Women are notorious for putting the needs of everybody else before their own. As much as we'd love a new pair of shoes or a change of hair style, there always seems to be something the kids need or a new appliance to be saved for, putting our own needs back at the end of the list of priorities . . . again.
Whether we're genetically engineered to give priority to the needs of others or whether it's a consequence of societies expectations to us is unimportant. What's important is that our sense of wellbeing – our happiness – is reliant on our ability to take care of our own needs; to be able to treat ourselves now and then.
If you immediately think of a treat as a weekend away in a plush hotel or a meal in an expensive restaurant, think again. Sure, these things can be treats but to find out what you'd really want as a treat, sit down and think about what would make you feel a deeper sense of contentment right now. A long bath surrounded by bubbles and low, sensual music? A long natter on the ‘phone with a girlfriend? A facial? A take-away and a glass of cheap plonk? Or maybe you'd like to feed the ducks in the park? If it makes you feel good and it's within reason to do it, there's only one thing, besides money, that could stop you and it isn't your family.
So what is it? Quite simply, your treat mustn't have any negative consequences. It's no good scoffing a bar of Galaxy if you'll end up feeling rotten because of the extra calories that'll be hanging round your hips and don't go out with the girls on a drinking binge if you'll just end up spending the following day nursing a dreadful hangover. Treats should make you feel good, end of story. Anything that leaves you feeling less than good should be avoided at all costs.
So where does that leave you if you generally end up feeling guilty for treating yourself when you could have been doing something for your family instead? How can you spend an hour in the bath just daydreaming and enjoying the music when your teenage daughter's school uniform needs ironing? How can you go for a walk in the park when it means your husband, who's been at work all week, is now expected to look after the children for the afternoon? I'll tell you how, and it's actually quite easy, too. DON'T FEEL GUILT.
Yes, I know. Easier said than done, eh? Honestly, it really isn't too difficult, though. You just have to ask yourself what makes others more important than you? Why do their needs have to come first? So that they won't be frustrated at having to go without? So that they won't feel resentment at being ‘attached’ to somebody when that attachment means they have to go without? Because you want them to feel good about themselves? Now ask yourself why those reasons don't apply to you, too? And then ask yourself how those you care for would feel if you were constantly frustrated or feeling resentment? And don't you think they'd want you to feel good about yourself too?
I remember clearly the day I discovered how important it was to treat myself. My younger daughter and I were shopping and whilst browsing for clothes for her, I came across a beautiful set of matching bra and panties. She saw me looking longingly at them and said, “I think you should treat yourself, Mum. You're always buying things for us and putting up with old stuff for yourself but everybody feels better about themselves when they know they look nice and I want you to feel good about yourself, too. " Not only was that a lovely thing to say, it was also incredibly insightful for a child of 12. I'd neglected myself for far too long but that was about to change.
Unless you're happy with your day-to-day life you can't possibly feel contented and without contentment what are you likely to be left with? Contempt, that's what. Would that do your family any good? Of course not. So go ahead, put yourself on that list and treat yourself today. You're worth it.
Sharon Jacobsen is a full-time freelance writing based in South Cheshire, England. For a reasonable fee she'll happily write articles that your readers will love, and on any subject from fishing to fashion. Sharon can also deliver compelling salesletters, press releases, and just about anything else related to the written word.
To contact Sharon, or to learn more about her work, please visit: http://www.sharon-jacobsen.co.uk