Thoughts

Shopping misadventures

We have some big changes coming up on the horizon and the excitement around that has brought some familiar anxieties to the surface. I have often struggled with imposter syndrome and still find it hard at times to accept that I am capable and strong and worthy of good things. In a weak moment I succumbed to the lure of online shopping and decided that I needed some new stuff to help me feel better and make me feel more like someone who can face these big challenges with confidence.

Two weeks later, my parcel arrived and brought with it, two timely reminders. Firstly, a reminder that new stuff will not make me feel better (especially when said new stuff is ill-fitting, unflattering and not the colour that I expected it to be) and secondly, that I need to be more mindful of what lies behind this impulse to shop.

Day to day, I am happy to be me. I practice smiling at my reflection in the mirror every morning and after years of work, I have trained myself to always focus on what I like about my appearance rather than what I do not. I embrace my idiosyncrasies and flaws and have ventured out of my box in my quest for a broader, richer life but I managed to forget this when I was placing my online order.

There is nothing intrinsically ‘wrong’ with buying new clothes of course, but I know myself well enough to understand that there was something more than fashion that lay behind my purchasing decision. That something was the little girl inside of me who feels that she is not enough and never will be enough, so needs to hide behind new stuff.

For years I struggled with my self-esteem and wished to disappear into the background. By not putting myself forward for anything, I hoped that my failings would not be so apparent for all to see. I have done lots of work on this and often cannot believe that I am the same person I used to be, but this shopping misadventure is a timely reminder that the work is not yet done. In believing that some new stuff would make me feel better, I succumbed to the noisy propaganda of advertising and lost sight of the truth that who I am will always be good enough.

It is easy to fall prey to the message that we can fix ourselves if we will only buy something new and shiny. It is easy to believe that it is how we look that makes us worthy or not and it is easy to forget that our true authentic self really is enough. This is especially true during times of high stress and change.

This post is very much written as note-to-self but I also want to encourage you to reflect on your own decisions and consider the extent to which the decisions you make and the relationships you form may reflect a little person that still dwells inside you and speaks to your heart.

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