One of the biggest challenges we face while living in such an abundant world with so many options is knowing how to indulge appropriately. What does that even mean? It’s about finding a way to treat yourself and to do that well.
What I mean by that is if you’re constantly treating yourself, is it really a treat?
My mom always says that even too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing. We appreciate things and can fully enjoy them when we experience them in moderation. When we don’t experience something everyday, we miss it and recognize the value it adds when we do actually experience it.
A really practical example to think about is the classic dilemma of whether or not to have that slice of cake. While we might think that treating ourselves means indulging every time we crave a piece of cake, always saying yes to that slice of cake probably isn’t very good for us and our health. In fact, if you’re having a slice or two everyday, you’re probably not enjoying it as much. But just because cake is unhealthy, it doesn’t mean that enjoying a slice every so often isn’t healthy. Actually, I think saying yes to that cake–when we’re really craving it or when we’re celebrating a special occasion–is probably a really healthy choice for your overall wellbeing.
It’s the little things, like enjoying a delicious piece of cake, skipping out on that happy hour you really don’t want to go to, sleeping in on the weekend, that make life feel worthwhile and enjoyable. And because we don’t always choose those things, when we do, they really feel like a treat.
Beyond that, I try to remind myself daily that as much as we have to work hard, save for a rainy day, and build up towards where we want to go in life, tomorrow is not guaranteed.
And so, being able to enjoy the journey by indulging appropriately makes all the difference.
It’s everything in moderation, whatever that means to you. True discipline is actively making choices that work for you. And remember, you are constantly in flux, whether that’s your mood, your physical condition, or your focus for the day. How you’re feeling and what you need is continuously changing. To know what you need takes the self-awareness of knowing who you are in a given moment in time and space. That particular context in which you are making a decision is so important.
Yes, it probably is really bad to binge watch TV and eat chips five days a week, but if you’ve had a really stressful week at work, that’s probably the best thing you could on a Friday night. That is especially true if the other ways you were thinking of releasing that stress include harmfully overindulging. It’s all about being honest with what you really need and then giving yourself permission to actually do what you want. This is especially true if it conflicts with what other people think you should want. Being able to tune out the noise and honor your needs is the kind of balance that’s going to mentally and emotionally sustain you to make really good choices.
featured image by Aspyn Ovard