How I’m stopping myself from spending when I’m sad

**Note: I’m sorry this is a downer post, but I HOPE if anyone out there is feeling crappy and is about to pull the trigger on a pair of shoes they don’t need to fill the emptiness in their heart this helps a bit!**

This past week has been incredibly crappy. I’ve gotten sick, I miss my family, the weather is getting dreary, my job kinda sucks right now for various reasons, and (worst of all) I failed one of those qualification exams I took back in September. This means I have to retake it. This means all of those hours of studying were for nothing and the next five weeks of my life will be so boring and I will be reminded of my failure constantly because I have to study more.

I know a few people that basically waltzed up to the exam and passed. They didn’t try, they went out and partied, and they passed. I’ve been feeling stupid and worthless after getting my result. I didn’t want to see my friends or go to the park with my dog or anything really. I even think the stress of it might have caused me to get this cold. I honestly have never failed an important exam in my life, but I did have something similar happen to me and I hope sharing that experience will help anyone out there who’s saying to themselves “WHY is this happening to ME?!” feel like there is a light at the end of their tunnel, because right now I feel like this tunnel is my new home and I need a pick me up.

A little story that might make you feel better

My junior year of college I was seriously, seriously lost. I had changed my major like 5 times already, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be or how to choose. I decided I was going to take the LSAT (the entrance exam for law school in America) and get a big fancy scholarship to law school and then my life would be fine. I didn’t really know what else to do with my life, and people would only say really unhelpful things like “you can do anything!” when I asked for guidance.

Anyway, I studied for the LSAT every single morning before my internship throughout the entire summer, and then when I got back to school I did practice exams on Saturdays until October when the exam was. I felt like I put in the work, and the scores I was getting on the practices actually were where I needed to be to get a scholarship to a decent school.

On exam day I felt fine, nothing went wrong as far as I knew. When my scores can back, they were about 10-15 points lower than what I needed and had consistently been getting. I was completely shocked. I’m good at exams, so I cannot tell you how upset I was – and I mean for months. I felt cheated, and stupid and worthless. If I couldn’t do well on this exam then what could I be good at?! (Yes I know, only a little dramatic). I applied to some schools anyway and got some half decent offers, but by this point I was already so upset and confused I was completely over the idea of law school. I refused to take the exam again for the next year’s entry because I thought that would mean I was a failure even more. Ha! So I changed my major to business (safe, right?) and decided to plod on without a clear plan.

Why I’m glad it happened

Fast forward 4 or 5 years and I am honestly so, so grateful that I didn’t get the right scores. I would never, ever have met my boyfriend of 3 years who I love, I wouldn’t have made my best friend after I graduated, and I would never have moved to London and pursued a career that has opened so many doors for me. I wouldn’t have made all of my London friends who are people that I love so much. I wouldn’t have travelled to all these different places in Europe. I wouldn’t have changed in a lot of ways I never expected (for the better). I wouldn’t have started this blog!

What I’m trying to say is, sometimes you have a plan and a path and you’re SURE it’s right and going to make you happy, but sometimes you’re wrong. And I don’t know about you, but it is so, so easy for me to get caught up in saying ‘what if’ and ‘how come’, but it’s pointless and only makes me feel worse. I know right now I cannot understand why I failed this exam when so many other people passed and may have not “deserved” to, but I trust that there is a bigger and better reason and I may never even understand why this happened.

What I’m NOT gonna do

I normally decide to “treat myself” in moments like this, but just end up feeling even worse because I go over budget for something stupid and impulsive. But I’m promising myself not this time!! This blog has already helped me stay so much more accountable than I normally am and I am using it as a tool for staying on track.

SO – if you’ve had a few bumps in the road and feel like 18 pumpkin spice lattes and a new handbag will fix it – STOP RIGHT THERE. Pause and think, is this in my budget? Do I really, truly need this right now? Will doing something active or helping a friend actually help to take my mind off my current sadness/problem/anger/frustration instead? Should I go to the park and pet some dogs? (Always – yes).

If the answers to these questions are no, no, yes, and definitely yes then put down the credit card and pick up the sneakers. Go hang out with someone or take a long walk, but DO NOT beat yourself up. Even if you slip up a little, you’re just trying your best in this really difficult life so don’t punish yourself for buying that unnecessary throw pillow. Give yourself a break and find a way to channel your emotions through something productive or helpful.

What I AM gonna do

My mom always told me that when you’re feeling really down about a problem in your own life, focusing on helping other people with their problems will cure it – and it is hands down some of the best life advice I’ve ever received.

  • I am pledging to not buy anything out of budget for the rest of this month, even though all I can think about is binge shopping online and watching sad movies until I reach the bottom of this pit of sadness and frustration I feel – but I WON’T AND YOU CANT MAKE ME. (Not you, but like the metaphorical sad version of myself controlling my emotions right now. )
  • I’m going to call my sisters and listen to them rather than spouting off for an hour about my own life
  • I am going to write down 3 things I’m thankful for every day for the rest of October
    • Today: My boyfriend who supports me so much, my dog who makes me so happy by running around with a stick in her mouth, and being able to get a free coffee this morning from Waitrose (well since I bought a little snack) (bonus: and my cold almost being gone by the time I’m posting this!)
  • I am going to clean my apartment really REALLY well this weekend and purge a bunch of stuff…I may even document and share it with you guys!

If you read all that, you should reward yourself:

Anyway, here is a link to a really really sweet video of a dog doing cute stuff  during autumn, because that’s what you might need right now:

 

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mb

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5 thoughts on “How I’m stopping myself from spending when I’m sad

  1. Hang in there! I completely agree with you that, though you may not see it now, there could be an underlying reason for the path change. Sometimes I get to wondering WHY so much that it almost turns into a situation where I don’t focus as much on the issue!

    One time I missed a flight – first time EVER in a life with a lot of travel. After so many delays in getting to the terminal, it got to be ridiculous. I told my husband, “We’re missing this for a reason, only I don’t know why.” While boarding the flight they then put us on, I found out that my mom had just passed away. We were heading to a beach vacation for a long weekend. I was able to get off the plane, go back home and pack more appropriate funeral clothes and fly to my parents instead.

    Have a wonderful weekend and hope you’re feeling better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing that, it’s so helpful to share these experiences . Reminds us of what is really important in life 🙂 sorry to hear about your mom, but grateful you got to be where you needed to – it does all for a reason x mb

      Like

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