If you’re like me, you’ve spent most of your life doing for others, whether that was your family, your job, or your friends. You probably put yourself at the bottom of your to-do list way too often. And I bet you save the nice things for other people, too – that box of chocolates, those plush towels that you hang in the guest bathroom, that scented candle you won’t light just for you.
Think about how often we deprive ourselves of the simple pleasures that would brighten our days. What makes us think that self-sacrifice all the time is good?
Paula Klendworth Skory wrote a story for us about realizing it was time to indulge in a little luxury – when she finally accepted it was her time to thrive. She had been through cancer treatment, something that often gives our writers clarity about their lives.
Paula was raised the way many of us were. Her mom had guest soaps in the powder room – those tiny green and pink and yellow roses that sit under a glass dome. You may not have the little soap roses, but I bet you have some other kind of guest soap, maybe a fancy scented one that is “too good” for everyday use.
Paula had a scented soap that looked like a piece of green marble – a wedding gift. That soap was so nice that she wanted to save it. Save it for what? She didn’t know.
She put that soap in a drawer, and it stayed there as she progressed from new bride to mother to empty nester. Then, while she was recovering from her cancer, she noticed that bar of soap was still waiting for someone special enough to use it.
She carefully unwrapped the soap and slowly washed her hands with it, saying it was “a small moment of pure joy.”
Why we save all the good stuff for guests is a mystery. I grappled with that at the beginning of the pandemic, and then I made a decision. I told our landscaper to put in more flowers than we ever had before. No one was coming to visit. The flowers would be for us.
That began our pandemic year. We made a conscious decision to treat ourselves like honored guests in our home, not only with more flowers but also with everything else we could think of.
I started using all the nice, scented soaps I’d stashed away – thank you, Paula – and then for the first time ever, I ordered boxes of additional expensive scented soaps, for me!
My husband Bill started buying fabulous wines, and I treated myself to cases of Spindrift seltzer waters (Bill calls them Spendthrifts). I ordered every kind of dark chocolate bar we wanted to try. We subscribed to all the television streaming services.
Whatever we would have bought for guests we bought for “just us.” How much did all this extravagance cost us? Less than a normal summer vacation at an inn where we would have been treated as valued guests.
There’s one more luxury that you deserve, and that’s “me time.” By putting yourself first on your to-do list, you’ll give yourself the greatest gift of all. Making me time is a daily habit you should cultivate.
Luxuriate in an hour of reading, or watching a film, or taking a walk outside. Time is a precious commodity too, and we tend to allocate all our time to other people. That raises our stress level and makes us resentful.
Carve out an hour a day, or a day every week, for yourself. You deserve to be treated the same way as you treat the other people in your life.
Here are some helpful tips:
Do you have some special items you’ve been saving for the future? Have you allowed yourself a little luxury? How can you treat yourself as well as you would treat a guest? Please use the comments to share with or community!