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Q. I’m the mother of several young children. My husband makes a decent living, but I struggle when it comes to spending money on myself. I have struggled with this issue since I was a child. I still recall my mother whispering to the saleslady to tell me a that robe was half its price so I would allow her to buy it. I have no problem spending money on the basics, such as groceries, doctors, and even part-time cleaning help. However, before Yomim Tovim I have a hard time buying clothing for my myself. I tend to buy cheap clothing that I don’t like, and when I go into better clothing stores, I start sweating when I notice the prices and often leave the store without purchasing anything. My husband always tells me that he’s happy I’m not a spender and that he feels bad for husbands’ whose wives spend a lot. I know my issue doesn’t sound like much of a problem, but I would like advice about how to spend more money without feeling guilty. 

A. You sound like an exceptionally good-hearted person. Both your parents and your spouse are lucky to have such a caring and sensitive person in their lives. That said, I cannot imagine how painful it must be to go into stores and begin sweating until you need to leave. It sounds to me like the notion of spending creates guilt. What would happen if you  learned to replace guilt with self-love? If you’re worried that once you “learn” how to spend you will never stop spending, I don’t believe that would ever happen to you. It sounds like you disliked spending money from a young age. 


In order for you to learn how to replace guilt with self-love, I’d like you to engage in a short mindfulness exercise. Close your eyes and imagine a river flowing towards you. However, instead of water flowing in your direction, imagine things you like, such as beautiful clothing, flowing in your direction. Continue to keep your eyes closed and imagine feeling like you deserve all the good things flowing your way. Tell yourself that you are cherished and loved and deserve good things. Now open your eyes and take out a piece of paper. On one column write down 12 positive attributes that make you deserve good things. On the opposite column write 12 things you want to buy because of how loved and cherished you are. 


For the next three months, every week, chose one positive attribute from the list and turn it into a positive self-affirmation. For example, if you wrote down that your children always come first, replace it with “I’m selfless.” Repeat that self-affirmation ten times a day for the next week. Simultaneously, every week chose one item from the opposite column and force yourself to buy it while saying the positive self-affirmation. For example, the week that you tell yourself that you are selfless, buy yourself a pretty accessory you have been eying. While purchasing it, give yourself an inner hug and tell yourself that you deserve it because you are selfless. Then continue to do this on a weekly basis until you complete the list. Copy and paste this exercise after three months until you are able to buy things you like without experiencing guilt. 


You might find this exercise difficult but remember that you are engaging in it to empower yourself and notice your true inner value. I wish you lots of hatzlacha and the ability to fargin for yourself the way you do for others. 

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