The Benefits of Rewarding Yourself

As a fan of Rihanna, I watched the Savage X Fenty fashion show this past weekend. Having loved her men’s collection, I thought to myself, “Self, what a wonderful Christmas gift the pajama pants and robe would make for my sons.” Then I went to order them. Much to my dismay, they were way out of my budget. I’m sure worth the price, but I was not the intended buyer they were meant for.

It made me think of my childhood. I grew up in a middle-class family where both my parents worked.  Not a lot, as far as material things, were out of reach financially, but spending money on certain things just wasn’t happening. In junior high school, I remember begging for pairs of Gloria Vanderbilt and Sergio Valente jeans. My mother couldn’t wrap her brain around spending that much money on a single pair of jeans.

Open any self-help book and it will teach you that your self-worth comes from within. Not the designer’s name on the clothes you are wearing. As much as I believe that, I think there are times the clothes can make a difference. When I’m not feeling it, I will roll out of bed, brush my teeth and sit down at my desk still in pajamas wearing a hair bonnet. I’m not productive on those days. Catch me doing it three days in a row and it’s time for an intervention. The same can be said in reverse. Putting on a $5 t-shirt and hand-me-down faded jeans do not make me feel like a million bucks. However, add my red Barefoot Dreams cardigan and a pair of black Doc Martens, and I’m the girl with the sarcastic mouth that tells horrible jokes and eats sushi with her fingers. Her I like. She’s motivated to align with her daily goals.

What I feel is missing from the self-help books is the message to stop feeling the guilt that comes with needing an outside push. I’m not saying make it a habit, but the reason for community, crystals, crosses and statues is to have something to lean on. Being positive 24 hours a day is exhausting and should not be expected of anyone. At some point you are going to crack and end up in your pajamas three days in a row. When we need help there should be no shame in using our resources to get some. I’d rather wear a beautiful shade of magenta lipstick that makes me feel pretty than put on the mask of a fake smile to convince others that I am fine. After a while, the lipstick won’t have to do the work. I’m going to know that I am pretty.

Stop feeling guilty when you want to do something selfish for you. Whether it’s a solo-retreat, a new planner for 2023 or just an Anything Bundt Cake for one. I’m learning that rewarding oneself for a job well done is also a great motivator. Working hard and getting nothing out of it but the satisfaction of completing the project, is a good feeling, but having that extra something special makes it worth whatever you had to sacrifice. Yes, it’s an outside motivator, but isn’t that why we have things? If we only needed shelter, we would all live in a gray boxes stacked on top of one another with white walls and beige furniture. Instead, we have choices. Those choices should be things that make us happy.

It doesn’t always have to be something tangible. I set word count goals and reward myself with a Hallmark Christmas movie or catching up on one of the four shows I’m watching. Another wonderful reward is closing the bathroom door with a Do Not Disturb sign posted on it while I soak in a warm bath with music playing. Find what brings you joy and don’t feel guilt if you don’t want to share that thing.

As I write this, I received the sad news of Stephen “tWitch” Boss’s passing from suicide. It gives new meaning to the point I wanted to make. Take a step back and take care of yourself. Rewarding yourself is part of your mental health. Listen to your body and give it what it needs. These last three years have not been the easiest for any of us. I think that is why I had to be reminded to setup rewards for myself. I was becoming a mindless robot trying to meet deadlines on a to do list. Now I get a sweet piece of dark chocolate at the end.

When I look back, no one made fun of me for not wearing $75 designer jeans. The thing about hindsight is that you’re looking through eyes of wisdom and can see the lesson. However, while going through it, my feeling were hurt thinking I was denied because I thought it meant we were poor, even though we weren’t. That pulled on my self-worth strings. I didn’t realize back then that I already fit in with the other kids. I did get a pair of Sergio Valente jeans for Christmas that year. I was rewarded for my patience. I suppose I will rethink the Savage X Fenty pajamas. Maybe, at least the pants.

If you find yourself thinking the only way out is suicide, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Dial: 1-800-273-8255 or 988

Get help! You are so worth it.

Love and light my friends,

Portia Leivette


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