Treats to mark and celebrate special moments are an opportunity not to be missed. What kind of treats we give ourselves and when, that can say a lot about the relationship we have with ourselves. Recently I decided to treat myself to a bit of my future – now.
You will know the feeling, when something went well, against the odds; when you had to step up, went the extra mile; luck or chance were on your side. It feels special. It feels good and you want to mark that achievement or moment in your life by ‘treating’ yourself.
Not everyone agrees with the idea of treats, for themselves or for others. Some may regard it as frivolous, an unnecessary excuse to spend money, something they or the other do not deserve.
A treat can be anything from the every day to the not so every day.
A treat can be an excuse to have a bit of something, which we know may not be good for us.
Mostly we treat ourselves with something special, something rare.
A recent episode in my life got me thinking about what treat I really want and need.
I had decided on a medical check up. I had noticed a change in my body and was worried. The uncertainty of not knowing and waiting for results took three stressful weeks, during which I slowed down my life to preserve mental, emotional and physical energy.
Thankfully, the tests showed something minor, something that can be fixed, easily. It was not the recurrence of my cancer that I had feared.
It was one of those big moments in my life, a big relief, a big reprieve which was screaming out for a treat.
Just like I had marked other milestones:
- a rescue dog after my cancer diagnosis: I needed hope and I think we have rescued each other
- a pair of earrings after my first chemo: The colour matching the headscarf I wore after I had my hair shaven off
- a dress for the first anniversary of my diagnosis: A style I had favoured in my teens.
These treats stood for attitude; they fulfilled an emotional need; they gave me strength and fueled my self-belief and dignity.
This time around, a friend suggested that I must celebrate the ‘all clear’ with buying something of value. Yes, that felt ok – let’s mark this moment of value with something of value.
But when I reached deep down into my heart, into what I really want and really need, right now, the answer was something much more substantial.
The closest I can describe it as is a treat that is soulful and inspirational. Not something I go out and get and buy, but something that is generated from within me.
It felt like the treat was to give myself permission for transition and change.
Going through the tests, feeling the fear, allowing it and coping with it, all the mental, emotional and physical preparation and self-care I had undertaken – all that together felt like another stage of self-growth – strengthening my intuition and internal wisdom. No purchase or present could ever match that.
And looking back, I had connected with that transition well before I was given the ‘good news’ by the medics, and before the final test had even happened.
I remember the moment when I was waiting in my hospital cubicle to be rolled out into theatre. I had felt then that I had changed and moved on, whatever the outcome. And I felt calm.
The treat for me is to make a change in my life now and not to delay until I think I am ‘more’ ready at some time in the future or to dismiss the idea altogether, because who knows, how long I might live, and who knows, I might be deluding myself… that is useless negative talk, easily done, but so destructive.
Acting now on the knowledge that something has shifted inside is a necessity, it is non-negotiable, it feels organic, it feels right.
I can trust that feeling.
It is integral to emotional development and healing. It is a gift I recognise, value and treasure.
My treat to myself is the acceptance of the emerging desire, that I want more in life. There is a restlessness telling me, that I am not yet done. Something is around the corner, if I allow, whatever is happening.
Because nobody will come knocking on my door or your door with an invitation ‘to think big … to aim high … to move on’.
Change brings uncertainy. A little treat like earrings or an outfit doesn’t change the world we are used to. My soulful treat may lead me to make new choices. It may lead to uncomfortable moments, which can be part of change. Who knows.
Needless to say, you do not need to go through a major health anxiety to deserve a treat and to make change happen, now.
Starting a piece of your future now, that does not need to be a treat.
Starting your future now might be right, because the time is right and because you are ready.
So, don’t delay.
Karin Sieger is a psychotherapist and writer. She specialises in supporting people through anxiety, bereavement and life-changing illnesses like cancer. Her blog is Between Self and Doubt. You can follow her on Twitter and can sign up for her newsletters here. For more information visit KarinSieger.com.