A few weeks ago, I completed a new project I'd been working on for some time. It took lots of loving effort and discipline to stick to my deadline, but I managed to do it.
The results were… just OK. I was hoping for more positive feedback, but it was good enough, I guess. What normally happens in a situation like this, when an outcome is less impressive than we'd hoped it would be? We're so damn hard on ourselves. We think, Ah, I should have done X or known Y, or even, Well, that was a failure!
Because we irrationally believe that we have to get things perfect, even straight out of the gate. Do you feel me on this?
So that day, I said something else to myself instead: This hard-working woman just completed a difficult task, so I'm going to treat her to something nice. And it felt really good to treat myself anyway, to love myself despite a result that was a bit disappointing. Can you throw yourself a bone too?
If you know you need a little more self-love in your life, treat yourself to something nice for no reason—or even during a time of disappointment. It might seem counterintuitive, but showing yourself kindness this way is actually pretty important. We're worthy of joy not based on what we produce, but on the fact that joy is our birthright. Yep, that's it. No further questions. Wanna do something kind, just for you? Consider these three steps:
1. Delight in Deciding
It's known that the lead up to a vacation is as good as (or, in some cases, even better than) the vacation itself. So choosing what you'll treat yourself to is a thrill all on its own. Think: What treat, big or small, makes your body sit and up and go, "Ooh, yes!"
A 90-minute massage? A happy-hour cocktail at your favorite bar, all alone with your favorite book? A pair of new jeans? Making time for a long Skype call with a good long-distance friend? A cool online course to help you slay 2019? I chose Broadway tickets to a hilarious show. Because nothing soothes the soul like laughter.
2. Be Clear: It's Because You're Worthy
When you purchase your gift to yourself, don't make excuses or justify it in any way, like, "Well, it's my birthday soon, so this can be like a birthday gift too," "I did get an unexpected $59 back from the bank, and this is only $79, so I'm only really spending $20," or "I can use the time spent talking with my friend to do the dishes too!" Stop that! Say this instead: "I deserve this lovely experience/possession." That's all. And then enjoooooooyyyy all the way.
3. Act Immediately
Humans are funny in that we delay our good far too much. Why do we do that? Look back up at No. 2. It's feelings of unworthiness and thinking we have to earn every small good thing that comes our way. The good news is that you can first decide to act the way you want to feel. And when you act in a kind way toward yourself, it can help boost feelings of self-love. Consistent, loving action like this over time in small ways—like buying yourself flowers—has a reprogramming effect on our minds (we learn: I deserve good things). And guess what? The more positive your expectation for yourself, the more positive your life experience.
So… don't delay! Once you've had all the pleasure of picking your present—go for it! What are you waiting for? Nothing. Because you don't need a reason.
Susie Moore is Greatist's life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!