After hitting the mall to take advantage of Labor Day sales and do a little shopping for my family, I bought a small cup of coffee and sat back for a few relaxing minutes to people-watch, which is one of my favorite activities.
I noticed happy couples, and couples who looked like they were arguing. I noticed delighted toddlers, excited to be waddling around in a new location and a few older tweens begging and cajoling their parents for who-knows-what toy, book, or must-have accessory. I noticed groups of teenagers with no bags, just hanging out, and groups of teenagers who were overloaded by new purchases.
And then I began to notice the people who were not in groups. Particularly the women who were alone, like me, sipping coffee. They were of different shapes, races, sizes. Some had bags and some didn’t, and as I covertly checked them out I felt a sort of shared misery. (I could completely be projecting on them, of course, I didn’t actually ask them what they’re thinking.)
I remembered a shopping conversation I had with a woman I work with. She’d had to buy a dress for a friend’s wedding, but she was furious with herself for being overweight. She had been trying to lose weight for a year, but kept slipping off her diet. When it came time to order the dress, she’d ordered it online—two sizes too small for her current weight. She promised herself she’d lose the weight in time for her friend’s wedding.
The weeks passed, and my friend lost a little weight, gained a little back, lost a little more—the same pattern that she’d been at for a year before. No miraculous changes occurred because she had ordered the dress in a smaller size.
The day of the wedding came, and she wedged herself into this beautiful dress. The pictures are lovely, but I know she was uncomfortable the whole time.
Anyway, as I remembered her experience and the discomfort of shopping when you feel bad about yourself, I grabbed my notebook and wrote down a list of the ways that negative body image can hurt your wallet!
- Buying something that is too small and doesn’t feel comfortable, so you never wear it.
- Spending too much money on something that you don’t really love, but that you feel hides your flaws.
- Getting an unbudgeted new outfit or new beauty products as a little “pick me up” to make you feel better, because you feel out of shape or unattractive.
- Going overboard with buying new makeup, creams, or accessories to make you feel beautiful—unfortunately, the joy only lasts a few minutes.
- Going out to eat, or to drink, even though you’d planned to eat in to save money, to give you a break from feeling bad about yourself.
- Being scared to return something that doesn’t fit, because it’s “your own fault” for not losing weight.
Do any of these sound familiar? If so, leave your experience in the comments section!
How can we stop this? It starts with gratitude. Really. All of the actions I listed below are actions that are taken out of a scarcity mindset—they are all mistakes that people make with money out of FEAR.
Before you shop, make a list of the clothes you feel most successful and attractive in. Write down why you’re grateful for those items. Think of all the amazing things your body can do and has done for you. If you calm your mind and spirit, you’ll make better shopping decisions that reflect your values and support what you really want out of life.
And remember, YOU ARE ENOUGH! Right now, just as you are. You don’t need to lose weight OR get a new outfit to embrace your divine abundance.
The Abundance Loop is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or order from your favorite bookstore.