It's not that I have that big of a problem buying things for myself, if buying things for the home counts. While Tanza acknowledges my home is an extension of me, she says it's not the same.
I'm not so sure I agree with that.
I do love to shop, though, and I'm happiest when doing it for others, and that includes the house, because it's not just for me.
My therapist says that's the problem. It's not for me.
Actually, I shouldn't be spending any money, but in the last 10 days, I've purchased three new pillows for the living room couches; two small plants and two ceramic pots; and a selection of golden-yellow plates, red bowls and orange mugs. (Be quiet; they do too match my décor.)
I spent hours shopping at six or seven different stores for these finds, none of which were necessary. I was frugal and selective, and so very happy with each lovely item.
So why don't they count?
Tanza's dead-on about one thing: No way would I have been just as thrilled getting things for myself. I would have felt … guilty. She says that's a self-esteem problem. I can't say I fully understand that. In time, with more work, I suppose I will.
We did have a little back-and-forth. What she calls self-confidence, I call arrogance - and as soon as I said the "a" word, I knew I was in trouble. She and I had talked about this before. It's a real problem for me.
As a child, I used self-confidence as a shield, a cloak, a protective cover. It's my default position to this day: If you met me in person, "shy" would be the last thing to come to mind.
Oh, but I am.
I would say most people find me easy-going, funny, intelligent. Then there are those who, for some reason, feel threatened - we all know people like this, don't we? - and they conclude I'm stuck-up. Arrogant. Intellectually I know that's their problem, not mine. It still stings.
I was 12 years old, riding the school bus on the way home. There was this really big girl, Cheryl, sitting in the back of the bus. She was old. A senior, I think. Loud and ill-mannered, we didn't know each other at all. And yet when the bus stopped in front of my house, Cheryl yelled for all to hear: Look at her! She's walking like she owns the place! Who does she think she is?
I was mortified, because it mattered more what others thought of me than I thought of myself. As I said, I was a straight-A student. I was already catching hell for that. Look at her! She thinks she's smart!
Huge portions of my childhood are missing from my memory, but not big, ugly Cheryl. Not bus 17. I was only 12. It had an impact. Call me anything you want, I don't care; just not arrogant.
Amazing how stupid things look when they're written down. That doesn't make a lick of sense, does it?
So, maybe I'll go out and buy myself a great pair of earrings. I have, perhaps, 100 pairs, so another truly would be the last thing I need. Next week, though, since I already blew my walking-around money on pillows and stuff.
But here's the real reason why I know I need to work on this self-esteem problem: My weight-loss goals truly are just for me, even though I'm doing it publicly because I want to help others who struggle. But if I'm having trouble seeing myself as a person of value who deserves to be happy and healthy, then it's just a matter of time before I'm able to convince myself I don't deserve to lose this weight.
As you become more clear about who you really are, you'll be better able to decide what is best for you - the first time around. ~ Oprah Winfrey
Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.