Here is a common pattern most of us struggle with:
We receive, or buy, or inherit, or are gifted, something
We pause and put off using it because…
- It’s beautiful,
- It’s expensive
- It’s a treat
- It’s special
- It’s hard to replace
- It’s hand made
- We were taught not to waste (insert any reason)
We comfort ourselves by giving ourselves rules.
- I will use it when…
- Save it for…
- Try it when…
- Use only a little bit in moderation
- Or pick a special occasion we will give ourselves permission to use it.
All of this comes from convincing ourselves we need a good reason to enjoy it or believing we need to meet a certain standard before we enjoy it.
What if we flipped this thinking on its head?
We have LOADS of rules for using things because we think these rules will make using this item better, more enjoyable, and increase the pleasure. However, what I have learned is the act of DECIDING to use something takes away the enjoyment. I believe that if we give ourselves permission to use something EVERYDAY we will actually enjoy it more, even if it results in it being used up, finished, or destroyed earlier than if we had saved it. At this point, you’re begging for some examples and I have just the thing for you. 😉
Let’s start with an item that society approves of wearing everyday: the engagement ring.
My engagement ring is the most beautiful, most expensive, most precious item I own and I wear it every single day. I am convinced a large part of the enjoyment comes from not having to decide when it’s appropriate to wear it or wondering if I’m overdoing it. I wear it, enjoy it, and use it, every single day. No excuses, requirements, or decisions are needed.
Now, what if it were not approved by society to wear your engagement ring everyday? When would you wear it?
For nice events?
On your anniversary?
Heck, it’s an expensive piece of jewelry and it’s definitely safer in a box, but that’s not what society dictates and it’s not what we do. Other examples of society-approved daily-use items are:
- Your phone
- Your watch
- Your computer
- Your car
- Your headphones
These are all items we use everyday and don’t have to decide when it’s appropriate. If anything, we use them too much (but that’s a different story 🙃).
Now let’s cover items that society does not encourage us to use everyday starting with specialty food items.
This summer I had a coupon for expensive granola that I never allowed myself to buy. It was delicious and I knew after this package was gone I wouldn’t be buying it again at full price. I also knew that in the past when I had bought expensive food and portioned it out slowly it forced me to decide every time if it was a worthy time to have it, and overall it took away from the enjoyment. For this granola I made a deal with myself: I could have this granola everyday and take it everyday for lunch, until it was gone. Making that decision made it so that I could fully enjoy it.
- No decisions
- No weighing the pros and cons of having it
- No holding back
- Everyday, until it was gone.
I know, this may sound crazy, “eat the granola, Gillian,” this is not a big deal. However, we do this ALL the time! We open something, decide there are rules for when we can enjoy it, and put ourselves through a decision vortex before enjoying it.
Last winter I bought a beautiful pea coat I had been eying for YEARS! (Seriously, I can’t even count how many women I stared at who were wearing this coat and pointed out how beautiful it was to anyone who would listen… I digress).
After having to borrow my husband’s pea coat for a special event I knew it was time, so I finally pulled the trigger and bought it. Now, this pea coat was expensive, I pride myself on buying most things second hand and this was way more than I usually spend. After searching for a while for this coat second hand in my colour and size I gave up and bought it new. Knowing that this coat would be labelled special just because of the price, I again made a rule for myself: you can wear this coat everyday, for any occasion.
- Going to work
- Going for a walk
- Meeting friends
- Running errands
- There was no task too simple or too lowly that this stunning, cigar pea coat wasn’t worthy of.
What did this do? It allowed me to fully enjoy this coat. I didn’t get caught up in arguing with myself, instead I seized any moment or opportunity to wear it. Recently, temperatures have dropped and I pulled out this coat for the first time this season and all the feelings came back. I love this coat, I know I will wear the heck out of this coat this season.
Other examples of everyday items:
My expensive face sunscreen. I found myself arguing ‘it’s cloudy, I won’t be outside much, I should save it.’ Nope, nada, not happening, wear it, use it, enjoy it. Daily wear, baby!
My candles for my morning quiet time. I am allowed to light a candle everyday, no special requirements needed.
My special long matches. I had made a stupid rule that I had to be lighting at least 3 candles to warrant using these fancy matches. How often was I lighting 3 candles? Never, so instead I use them everyday to light my morning candle.
Crystal drinking glasses for my gin and tonics. Every time I pour a drink this is what I reach for. Why? Because they make the experience so much better!
Now, this is a new way of using your stuff and I know it will come with lots of concerns and excuses.
By using my items everyday won’t I wear them out or waste them?
Yes, by using these items everyday you will finish them and wear them out quicker than if you wore them or used them a few times a season. Here is how I like to think about this: let’s say my sunscreen has 100 applications. I can either use those in 3 months or 1 year, it’s still the same number of applications. Same goes for my coat, it has the same number of wears whether I wear it every day of winter for 4 years or over 10 years.
By using my items more I’m at higher risk to break them or ruin them.
Yes, you definitely are! Everything would be safer kept in a secure box. However, this is not what these items were designed for! These items were designed to be used, enjoyed, and seen by the world.
Let me illustrate with a story. The other day I was putting away my engagement ring and dropped it. I could not see where it landed and ended up tearing apart my closet to find it. As I was looking for it the thought crossed my mind ‘If I never find this ring I will know I honoured it, enjoyed it, and loved it every single day.’ It was so comforting to me that I had used this item to its full potential. I eventually found it (it had landed in the rolled up sleeve of one of my dresses). This event reminded me that there are lots of opportunity for items to get lost, ruined, or wrecked, but that’s not what we need to focus on.
Won’t using these items everyday decrease the novelty and make them less special?
This is when I bring up my engagement ring and pea coat. I wear these items so much and so often that they have become companions. I love them so much more than the items I wear every once in a while. It’s a new level of specialness, they are my companions, they are my prized possessions, they are more than novel, they are precious to me. You know what’s even better than novelty and special? Feeling like your favourite items are your companion.
What if I look too fancy? The reason I save my special item is because I don’t want to be considered too much.
Oh girl I get it. ‘What will people think and am I too much?’ These are two of the biggest questions that hold us back. Listen, if I were to decide to wear my engagement ring based on what people would think it would never come out of the box. It’s shfancy, but guess what? I love it! Let them think what they want! My pea coat? Fancy as hell! It’s cigar coloured, my perfect colour, and it’s such a great shape. Guess what? I don’t care what people think, I love this coat! Let them think whatever they want, I love what I love and I love this coat!! A bonus of using something everyday is that the fanciness decreases but the specialness increases!
Are you saying I should use my good china everyday?
Yes! So many people have reached out to me saying they suddenly realized they could use their good china everyday and they aren’t looking back. I honestly believe a large part of this enjoyment is because they don’t have to decide to use it. Breakfast, brunch, or Christmas dinner, enjoy that pattern!
How to get started
Now, if this idea scares you and is so far from how you currently use your items, I’ve got you. Here is my recommended course of action.
First, choose ONE item you think is special, the thing you monitor and use in moderation
- Necklace, ring, bracelet, earrings
- Lotion, moisturizer, sunscreen
- Makeup (mascara, lipstick, blush)
- Loose leaf tea
Second, think of this item as your signature. This is just what I wear, use, eat, drink or smell like now. This is what I’m known for. No reasons, no requirements, no rules, just pure enjoyment.
Third, binge it. Use it whenever, wherever. I at least recommend using it everyday for the first week.
Take it in, enjoy it, savour it, revel in it. you are using your item as it was intended to be used.
As it becomes your habit to enjoy it everyday, ask yourself ‘has my enjoyment increased or decreased?’ In the beginning, there will be some trepidation. What if I spill? What if I look too fancy? Let those ‘what ifs’ spin as you enjoy your item.
Finally, as you become more comfortable using this item everyday, continue to think about other items that could become your default or signature.
Remember, by removing the rules, requirements, and reasons we remove the biggest thing that decreases enjoyment: the decision to use something.
What do you use every day? What do you struggle to use everyday? What would help you enjoy something everyday?
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