Self Reflection Part 1: What Do You Say? Is Shopping Therapeutic?

I turn 40 this year. No, I’m not dreading it, if anything I have more ambition and drive to live my next 40 years than I did my first. However, to succeed at making this happen I felt compelled to take some time for self-reflection. In doing so, I have made some discoveries and have a few dreams I’d like to see come to fruition. Needless to say, I have made some goals for the next 40 years.

In self-reflecting I have realized a couple things. 

Realization One. 

When I don’t feel well; stressed, bored or just ill-feeling, I want to shop. This is a behavior I’ve only noticed recently. My niece who is 18 said she has found this to be true of her as well. She said, “They really should call it therapy because it helps.” I agree. But in looking at this truth square in the eye, a red flag has been thrown for me personally.

I am a strong believer in anything I have being the Lords; money & heart especially. But I feel this tendency to self-medicate through shopping has caused me some major disappointments that led to setbacks in the past. For example, the night my brother was called to Afghanistan, there were some things he needed for his family and himself that he didn’t have the money for at that time. I wasn’t feeling well. (code phrase) 

Life had thrown my brother and I both in very opposite directions and we had been torn apart.We had recently reconciled and had begun to start reconnecting. The fear of losing him again had me in panic mode to be honest with you. I told him I would buy him whatever it was he needed. $1300 later, we parted and he headed out to board the plane. At least I knew he had all he needed. The fact is I didn’t care to ask God nor my husband if I should be spending this money. All I knew was my heart hurt, it was scared of losing my brother again, and I wanted it fixed. My brother had a need that I knew I could fix and in helping him it helped me…for a little while.

 A bit later I was on the phone with my husband telling him what had happened. I was so ashamed, even embarrassed of what I had done. It would have been different had I asked but I didn’t even care in the heat of the moment. I learned a hard lesson there. Back then we didn’t have the financials we do now. So it took some time to pay that back. 

The red flag raised in my conscience by this realization has made me intentionally avoid shopping sites. Instead I fill my camera with pictures, I fill my journals with thoughts as well as this blog. When I am not ‘feeling well’ I let my pen bleed for me as it scripts the thoughts and emotions I feel. I make myself face them. Confront them. I don’t hide behind a shopping cart. In-store or online. Not anymore. Just so that I am clear I still shop online but not like mall-shopping. I do use Amazon a whole lot. We do Subscribe & Save monthly shipments to keep us out of the stores.   

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How about you? 

Do you find shopping to be therapeutic enough to mask feelings and emotions? 

If shopping is far from you, how do you “feel better’ when you “don’t feel well?”