Often it is necessary to look in the mirror and see what is really there staring back at you…whether you like it or not. It’s not easy to admit when we are wrong, especially when we so desperately want to be right. Yet it is from our mistakes that we can learn the most…if we are ready.
I have spent much time analyzing my last shopping binge. Hindsight allows us to see things more clearly if we are willing to take a look. I might have preferred to simply “let it go”…move onward…try again. And of course I am, but I wouldn’t really be helping myself if I didn’t face the truth about “why” I allowed it to happen when surely I could have prevented it.
I know why and I knew why all along. These are not excuses, but rather ignoring the triggers. Triggers that I did not do my best to deal with…that I felt I didn’t have the bandwidth to deal with. Simply put (although not simply lived), I have been riding an emotional rollercoaster which I suspect is called the menopause hormone twister. I am not going to write about menopause here since that journey is not over yet for me, but I can say that I have reverted to using shopping at times to help me when the natural supplements, meditation, exercise, acupuncture, and all the other “helpful menopause solutions” haven’t been enough.
Fortunately, I still see my therapist and I use tools such as “pausing” when I shop, and most importantly I can now recognize when I am veering offtrack in time to push myself back on.
Still, I needed to face the truth that I must deal with the rest of menopause and also with all the ups and downs that life brings. Shopping is not the answer and will never be. It is a familiar, comfortable distraction..something to do or think about instead of whatever it is I am facing. But in the end shopping makes me feel as if I am walking backwards or in circles or just stuck in a place that I am tired of being in.
The good news is that I have the power to change this. I control my actions, my thoughts, and what I will or will not do with each shopping urge that charges through my body. I now need to practice more discipline.
I need to let go and say no.
“No” to those Dior Pearl earrings that have been tempting me. “No” to those designer platform espadrilles and “No” to that ruffled peach floral sundress. Simply No. Right now I want to deal with my good days and my bad days without shopping. And I will. I am ready.
Saying No to myself has never been easy for me. For the following reasons:
The desire for immediate gratification.
I want it when I want it. Perhaps it’s the child inside me…especially that only child who did get so much. Whatever the reason is I must now be the grownup and accept (to quote the Rolling Stones) “You can’t always get what you want”.
Fear that what I desire will “Sell out” and I will “Miss out”.
Often I have encouraged myself to “just buy it…you can always return it’. I’ve practiced that because there have been times when I waited to purchase something and then it was no longer available. Initially I would be upset…all those people out there who were “smarter” knowing to snatch up this great find! Really? Is there really any material item that we can not live without? There is always some new great thing, and if I should “miss out” on something then I do. So what? That’s all there is to it. If I couldn’t really afford it, then missing out on it is the universe doing me a favor.
Not wanting to be told “No” - even from my more mindful self.
This may be the hardest reason to reckon with. I don’t like hearing no. I don’t want to be told what to do, yet there are times when “No” is just exactly what I need to hear. It is not a reprimand. Having discipline doesn’t mean I’m being disciplined. Reaching my goals and becoming the person I desire to be requires me to listen to my inner voice even when “No” is the advice I am hearing.
Setting goals for ourselves is important. It helps to keep us focused on the bigger picture of what we want to achieve. Last month I lost sight of my goals, or at least I didn’t take the time to set clear, solid goals for myself. I knew I “wanted to save money”, but I also knew I “wanted to buy a few new items for vacation”. But that was all I knew. I did not take the time to define how I would go about meeting both those goals. I just figured I’d shop, return, shop, return, and in my head I “thought” I was returning more than I was buying…reality proved differently.
I ended up not knowing exactly how much I had spent and in the end had to use all the money I had been saving to pay off what I owed on the credit card. Moving forward now, I know I need a better plan.
For right now as I develop and fine tune my thoughts on where I go from here, I am simply saying “No” to each shopping desire I encounter. It is a practice I need to do and I must allow myself to experience and feel the anger, the sadness, the frustration or whatever emotions may come from “No”. It is time for me to come to a true acceptance of “No” and the power it can give me.