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Why I don't feel guilty when I shop for myself

I have a confession to make.

I love to shop.

Strolling around the mall brings me joy. I love visiting my favorite stores. I love trying on clothes and shoes. I love going to bookstores and checking out books by my favorite authors. I even linger in the stationery section because I love notebooks, pens, and almost any kind of paper product imaginable.

But before you label me as another Becky Bloomwood, let me tell you that my love of shopping hasn't reached (and I promise you, will never reach) shopaholic heights. Modesty aside, I have everything under control, and I'm quite good at budgeting.

Dealing with a mental health disorder has taught me to pinch every penny I have. The cost of my medicines has hammered my wallet and bank account. But now that I am feeling better and my medicines are being tapered down, I am now able to save more.

The timing is just perfect. My fiance PM and I are preparing for our wedding. Now that I am spending less for my medicines, I can put more into our wedding fund. One of my aunts and uncles from the States also sent me some help. With that, plus what I am now being able to set aside, I have paid for half of the cost of my wedding dress. Soon, I will make a downpayment to my hair and makeup artist. PM and I will also buy other props that we need for the wedding festivities.

I have also bought a few things for myself. One afternoon, after a session with my psychiatrist, I went to Glorietta and SM Makati and bought two new pairs of shoes and three new blouses. Before shopping, I even told my psychiatrist if I should do it. It was bound to make me feel good, and I was afraid I would go overboard. But Dr. G assured me that no, I wouldn't, and that I should go ahead. As long as I would shop within my budget, I would have nothing to worry about.

I see shopping not as an impulse but as a way to reward myself. Maybe this is one of the keys to not going overboard. When I have accomplished something (whether it's finishing an article, editing one, or getting through a depressive episode), I reward myself. It's my way of telling myself, "Hey, you did it. Congrats!"

So the next time you're staring at a store window, looking at a dress you fell in love with, go ahead and buy it for yourself. Just know your limit (a.k.a. your budget), and stick to it. Go ahead and buy those gorgeous shoes. Go ahead and treat yourself. Shopping for yourself doesn't make you a shopaholic. It just means you know how to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.

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