Beliefnet
Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

purseRetail Therapy has become a popular term lately. It’s often said in a joking way that someone is going for retail therapy because they have a problem. But, shopping to make yourself feel better usually doesn’t make you feel better beyond the moments of a purchase, especially when the bills come. Only working on yourself and resolving what’s wrong or your feelings about something that hurt you can bring you real peace and joy.

Shopping can take your mind off of a problem or hurt but doesn’t make it go away.

Our society encourages people to turn to material things to find happiness, but that’s not where it comes from. People use retail therapy to soothe a variety of wounds, fears and inadequacies. You may be feeling down, had a romantic break up, made a mistake at work that was embarrassing, or some other negative feeling or experience. Loneliness is also a common reason people shop. But shopping is a very short-lived fix when you feel out of control in other areas of your life or you need a pick-me-up.

You might head for a shopping center or your favorite online shopping sites to find some relief. But no matter how much you buy, the problems that drove you to shop don’t go away with purchases. I’ve worked with people who ran up huge credit card bills in an effort to soothe themselves. They sadly admitted to emotional shopping for things they hadn’t even taken out of the bag yet. Emotional shopping is often impulsive. You may not need what you buy so it just sits in a closet as you pay the bills.

Retail Therapy makes you buy things you don’t need and may not be able to afford easily, all in an effort to heal emotions that don’t feel good.

But this kind of therapy isn’t very effective. If you get an urge to shop when you’re upset, call a friend first. Talk it out. Go to a real therapist if this becomes a pattern. You have to deal with what’s making you need to buy things in order to feel better! Purchases are like Band Aids that fall off quickly and leave the wound as raw as when you put it on. Leave shopping for when you’re in a good mood and actually need stuff. Love yourself enough to work on what’s bothering you so the negative emotions can leave for good!
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