It’s my hope in today’s post to help take some of the “guilt” out of guilty pleasures. While there are certainly pleasures which one might do well to feel guilty about, I’ll leave those for some – *ahem* – other places in the blogosphere. Presently, I’m talking about little treats or kindnesses which, instead of being lavished on others, are a gift from you to yourself. They are the times when you go right ahead and have that cheesecake, determined to enjoy every bite of it.
You really do need to sometimes.
There may be those readers who need no encouragement in this regard. Let it be known that, if an indulgence is undertaken as the norm, it no longer qualifies as a guilty pleasure. It may, however, qualify you as spoiled rotten. But that is for you or your mother to decide.
Here, I’m talking about simple things that bring us joy, but which we tend to deny ourselves for a variety of reasons. Thinking we don’t deserve it. Giving into those “shoulds” I talked about in an earlier post. Or simply not making time for ourselves. Whatever the reason, a life devoid of “treats” for yourself can become dry, tedious or even downright sad.
Here’s one of the best pieces of advice my mother ever gave me:
If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else.
I take care of a lot of people. I pour into others. It’s who I am and what I love to do. But often, those who tend to be givers are the last to allow themselves to receive. And we usually seem “fine” to the rest of the world, because we focus outward and don’t talk much about our own needs. That means that others rarely ask if you are all right or think to treat you. If that sounds like you, I especially want to encourage you to take the guilt out of those guilty pleasures. You need to be your own friend in that regard, valuing yourself as much as you value others.
Heeding my mom’s advice, look at giving yourself license to enjoy treats in the same way that you would look at taking vital medicine. You need them in order to survive – to be revitalized enough to keep giving effectively. If there are no times of refilling your own pitcher, what you pour out to others will be less effective, or may even dry up completely.
Some of you are moms who have allowed your whole life to be about your kids and your home and your husband (or you may be a dad who’s done the same). Your commitment is commendable. But you really do need some “you time.” If you rolled your eyes or sighed sarcastically, as if to say, “I wish!” then you are in even more dire need than you realize.
I’ll let you in on some of the “guilty pleasures” which I allow myself to enjoy – pleasures from which I’ve managed to remove the guilt. I’ll also share a bit about where some of the guilt lay previously in each case, as I suspect that many of you will be able to relate.
• Treating myself to an ice cream cone (whether anyone else is with me or not). If it’s summer and you want to feel extra treated, chase down the ice cream truck and buy yourself your favorite one from when you were a kid. Mine was the strawberry shortcake bar (and I don’t care who knows it!).
GUILT VOICE SAYS: That’s silly. Adults don’t get ice cream cones by themselves, only if they have kids with them or are on a date. And chasing down the ice cream truck? What will the neighbors think?
• Buying one Lindt chocolate truffle during a visit to the convenience store. It’s amazing how “treated” you can feel for a quarter!
GUILT VOICE SAYS: I don’t really need just one candy. And will the store clerk think I’m just cheap for not buying more?
• Loading up my iPod with Billboard’s Top 100 songs from my high school years and cranking them in the car. It is impossible not to smile (and to go back to the best/worst of your singing-out-loud days).
GUILT VOICE SAYS: Those days are over. You’re not young anymore. You look pathetic and ridiculous. You need to be more serious and adult-like., or people will think you’re having some sort of mid-life crisis.
• Watching a “guilty pleasure” favorite movie, whether other people care to join me or not – and often, with much wagging of heads and raising of eyebrows, in my case. Just a few of my many favorites (I hope you’ll enjoy the links to clips I’ve provided): Ever After; Singing in the Rain; Music of the Heart; Sister Act I or II; Dangerous Minds; X-Men II; any of the old Disney classics.
GUILT VOICE SAYS: Guys aren’t supposed to like romances or musicals – and certainly should never admit it if they do. Other people will think some of your movie taste is lowbrow, and that you must not be very smart. Comic-book movies are for kids, not adults. And you have better things to do with your time than sit and watch a movie.
AWESOME VOICE SAYS: I actually just laughed and cried, watching those short clips again! I can’t wait to watch these again! Awesome Voice trumps Guilt Voice.
• Going to lunch or dinner, and a movie – all by myself.
GUILT VOICE SAYS: That’s wasteful to spend the money on just yourself. That is an opportunity that you could have at least taken a teen with you. It’s selfish to go alone.
• Taking a hot bath, not to get clean but to relax and read.
GUILT VOICE SAYS: Calgon! Take me away (to the asylum). Baths are for women; men only shower – or go without.
• Using my $10 coupon to Bob’s and shopping to see if I can find an article of clothing that I really love within $2.00 of the coupon value.
GUILT VOICE SAYS: You don’t need any more clothes. And the cashier is going to think you are poor and cheap. (I prefer “frugal,” but both are true, so hey…)
• Taking a nap.
GUILT VOICE SAYS: You should stay busy at all times. Needing “rest” is just an excuse for being lazy.
The purpose of my sharing these things is not simply to give you a peek at “awww-inspiring” moments in Erik’s life. The purpose is for you to be inspired and permitted to find and experience your own treats along the way – without guilt. Steal my ideas if you like. Allow yourself to be honest about what would refill you. And then be intentional about making the time to enjoy some guilt-less pleasures yourself. Doctor’s orders.
Go ahead. Indulge.