Why Do I Feel Bad When I Spend Money On Myself?

I used to have so much trouble spending money “just for me.”

In college, I worked three jobs, volunteered, and tithed hundreds of dollars to my church … and I couldn’t pull the trigger on a $15 gift for myself.

Before I graduated from Vassar, I wanted to buy a coffee mug from my favorite cafe … but I couldn’t do it. Spending money on that “selfish” purchase was too anxiety-producing.

Why do I feel bad when I spend money on myself? I wondered. 

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The Price We Pay for Delaying Decisions

What do you do when you’re not sure about a decision?

If you’re like me, you debate it endlessly in your own mind. You go over the pros and cons. You try very hard to figure out what the best choice might be.

But all of this striving is exhausting. And often, we expend so much effort trying to make the “perfect” decision that we don’t make a choice at all. 

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Do More of What Feels Like Magic

There’s nothing kids love quite like feeling “grown up.” Give them some responsibility, and they’re hooked.

At least, that’s how I felt when I worked in my dad’s home office. My dad has his own business, and when he had invoices to mail, he let me help him prepare the envelopes.

This was thrilling to me. As a small child, I loved pressing the return-address stamp onto the black ink pad. I loved the stamp’s disappearing act, the swivel that made the raised letters come and go.

One moment, there were no words in the upper left hand corner of the envelope, and then next, there were several lines of text. Amazing!

Sure, I enjoyed pressing the stamps too, but I didn’t begrudge my younger brother Willie taking on that task instead. For me, the magic was always in the words.

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