As she shakes her silky hair she tells us we are 'worth it'. When we buy our children the latest treat it is because we love them. When we are bought frivolous gifts it is because we are special. In an age of austerity is it about time we stopped attaching such emotional importance to the things we can no longer afford to buy?
As I approach 40 I have to admit that I am not a naturally thrifty woman by nature. I love beautiful things and have spent many a pound on decadent shoes and wallpaper that was so fine I wanted to peel it from the walls when I moved house.I am cursed with the affliction of having a good eye for detail in these matters and it has cost me dearly. I admired and wanted not only their beauty but the warm feeling of treating myself , to reward myself , to cheer myself up. Sometimes I even shopped in anger. After a bad morning in the office I charged into town and bought some hot, red ankle boots. Don't get me wrong I flaming enjoyed those boots, but it is only in retrospect that I understand my erratic purchasing treats and i'm not alone. Many of us buy things as a way of self medication as a way of telling ourselves we are worth it. The fact is, we are all worth it, the question should be, can we still afford it? There is no shame in being down at heel if you are going through tough times. Pulling your belt in should not be seen as an indicator of low self esteem but a good measure of common sense.
It is not only the things we buy ourselves that demonstrate our love. We are under increasing pressure to treat our children on a daily basis, as though a well turned out child is more loved than the next. It is as though buying that cheaper alternative for our cherished offspring is telling them that they are not worth it. It is a nonsense that has to stop. You cannot gild a lily , nothing that money can buy competes with that winning smile. Parents are encouraged to use sweet treats and gifts to reward good behaviour. They can have it when they have deserved it, when they have earned it. At some point wether they deserve it or not becomes immaterial . Many people simply cannot afford it despite working hard , despite being worth it. When we put so much store in the material, it is no wonder that purchasing power and self esteem are so inextricably linked.
So yes, at almost forty i'm still not a naturally thrifty woman, but old dogs can certainly learn new tricks. I put that critical eye to great effect in charity shops and sales, I am the bionic woman with my eagle eye. Beautiful presents will still be gratefully accepted on the big day but if times are tough let's just clink glasses. We are all in it together, not seperated by love tokens that don't tell us how much we are worth, but how much our family and friends currently have in the bank.
Buying a new pair of shoes today was about a hole in a sole not a hole in my soul and yes they were red. Old habits die hard and at half their original price they were most definitely worth it.