Monday, March 25, 2019

6 Things to Do to Dig Out of Feelings of Deprivation and Self-Pity

Financial set-backs tend to stir up the pity pot for me. So, this go-round, I'm being as proactive as I can. Here's the list that I'm following in order to ditch those feelings of deprivation.

  • make an abundance of good foods using your least expensive and abundantly-supplied ingredients, such as bar cookies, breads, yogurt, pudding, flavored popcorn, or granola. I find that if we have a lot of foods available to snack on or make quick meals with, we all tend to forget that our budget is much smaller.
  • use the good stuff -- sit in the living room that is usually reserved for guests, have dinner in the formal dining room, use the good china or silver, use those towels that you save for visiting guests, light candles. Our family tends to save the "good stuff" for guests only. Honoring our guests with those nicer belongings is a hospitable thing to do, but sometimes, we need to honor our own family and indulge in using those belongings which are set aside for special occasions. Using a really soft and stain-free towel can put a smile on my face and make me feel pampered.
  • this one is helpful when I am wanting "new" stuff -- refresh or refurbish some worn household or personal items, such as bleaching plastic cutting boards and white dish towels, ironing a few favorite shirts, dusting and tidying surfaces in your home, re-dyeing faded clothing, polishing leather shoes, scouring the outsides of pots and pans. We hear this a lot -- we live in a throw away society. We seem to have lost the tolerance for lived-in looking belongings. When something begins to look dingy, instead of restoring the item to its former appearance, it gets tossed into the giveaway pile and replaced with a new version. Not only is this wasteful, but it seems to change the way that I view my possessions. If a blouse looks limp, I no longer choose it to wear. If my dish towels are stained, I don't want them on display when guests are in the house. I have a faded black shirt sitting in the pile of clothing to be dyed soon. It no longer looks nice, so I've avoided wearing it this past year. It used to be a favorite shirt. Once it's re-dyed, I'm hoping it will come back into my clothing rotation. While I shouldn't base my self-esteem on the condition of my belongings, keeping my possessions in good order does make me feel better about myself.
  • take advantage of freebies, such as concerts in the park, or books, dvds, and magazines from the library, or free days at museums, or free giveaways at local fast food chains. There are a lot of freebies out there. How can someone possibly feel deprived while eating a free ice cream cone?!
  • set yourself up for some serious relaxation, such as a bath with essential oils, candles, and/or music, or lounge in the sun, or have a lie down with music in the background, or spend time in prayerful meditation. For me, de-stressing helps me find my way back to my purpose in this life, which in turn helps me to minimize the significance of a financial set-back.
  • this one is probably the most important (but often overlooked) thing to do when self-pity kicks in -- get outside of yourself and do something for someone who could use a little TLC. Volunteering is a great way to find those who could use your kindness and friendly smile. Seeing that someone else is also struggling can put our own situations into proper perspective and give us a sense of belonging to a larger pool of people. 
Is there anything you would add to my list of proactive steps?


20 comments:

  1. Don't isolate yourself. Find like minded people and have a potluck. Play cards or games. Make time to have fun and laugh. Have a Weiner roast where everyone else brings something. Get together for cookies and coffee...let others contribute. It will shake things up so you don't feel deprived. Often guests will leave you leftovers that yield lots of food....and yield an invitation to their home next. Friends make bumpy ride a lot smoother.

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    1. Hi Linda,
      I'm adding your ideas to my list. Those are two very good points -- not isolating and finding others with similar current values. Very good reminders, Linda!

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  2. Both you and Linda have brilliant ideas. Thank you!

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  3. And I think it's really important to be proactive as you are doing. From my experience, the longer I spend in a pity party, the harder it is to turn things around.

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    1. Hi live and learn,
      I think you're right. The longer I feel sorry for myself, the harder it is to stop that and begin feeling cheerful again. Thanks for the reminder!

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  4. Create a list of take out/restaurant menu items that your family enjoys but won't be able to have (most likely) due to the change in finances. If possible, find affordable recipes that you can make yourself at home. It took me years to perfect, but once I determined that take out pizza for a growing family of 6 was impossible for us financially, I taught myself how to make perfect pizza. I also do a Chinese take away fake away at home. HTH

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    1. Hi Carol,
      Great idea! This is something very practical that I can begin with right away. I really need to work on my Asian dishes. And the internet is a great place to look for recipes. Creating fake take-out meals could be a fun, once a week challenge for me. Thanks for the idea, Carol!

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    2. Lili, I've used several of the Asian recipes from averiecooks.com. I have a Thai peanut chicken one in the crockpot right now! I have found the taste of her recipes to be similar to going out to a restaurant and they are pretty easy to pull off (always a plus!).

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  5. You have soon very good ideas. I have convinced myself that eating out is a waste of my money because that money is an entire week of groceries (or more!) and that it always makes me feel sick. I believe it too. It often looks better on a menu picture and the real food is very disappointing as it is so unlike the picture. I tell myself it is much quicker to make something than to get ready, drive to, order, eat and then come home again. Even if I don't yet know what to make, we start off with a pot of tea and then move into finding something to make. We rarely go out these days because it is stressful, costly, and makes my stomach hurt. Some meals at home are better than others but I give it a fancy name it is accepted by everyone.

    I have a lot of odds and ends in my pantry that I would pick up cheap. But to make a meal from that is difficult. I'm concentrating my efforts on that stuff and I'm not allowing myself to buy something unless I have a definite plan for it. I have little tiny amounts of pasta shapes all over the pantry. Not enough for anything so today's lunch is seashell pasta, can of chicken, ham in a can, diced onion, dill, dill pickles and mayo. It will be my lunch for as many days as it lasts. It is very good. It's called Deluxe pasta salad. It is very good.

    Creativity is what it takes to do this and you, Lili, are the Queen of Creativity. You can do this! I'm doing my part here as I walk right along side you to cut that budget and be more responsible with the finances.

    Alice

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    1. Hi Alice,
      I often think that it's just quicker to make something at home than to go out and pick it up from a restaurant. And you're so right, a $20 order of take-out (which would be on the cheap side for a lot of families) could cover the cost of groceries for several days for my family. I have food sensitivities, as well, so I often have tummy repercussions from eating out. That alone does take some of the fun out of restaurant dining.

      I love your method of just making a pot of tea to start. It gets you in the kitchen preparing something, then other ideas begin to flow.
      Enjoy your pasta salad from the odds and ends. It sounds very tasty.

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  6. Love your ideas. I think you are on the right track.

    I would also suggest a gratitude journal (hard to feel self pity when you are grateful)

    Organizing and cleaning - hard to feel like you "need" something when you see how much you have

    At home dates - make favorite food for your hubby or he makes for you. (use what you have on hand) Do the same with your daughters. My daughter and I like spa days at home (using what we have on hand)

    Cathie

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    1. Thank you for the reminder to keep gratitude at the forefront, Cathie.
      I love your ideas for spending quality time at home with your family members. Thanks for your suggestions!

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  7. I got my frugal black belt years ago when I worked part time and lived on a small budget in a major European city. I must have a weird sense of fun, but I often enjoyed the challenge of making delicious meals for minimal cost. I would try to add some sense of adventure to the process. For example, I would visit a Chinese grocery store and look at all the exotic products. Then I'd pick something out that was very inexpensive (a vegetable I'd never tried, a sauce, or a spice) and bring it home to try. That kept me from feeling deprived and allowed me to try new things (this was before the internet, so there's even more resources out there now as you know).

    I also think it's important to acknowledge your feelings about your family income situation. You've had a big cut in money coming in, that's hard to deal with. It's ok to feel sad and upset about it for a while. You've already realized that not wallowing in self pity is key. I think you are doing a great job.
    - Tina

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    1. Tina--
      I think I share your "weird sense of fun" because I also enjoy the challenge of making something delicious out of something others might throw away or pass by. I will always choose something from a discard pile or a reduced pile of food and try to create a masterpiece! I love the challenge.

      YHF, I'm so sorry to hear about your husband and YES we all tend to take health for granted until something happens. Thank you for the reminder to not do that.

      Alice

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    2. Hi Tina,
      that sounds fun, going to an ethnic market and finding an ingredient to try out. A friend recently took me to the Chinese market where she likes to shop, and she pointed out several items that she thought were especially good deals. I was surprised how inexpensive fresh ginger was there. I bought a "hand" and have now been finding ways to use it in our meal and beverage prep. I think you're right about finding the fun in the situation -- a change in attitude. Thanks for your suggestions and kind words.

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  8. I'm going to be an outlier again, here, saying money is not everything. Good health and being alive another day are often taken for granted, but without either, money is for nothing, and wanting more is even less sane.

    In January, my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Eleven days ago, he had radical prostectomy surgery, and his biopsy after the surgery showed positive margin at the apex where the capsule is thinnest, meaning radiation may also be needed. We are still hopeful since he has a favorable grade cancer, although cure is no longer 99% as his presurgery biopsy suggested.

    While we always try our best, and that is all we can and are expected to do, I think it is more important to accept our outcomes, good and bad. We cannot control what ultimately happens. Therefore, I feel better looking only at the next step ahead, and focus on doing my best at every step. Doing my best is key, so I can accept the outcome without regrets.

    I think gratitude is so important. Every thing that we experience daily, no matter how small, is a gift - itadakimasu. What gives me peace is acceptance that my life is not perfect, not permanent, not complete. In other words, being detached from my desires helps. I have been getting into this frame of mind for my "art" (wabi sabi), and miraculously it has helped with other areas of my life too.

    HTH,
    YHF

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    1. So sorry to hear about your husband, YHF. I think we don't know what a treasure we have in our health until we lose it.

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    2. Hi YHF,
      I am so sorry for your husband's diagnosis. I think your attitude of gratitude will provide the calm that you need in the coming months. I will say a prayer for his recovery and your strength to get through this. You're absolutely right, not only is money not everything, it's also not even the important thing.
      This has been a difficult year for you. I will keep you in my prayers.
      sending hugs

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    3. Thank you, all, for your kind thoughts and prayers.

      YHF



      YHF

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