Giving to yourself in the moment you need it brings joy like no other
While grocery shopping this week, I did something I never do. I bought something spontaneously for myself. In the grocery store? Yes, in the grocery store. I often buy things in the spur of the moment for my husband or my son, something they would like or a treat I know would bring them joy. But I don’t do it for myself unless it’s something I need for work or home — something I can justify to my unrelenting inner critic.
It was something silly, but when I saw it, it made me smile. It was a pack of bag clips. They had brightly-coloured monster faces and they looked cute and funny. I thought, “these are adorable,” and I popped them into my grocery cart.
I instantly felt amazing.
I smiled the rest of the way through the store. I felt so satisfied and happy. I was untouchable. It’s incredible how something so small and simple could bring me such a sense of elation.
It completely fulfilled the little girl inside me. Made her feel special and cared for. It made her feel loved. And that feeling lasted all week.
How did I never discover this before? I always put my loved ones first and myself last and thought that felt great for some reason, but this was a whole new level. And it had nothing to do with the amount of money spent, which was very little.
It was the spontaneity, combined with frivolousness, and the fact that I didn’t second guess myself, ask anyone else for their opinion, or talk myself out of it.
I said yes to myself, where I have habitually and repeatedly said no. I felt this space open up around me, like I was surrounded by a giant, bright, glowing bubble.
The feeling in the grocery store was such a new thing to experience.
It gave me a sense of freedom I wasn’t expecting. It made me feel whole. Like I was putting myself first — and not hesitating, not denying, not dismissing what would make me happy over what would bring others joy. This joy was all mine. I gave it to myself. And it felt awesome.
It was like I was seeing myself fully for the first time. Seeing everything I needed and treating myself with kindness. Giving myself exactly what I needed at exactly the moment I needed it.
How could a few little, plastic clips do that? Why not the decades of yoga? The thousands of hours sitting in meditation? The times I spent volunteering my time for others? Walking in nature? Or giving to the people I loved?
Maybe all that time spent in gentle yoga poses and focused breathing, caressing the natural world, and giving my time and love to others over the years had something of the necessary in it. It would help me and help others. It was something like work or eating a really healthy salad for lunch (which I also do a lot of).
Maybe all those beautiful, amazing, healthy practices helped lead me to this moment of insight. This miraculous pivot point in my life.
Or maybe it was just the colourful, plastic monster faces. They are super cute, after all.
Whatever the reason, I’m so thankful I arrived at this grocery store epiphany.
It’s made me realize how incredibly special and important it is to accept and love myself in the moment. To be aware of the choice — and then lean toward love and away from self-denial, self-rejection and self-abandonment. How those moments are critical to my happiness. How they contribute directly to my own joy.
And how that joy can nourish me like nothing else — and help me nourish the people around me, too.
But me first.