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29 June, 2007

Life's little luxuries

'Prosperity Denial'... describes an unfounded resistance to spending money on minor indulgences, even though one's personal wealth and prosperity allow for it.
A quote from a Psychology textbook?  No, it's from 'Local Choice', a monthly compendium of adverts padded by 'advertorials', distributed ("free!") to 50,000 Lancastrians to promote local commerce and make people spend, spend, spend.  Hard-sell junk mail, really.

I don't want to 'indulge' myself.

This isn't asceticism; what my mother would crudely term 'being miserable'. I see no inherent virtue in self-denial – one might indeed feel 'miserable' if one wanted something yet resisted/denied the desire. However, I don't see any potential unhappiness in not having something one didn't want anyway.

I gain no pleasure, guilty or otherwise from 'indulging' myself, or 'spoiling' myself. Perhaps it's an offshoot of my personal morality: if there isn't anything I 'shouldn't' do (within reason) or buy, then there's no frisson to be gained by 'being naughty'. If I want a CD, I can afford a CD, so I'll buy a CD. There's no "I shouldn't really... oh, go on, then". If a premium-priced crayfish & rocket sandwich catches my eye when I'm choosing lunch, I might buy it, but not as some sort of gift to myself.

I have major trouble comprehending the concept of 'comfort buying': buying to feel better about oneself. Frankly, I think that's pathetic.
It would be utterly alien for me to think "I'm having a bad day; I'll have a frivolously expensive coffee to make me feel better". It wouldn't. The caffeine might have some effect, but not the fact of having spent additional money on myself.

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