In this journey, I learned that h
I used to feel helpless in a store. I couldn’t help myself. I would walk out of stores with way more than I initially anticipated and would forget to buy what I intended to buy. I was too familiar with the “Target moment” where I always spend way too much on things are not on my list. I was also that person who just had to buy something because it’s on sale even though I didn’t need it.
Funny thing is, I worked in marketing! I knew the trick. I knew the business but yet I was falling for them way too easily. What was wrong with me?
I found out that the biggest underlying issue was that I did not believe I was good enough or deserving of value. I craved to feel good enough for the world but I didn’t know how.
It didn’t help that I looked up to the wrong kind of influence: shallow-minded and materialistic people. Stuck in the “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality. I confused the value of things with the value of self.
I was shopping in hopes of adding value to my life by buying things that I thought would make me look cooler or more respected. It felt so empowering to go up to the cash register to buy whatever I wanted, whenever. I was hooked on the exciting feeling of retail therapy.
My insecurities caused me to blindly follow trends and buy unnecessary things that, in the end, made me feel less than. Instead of feeling more confident, I felt lost because I didn’t understand why I didn’t feel “good” after buying things anymore.
Shopping has turned into an addiction and I relied on it for too long. Low doses didn’t cut it anymore. I was buying more expensive things yet still didn’t feel good so I bought more. It was a vicious cycle.
Thousands of credit card debts and a few broken relationships later, I’ve learned my lesson.
How did I break the cycle?
The problem was that I relied on things to transform me into someone I’m not. I wanted to be someone so bad but I didn’t know who that was. I thought a certain lifestyle would elevate my status, fix my insecurities and be finally good enough. I was wrong.
I worked on my inner peace by establishing self-worth. I needed to stop decorating the outside and start decluttering inside. I stopped seeking approval from others and focused on my own happiness. I sat and listened to myself until I knew who I was and who I wanted to be.
1. Discovery Phase: evaluate and reflect
In 2016, I had a wake-up call. I love birthdays but that year, it was terrible. I was emotionally drained and mentally done. As I listened on the phone while I was being yelled at, all of a sudden I found the will to ask myself:
“Is this the life I want to continue to live? Do I really want to continue subjecting myself to unworthiness?”
I was surprised by this because usually I just cry secretly and then go back out there to pretend it’s all ok. I thought that’s what bravery was. To swallow the pain and put on a face. Then I thought “but there’s also bravery in having a voice” —I preferred that kind.
I looked around and realized that I did not feel respected or valued by the company I kept. I felt out of place in every aspect of my life. I wanted the courage to change my situation and walk away from whatever makes me feel unhappy. I thought buying things was the only way I can manipulate myself into feeling happy —to have some sense of control in my life. But I am in control and I am responsible for my own happiness.
That day, I decided to walk away from what made me feel so unhappy, undervalued and unloved. As much as people hated me for being “selfish”, I chose myself. It felt good.
I was hiding under a facade. A happy version of myself who was really unhappy behind closed doors. I was too ashamed to show that I had lows because I’ve created this illusion of a perfect life. I was afraid others will see me as a failure. I cared too much about what others thought of me. I valued their opinions more than myself.
I did not value myself enough to think that I’m entitled to my own feelings or that I deserved better. I’ve allowed myself to be stepped on and did not think I was allowed to stand up for myself. I didn’t think I was important enough to have a voice because there were louder voices in the room.
I honestly still feel this way sometimes. It’s a work in progress but it’s worth it and I feel 100x better than I did three years ago.
2. Exploration Phase: self-discovery
In 2017, I worked hard on building the life I wanted for myself. At times it was tempting to give up because it was exhausting explaining to everyone that I’m doing this for my own good. I was getting used to saying no and standing up for myself. I learned that I didn’t owe anyone an explanation, I just continued to mind my own business.
The more I prioritized myself, the easier it was to make good decisions. Good things started to happen to me. I attracted the kind of relationships I wanted to build. Once I figured out who I was, I knew what I wanted.
3. Growth Phase: maintaining inner peace
When I met my friend over coffee months after my breakdown, she said to me “wow, it’s like you’ve upgraded in life. New home, new boyfriend, new job, new town. How are you feeling?” GREAT! I hadn’t thought about my progress until my friend brought it up. I felt so happy and so at peace. I noticed that didn’t decorate myself with anything fancy that day. I just came as myself. I realized that the right people will love me as I am
I became more intentional with the people I spend my time with. I became goal-oriented with my happiness in mind. I became focused on positivity and avoiding all negativity. Success meant having all the freedom to live joyfully.
Now, I can walk in an out of a store without buying unnecessary things. That’s how I know it worked.
4. Giving Phase: love others
Because I learned to love myself, I have so much to give now. I don’t have to compensate for anything anymore so the unnecessary spending has stopped. My happiness is no longer a facade. No more convincing myself that I am worth it just because I can buy fancy clothes. I already know my worth. I can feel like the happiest, luckiest girl in the world in my $3 pants.
I can fully love my husband without any underlying issues getting in the way. We don’t feel fear in anything that might get between us because we make it a constant conscious effort to choose each other. Just as we would choose ourselves when making decisions.
I love the life I live now and I cannot wait to help everyone feel this content and secure. Because of this journey, I’ve made a pact to myself that I want to be the kind of influencer who guides people to live a more meaningful life. I want to use this blog as a platform to promote self-compassion and inner peace. I want to boost you up and be the biggest support in your journey. You are loved! I appreciate you.
Thank you for reading. I hope you found this post helpful. <3