Today is Hallowe’en and as a mother I am seriously looking at all this candy I have bought to give away to the children who will come knocking and wondering if I can keep it. I start salivating like Homer Simpson and thinking, “Hmmm, maybe I could just shut the door and eat it all myself! or maybe I’ll just have a few Freddos or a handful of candy corn … But I really shouldn’t…”
Have you ever said, “Oh, I really shouldn’t” to anything you secretly wanted? I bet you have. We have all felt guilty at some point when indulging ourselves and Hallowe’en is a true test of willpower over guilty pleasures in my view. My love affair with candy started when I was very young and my dad would drive me to school in the “candy van”. It literally had shelves inside stocked with bubble gum, lollipops, chocolate and sweets! I would be on a sugar high just from inhaling the fumes by the time I got to school!
We all do this: binge on Netflix, have a few glasses of wine, eat loads of chocolate, or read dimestore romance novels hidden inside “real” books. No matter who you are, you have at least one guilty pleasure you believe that you “shouldnt” do.
But why can’t we? What is wrong with a guilty pleasure once in a while?
When we say something is a “guilty pleasure,” we are implicitly saying that there is something shameful about liking it. Sometimes that adds to the thrill but continued over time, this sort of shaming self talk can be very hurtful. When we shame ourselves and assign guilt to the pleasures, we are not only denying ourselves the TV show, the candy or bag of chips, we are telling ourselves that we are not worthy of the relaxation, happiness, and FUN with which we associate them, and that can lead to anxiety and depression in severe cases.
Taking care of yourself is essential to be the best version of you. You are worth it and that means honouring your desires as worthwhile acts of self-care not shameful deeds of guilt.
My wish for you...
Get rid of the “Oh I really shouldn’t…” and replace it with “I am honouring my need for something like this... right now... for me.”
We need our guilty pleasures because they work for us: food is comforting, a glass of wine is relaxing, TV is fun to watch, and sleeping in is bliss! Take the guilt OUT of the pleasure and ENJOY it. We deserve to treat ourselves, and to enjoy the things we like unconditionally. When we treat ourselves well, then we treat others well too.
Don’t worry about going overboard and eating ALL the candy this Hallowe’en because when you are mindful and practicing true self-care - you won’t do that because you are honouring yourself with self-compassion not numbing yourself against something else.
A place deep within you knows what you truly need. Sometimes it’s hard to hear your own wise inner voice, but LISTEN! When you listen and honour your desires, you tell yourself that you are worthy and then... everything changes.
Enjoy Hallowe’en AND the candy corn !
Shannon Young is an executive coach specialising in working mothers' wellbeing. Reach out for a chat about your situation regarding flexible working, burnout or work-life balance and let's talk about ways you can up level your performance without losing the balance with home. Book an intro session here on the home page