The Importance of Treating Yourself

True story: when you type in “why you should treat yourself” into google, the first article that pops up is from Oprah.com. Classic, am I right? “You get a treat, you get a treat, and you get a treat!”

In the opening, the author (I’m sure Oprah is too busy promoting Weight Watchers or planning one of those rustic-yet-lavish dinner parties in the middle of the meadow to actually write this) defines “treat yourself” as this:

Unlike a reward, which must be earned or justified, a “treat” is a small pleasure or indulgence that we give to ourselves just because we want it. We don’t have to be ‘good’ to get it, we don’t earn it or justify it.

Interesting, isn’t it? The phrase, after all, isn’t “reward yo’self.” Why not though? Up until now, I (Kelsey) have kind of used the phrase with interchangeable meaning. And, to be honest, I disagreed with the distinction at first (sorry Kween Oprah)—especially with the “earn it” part— mainly because people can take that and run with it, claiming it can lend itself to self-absorbance. But then Oprah’s minion dropped this truth bomb: treating ourselves promotes self-control, reinforces good habits, and appeals to the part of our human condition that seeks comfort and nurturing. In other words, it’s not being selfish; it’s being self-compassionate, which psychology professor Kristen Neff defines as “treating yourself the same way you’d treat a friend.” So, basically, it's like rewarding yourself, but giving yourself a big hug while doing so.

And as it turns out, science backs all of this up. Studies have shown that the act of showing self–compassion creates better reactions to failure and promotes your access to success. Moreover, showing yourself a little love improves your mental state, as in it combats depression and anxiety and helps you sort through the negative things in your life.

We sometimes forget that we need to show love to everyone, including ourselves. We are wonderwomen in our different respects, whether we are on our feet all day, teaching kids and jumping through hoops while doing so, being #bossbabes at the office, or running after our kids all day at home. And when it comes to filling other’s cups, you have to fill your cup first.

Of course we’re not talking about going balistic here and eating french fries for every meal for the rest of the week, or to go buy that purse that is impossible to fit into your budget. We know that that "indulgence" was included in the aformentioned quote, but we need to bring it down a notch. Let’s think more along the lines of getting that sparkling water, watching old SNL skits for a break (may I reccomend this one), letting yourself buy that thing at Target that you’ve been eyeing, or heading to a barre class *wink wink*. Or okay, yes, eating that cupcake because life’s too dang short to do otherwise.

So go ahead. Treat yo'self.

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