See that photo above? It’s a $1.49 daffodil bouquet from Trader Joe’s, but this photo means something to me because of all the history behind it. That photo is important to me because of what you don’t see: the mindset shift that enabled me to stop denying myself the things that don’t cost much but make me very, very happy. The shift that finally let me actually BUY THE FLOWERS.
There was a time when I would never buy myself flowers, just because, unless I really “needed” them. (And by my definition, I would never need them.) It’s not that I couldn’t afford a $4 bouquet, it’s that whenever I thought about making a purchase like this, my inner critic would pipe up to say, Is this really necessary?
I hate that this inner policing is something with which many people—especially women—continue to struggle.
I have a book coming out called Don’t Overthink It. What I’ve learned is that we know overthinking pulls our thoughts in unhelpful directions, as we pursue threads of worry, remorse, or regret. But we may not realize that overthinking also prevents us from welcoming good things into our lives. We think our way out of happiness, over and over. We cut ourselves off from life’s small pleasures, talking ourselves out of potentially good things and wasting a lot of mental energy in the process.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can treat ourselves gently, and with kindness. We can give ourselves permission to enjoy something that exceeds the minimum we need to get by. We can appreciate the good things in front of us without feeling guilty about them.
Readers, I shared these thoughts on Instagram last week, and asked readers to answer the question, What small things bring YOU joy? What are the things that don’t cost much—sometimes don’t even cost anything—but deliver an outsized amount of happiness.
For me, that means buying the grocery store flowers. I pay a little more for pens that are a pleasure to write with. When I’m feeling really indulgent, I pay extra for guacamole.
I loved reading your answers. (Talk about a little thing that brings me great happiness!) Some of the things you mentioned on Instagram were:
- An afternoon cup of coffee or tea
- Local honey for tea
- Souvenir bookmarks
- Hot epsom salt soaks
- Good pens
- Woodwick candles
- Eating off the “good” plates
- Spending extra for decent toilet paper
- “Fancy” yogurt
- Cooking magazines
Here are a few comments that made me smile, in readers’ own words:
• “Last time I bought flowers, I bought two bouquets. Then I gave the second bouquet to the cashier and asked her to gift it to the woman behind me in line. It was double the pleasure hoping that she would enjoy the flowers as much as I did.”
• “Sometimes just an afternoon coffee or even a Diet Coke with lunch instead of water can turn my day around ☺️”
• “I bought the nail polish color I’ve been eyeballing for two years but my inner critic wouldn’t let me buy it because it was more than I would pay for nail polish. But I bought it and I LOVE IT.”
Readers, I would LOVE to hear what small things bring you joy. Leave a comment below telling us all about it?
And even better, we’d love to see a photo of your favorite small indulgence—a simple thing that brings you a whole lot of happiness. Please share on your favorite social media platform, using the hashtag #buytheflowers (even if your thing isn’t actually flowers) so we can all oooo and ahhh and get inspired.
I can’t wait to see what you share.
P.S. I’d love for you to hear more of this story in my own words: click here to listen to me read Chapter 13 of Don’t Overthink It, called “Small Shifts toward Simple Abundance.” Happy listening!