I spent $30 on a pair of underwear. And actually I bought 3 pairs. And then I hated them.
For the several months since that purchase, I’ve forced myself to wear them, grumbling each time I put them on, shimmying awkwardly throughout the day as they rolled down into a weird shape (they are high-waisted and a bit too snug).
When I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t like them, I felt so guilty. I spent ALL THIS MONEY on pretty underwear, I wasn’t allowed to not like them.
Did guilting myself make me like them more? Did wearing them and being comfortable give me back the money I had spent?
No. It just compounded my suffering.
Of course, I was bummed I didn’t like them. I was sad that I’d spent money on them. But that was done now. I had a choice for how to proceed: I could continue to remind myself of how much money I had spent and continue to feel guilty for that decision. Or I could let myself off the hook. Stop wearing the underwear and let the past go.
I think we often feel the need to punish ourselves when choices we make don’t go the way we’d hoped. Or we have to “get our monies worth” whether or not we are actually gaining anything from a past purchase. I was trying to squeeze worth out of a purchase that I hated. And instead, I forced myself to be uncomfortable and constantly reminded of something that made me feel guilty. When I realized that I had a choice – that I could simply stop causing myself suffering, I was liberated! This is a critical moment in the path to becoming a minimalist. The moment that you stop letting stuff control your feelings. The moment that you realize you can simply let go of decisions, or purchases, you’ve made in the past and allow yourself to be at peace.