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“Treating” Yourself and Feeling Guilty For It

You’ve probably thought to yourself many times before “what have I done to deserve this nice thing” or “it’s not a special occasion so I shouldn’t buy this”. This can be especially true when your main priority has always been playing the role of superwoman. That’s just the thing, you don’t have to get a promotion or accomplish something major to do something nice for yourself. Yet, I understand that the notion of treating yourself and embracing luxuries may be harder said than done. Many women, particularly Black women, have been conditioned to feel guilty and selfish when it comes to buying things for themselves especially if it’s considered a “luxury”. Internalizing that narrative can easily make you feel and believe that you don’t deserve those things. This isn’t to say spend all your money so that you don’t have the means to live, but simply that it’s okay to treat yourself here and there. Here are some ways to start moving from “I don’t deserve this” to “Sis, treat yo’self”.

Get to the bottom of your guilt

To truly start embracing treating and allowing yourself to experience nice things, you may have to explore the source of your guilt. Has someone told you that you don’t deserve nice things?  Were you not able to have certain luxuries growing up so now it feels wasteful to do so? Whatever, the reason may be, acknowledge the guilt and its source. Ignoring the feeling will not make it go away and can make you feel worse over time.  

Reframe your thoughts and how you treat yourself

After you acknowledge the guilt and the negative thoughts that accompany it, then you can begin the process of challenging that notion. A good way to challenge guilt is by replacing your negative thoughts with self-compassion. Instead of shaming yourself, remind yourself that you deserve to do something for yourself and not just for special occasions.

Acknowledge the benefits

Treating yourself has many benefits that improve your mood. It’s a form of self-care and a major way to practice self-compassion. Self-care and nurturing yourself are especially critical when trying to reduce things such as depression, stress, and anxiety. If that doesn’t sell you the importance of treating yourself, consider it an act of kindness while navigating a life that isn’t always so kind. We deserve good treatment regardless of the things we checked off our to-do list or the number of people we care for. 

Start small and define it for yourself

When some people think of treating themselves, they may think of buying designer handbags or shoes that are trending on their social media feeds. Which is completely okay. Nevertheless, that doesn’t resonate with everyone, and it doesn’t have to. Doing nice things for yourself and embracing luxury could also look like getting your fave pastry and latte from a bakery or booking a staycation in the city you live in. You get to define what treating yourself looks like for you. Get familiar with what makes you feel good and make a list of ways you can treat yourself often. Start small and get acquainted with what you consider to be a treat. 

Get in sisters, we’re treating ourselves.  


Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Sisterhood heals
Order Now

Looking for the UK Edition?
Order here

Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Looking for the UK Edition? Order here