Today was actually a very nice day. I had initially planned to just go to church, come back and sleep. I ended up meeting a friend I met on Twitter for the first time in person at church (which was amazing!) , strolling through good ol’ Ikeja City Mall after church, doing some last-minute Christmas gift shopping for my family. Oh, and also trying out pizza from this fairly new place (Dodo Pizza) that was really yummy.
In the midst of all this, God taught me a life lesson. It’s amazing how He works really, using the seemingly mundane to expose you to yourself. With God, there’s no moment in time that cannot be converted into a teaching moment. What a Dad.
Today’s teaching moment presented itself while doing my impromtu last-minute Christmas shopping. I had gotten my mum’s gift earlier today, and somehow found myself at 1pm strolling through the aisles at MINISO searching for gifts for my dad and brother. I spent a good chunk of time in that store, because I was so confused on what to buy for these men. After what seemed like forever, I eventually climbed out of the valley of decision and settled on some choices, hoped that they would like what I got, and made my way to the counter. I got into a little small talk with the cashier (nice young lady, by the way) and I told her they were gifts. “Well, how come you didn’t get anything for yourself?”, she asked in the kindest tone. I remember mumbling out something about me coming back later to get something, but deep down I did not have a clue. Why didn’t I get a gift for myself? Why do I forget myself most times when I want to get gifts? I tried to brush those thoughts off my mind as I strolled to Mr Price.
At this point I genuinely wanted to do some window-shopping and leave, but then this army green sleeveless blouse with thick straps and white embroidery at the seams caught my eye, was actually in the price-tag that I could afford, and it fit me in the way I imagined it would when I tried it on. The lines were falling in pleasant places, and local girl was very pleased.
That part was easy.
The next phase, you know, where I actually purchase the blouse was where the mental battle was.
“What have you done that you are gifting yourself?”
“You can do it next year, you’ve already spent enough”.
I steadily made my way to the aisle as these suggestions kept ringing loudly in my ears. I was about to set the blouse down in front of the cashier to pay for it.
I went back to the aisle where I picked up the blouse to return it and leave the store.
I dropped it.
I picked it up again.
To give the full picture, I was by myself as I did all these. Anyone watching me through this process must have thought I was confused. In honesty, I really was. Why was I finding it so hard to appreciate myself?
Learning to love yourself is a lifelong journey. For me, a part of that journey involved been okay with buying myself a Christmas gift. Reason? I am worth it. The end.
I do not need to fill a checklist of Things You Should Do Before You Consider Yourself Gift-Worthy. I just am. When I see myself through my Father’s lens, I am. I ignored the thought that suggested I postpone it to next year, because I knew well that when next year comes I will postpone it to next year, and the following year to the next, until I live most of my life without taking time out to appreciate myself.
I’m learning that one of the steps in learning how to receive love from others is to first learn to receive love from yourself. Show yourself the same love you require from others, extend yourself the same grace you give to others. Be kind to yourself in the same manner as you are to others. If it’s “nobody gave me Christmas gift” that is biting your heart this year, why not go out and get yourself one? The problem may not be budget, it could be your mindset. Some of these gifts are free. There are quite a few of us (coughs, Lagosians, coughs) that need to gift ourselves with uninterrupted sleep this season now that many offices are closing for the year. The intention behind these things matter; that you are appreciating yourself because you are worth it, that you value yourself and are not neglecting yourself as you tend to others. This life is not to be endured, it
Today’s events exposed this character flaw of mine to my face, and I am glad it did. I have a new blouse lying in my drawer, and I have a new resolve sitting in my heart.