Allowing Yourself Indulgences
"You can't always get what you want" say the Rolling Stones, but is that totally true? What if you could experience the essence of what you desire, even if it doesn't come exactly as you might have specified?
As a general rule I try not to deprive myself of the essence of anything I desire. When I want something that I may not know how to get in the moment, I don't pout and feel sorry for myself. Instead, I try to think of what my desire represents to me energetically. And when I figure that out, I then try to find an experience that aligns with that energy.
For instance, if I want to take a vacation but I am currently too busy to get away, I just think of the essence that vacation represents to me. This could be relaxation, "me time," adventure, self-care, and so on. Then I think of other ways I can experience these feeling in the present moment. If it's relaxation I seek, I can treat myself to a spa day. If it's "me time" I want, I can take a long bath and then read a book while I drink hot chocolate. And if it's adventure I seek, I can try a new restaurant or activity or join a new social group.
I've always felt that the energy of depriving yourself of what you enjoy does not ultimately make you feel good. I know this sounds simplistic, and maybe even a bit irresponsible to some but, in fact, allowing yourself to indulge in your passions, even if on occasion, will actually invigorate you and make you more productive in the long run. But that's only true if you don't feel guilty about it or regret it afterwards.
Think about someone who diets. If that person never gives themselves slack they might stay the course for a while but eventually they will be likely to binge or give up on their new habit. Why? Because it's human nature to want pleasure in life and, as Spartan as we think we need to be in order to achieve a certain goal, we will inevitably end up resenting not only the goal but also ourselves.
Some of us can afford more indulgences than others but that doesn't mean there isn't some way we can all find to enjoy ourselves in life. Not everyone has a strong financial foundation or support system and so responsibilities become more pressing than thinking of ways to live it up. However, if we are too hard on ourselves for too long we will drain the joy out of our lives, which will cause us to feel uninspired and apathetic. So no matter your obligations in life, you deserve to fit your passions into your life experiences in some way, and by doing so you will be an inspiration to others as well. This is what we call balance, where you are not necessarily over-indulging like a hedonist but you are also not depriving yourself like a martyr.
If you can afford a trip to Bora Bora (time or money-wise), great. If not, you can buy a travel magazine and create a collage of places you want to visit or you can grab a guidebook and start planning out where you would want to go. Getting inspired is the first step in manifesting the essence of what you desire. But cutting yourself off from imagination, dreaming, and experiencing what you love will not get you any closer to your end goal.
So the next time you think, "No, I couldn't!" think of ways that you could. Use your glorious imagination to come up with a way, big or small, that you can bring more pleasure into your life right now. But the important part is to be mindful with it. Savor the experience and be present while you are enjoying yourself. Then you will get the most out of it.