My Bargain Wish For You

Did you know that people (maybe you?) unknowingly put themselves on the bargain rack? They may charge ridiculously low fees or give so much of their resources and time to others that they end up feeling resentful.

Has it ever happened to you?

Here’s the thing . . .

We often have a difficult time appreciating our own value, contributions and potential and so we hang ourselves out on the bargain rack. It looks like this:

  • An acquaintance is really, really tight financially. She told her grown adult children (who have kids of their own) that she would not be buying Christmas gifts for the adults, just small gifts for her grandchildren. Everyone agreed. My acquaintance then decided her children (the adults) might end up with hurt feelings if she didn’t buy them Christmas gifts. So, on Christmas morning, she had gifts for everyone. In the New Year, her stress level was over the top because of the financial hole she had put herself into.
  • A nurse I know agreed to work Christmas day … for the fourth year in a row. Her reasons? Because the other nurses have kids that are younger than her 12-year-old daughter. She willingly placed herself dead last in the deserving field.

  • A person I know was feeling very, very ill. A large family dinner was planned for the next day, so she dismissed everyone’s concern about her health. She refused to go to the emergency room until the day after the family dinner because she didn’t want to ruin the dinner. She ended up being hospitalized for five days.

  • Charging substantially less than our male counterparts

On the surface these acts look like caring for others, but when people (and it’s usually women) consistently let their own needs — financial, family and health — tumble to the bottom of the barrel, they set themselves up for some major issues later in life stemming from regret, resentment, and bitterness.

They willingly hang themselves on the bargain rack!

Consider what Suze Orman has to say:

“You need to take yourself off the sale rack. Once you learn to respect your right to be fully valued, you will find it easy and natural to ask the world around you to respect that value. You set your price and the world will meet it. When you walk through the world feeling you are ‘more than’ rather than ‘less than’ more will come to you. Confidence is contagious; it will bring more into your life.”

In order to take yourself off the bargain rack, you have to consider what you are giving to life, in terms of value, time, resources and what life is giving back to you in terms of happiness, money, joy and appreciation.

Now I realize some people will be saying that they cannot take themselves off the bargain rack because others cannot function without them. I know that in certain care-giving situations it is necessary to place the needs of others first. I also know that as a caregiver you need regular breaks where you can have time and space to attend to your own unique and individual needs. This is the care you give to yourself.

I find Orman’s words particularly powerful when she says:

“There is a huge disconnect between what we know and how we act; what we think and what we say; how we present ourselves to the world and how we really feel about ourselves inside; what we deserve in our lives and what we resign ourselves to and the power we have within reach and the powerlessness that rules our actions.”

As women we are doers, usually for other people. We are moms, wives, daughters, partners, aunties, supportive friends, cooperative colleagues (usually), cheerleaders, caregivers and voracious volunteers! We are amazing people. But where, in all of this, are the dreams, goals and passions of each mom, wife, daughter or auntie?

They come when you take yourself off the bargain rack!

My Christmas wish for you this holiday season is to . . .

Stay Off The Bargain Rack!

Here’s 3 suggestions on how to do that:

Give Yourself a Gift . . . Everyday

  • Get a coffee drink.
  • Take a relaxing walk.
  • Read a good book (much better than reading a lousy book!)

Establish Better Boundaries

  • It feels good to let someone know, in a respectful way, that they have crossed a boundary.
  • You usually need good boundaries if you are visiting family.
  • Listen to my Roundhouse Radio Interview (where I discuss how my friend made a profound change by setting a boundary)

Practice Being Assertive

  • Can you ask for something you want? (A raise, mentor, money?)
  • Can you deny someone something they’ve asked of you? That is, can you say “no” to things like extra projects, volunteering, or cooking Christmas dinner when it’s actually your sister’s turn?
  • This is a great New Year’s Resolution to make!

May this Christmas and New Year’s be relaxing, joyous and happy for you and your family!

Till next year . . .

Barb RN, MSN



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