we aren’t giving ourselves permission to follow our soul’s path, we will be very unhappy. We try to bury our unhappiness, telling ourselves, “I am grateful. I have a job. I have a family. I have a roof over my head and food on the table.” This is called survival, which is very important to do at various times in our lives, but our spirit cries out for more, which is where our dissatisfaction with our present lives can creep in.
If we aren’t following our soul’s path and expressing on the outside who we are inside our spirit, then we slowly waste away inside. Our soul knows it, so depression comes, maybe along with the drinking, the drugging, fits of anger, etc.
It is a very fine thing in life to be a wife, or a husband or a mother or a father, or a son or a daughter, well I think you get the idea! The hustle and bustle of every day life, of getting food on the table, doing laundry, going to work or school, etc. is very important, even noble, but it still doesn’t replace an outlet to express the inner workings of the soul!
The inner poet, artist, musician, builder, pastry cook, welder etc needs to be expressed in a real and tangible way; it needs to be respected as an integral part of who we are, not so much as a choice, but rather as a necessity. The inner soul craves to find an outlet to become a real part of our lives, and the torment and anguish it gives us if we deny its existence or shove it down inside, can lead to first dissatisfaction, then disillusionment with life, and further to anger, resentment and bitterness.
It takes courage to stand up to any criticism we get whether external from other people, or internal from self doubt or self criticism. Getting beyond these external or internal influences is an important step to self discovery and self actualization! It is a crucial step to move beyond, to defuse and to limit its power over us.
Only we have the inner power to do this, for unless we do it, we can wait a few lifetimes for someone to take us by the hand and gently lead us into this new and uncharted territory! Though we may at present feel powerless or incapable of doing so, it is still our power to take, and vitally important for us to do so!
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