We’ve all heard of or self-diagnosed ourselves with one of the five love languages developed by the author Gary Chapman. For me, I am someone that receives love through words of affirmation and acts of service. When my partner tells me that I am doing a good ass job, comment on my ridiculous glow after my 20 layer sheet mask self-care session, or a generally nice sentiment, my heart starts beating triple time. When my partner does small (or large) acts of service like washing the dishes, making up my bed, rubbing my shoulders without me asking, I feel loved and appreciated. Then I started to think, what is the way that I show love? How do I express my feelings of affection when I like a potential or current partner? I am a gift giver. I love to give tokens of appreciation to people that I love. Whether that person is my friend, my son, or some guy that has my attention at the moment, I like to give them things that I think they would like. It is how I show my affection. Then I thought, why don’t I show myself love in that same way? Why don’t I give myself just because gifts to brighten my day or as a way to commemorate an accomplishment?
Aside from my anxiety around spending money on myself that isn’t exactly necessary, giving myself gifts has always seemed pointless. Like obviously I know what I want, right?! Buying myself a new saute pan or a necklace somehow held less meaning if I had to spend my own money on it. Since this quarantine started, therefore eliminating all social interactions with people other than the Amazon delivery guy or gal, I have decided to not allow my moments that should be commemorated with gifts pass me by. Since we’ve been quarantined, my birthday, Mother’s Day, and the end of my second to last grad school semester have passed. All of those events deserve celebration. For the people that I love, I give gifts both big and teeny, tiny small. For myself, I deserve the same thing. Buying myself the things that I want as a way to celebrate my accomplishments or just because is like myself showing myself love the way I would others.
Now, I am no millionaire which means that I can’t go out and shower myself in gifts for every miniscule milestone that I hit. The art of giving myself gifts consists of figuring out why a situation or accomplishment or occassion is worth gifting. That is what makes them special. I am not buying myself a pair of shoes every time I sharpen my son’s pencils to the perfect point. But, when a me holiday comes around, I have worked hard to achieve something, or I have hit my own personal goals, you’re damn right that I am going to make Amazon rain down on me.
Giving gifts to other people, I do it to show them that they are important and I want to celebrate them in that way. It is to show them that I am thinking of them. It is my way of showing affection, care, and well love. Giving gifts to myself, it is the way I show myself the same thing. It’s my way of saying “Happy 30th, girl!” or “Congrats on ending your semester without going postal” or “Way to go on keeping a human being alive for 7+ years”.
I will end this by saying that for my 30th birthday last year, I went on a trip to Atlantic City with my friends and boyfriend at the time. At the end of the night, my boyfriend at the time pulled me to the side and gave me two blank greeting cards, inside of a plastic convenience store bag. He said “I got you when we get home” and that gift never did come. I was hurt and quite embarrassed at the time. The actual gift didn’t matter as a heartfelt note in the card would have really been plenty. I felt like I didn’t deserve even that. Gifts from my friends and family will always be a wonderful surprise but I will not allow a milestone or an achievement to pass without me showing myself the love that I show to others.