Continuous Small Treats 

“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” ~ Iris Murdoch … 

I find that continuous small treats are a great way to lift up my spirits when I am down. One of my little pleasures while growing up in life was to stop in at the local bakery and have a donut and a soda to drink. And while I am eating, I enjoy taking my time and reading the comics in the newspaper. Of course, since my continuous small treats often consist of things like donuts and coffee cake, I have to run a lot of miles to burn off the sugars and keep my weight under control–but that is an okay trade-off by me. I simply like to have those small treats to lift me up during the day, to give myself something to look forward to and to enjoy. <!–more–> 

One of the most important elements of what Iris is saying here is the word “continuous.” If I am constantly looking for little ways to treat myself, I never feel as if I am neglecting myself, and I never feel that I need to compensate for that neglect by buying something extravagant. By looking often for the small treats, I find that I do not have much of an appetite for the huge ones.

However, just continually treating myself is not enough. I must also take the time to appreciate the opportunity to treat myself–I need to sit still and relish the taste of something that is very good, and I ought to enjoy the atmosphere and the break away from the busyness and noise of life. For the treat is not just in the food; and simply scarfing down that candy bar without actually taking the time to rest and savor it–to focus on it and enjoy it–really is not much of a treat at all.

In addition, treats can be any number of things, depending on our needs and our likes. Perhaps taking time to visit a friend or someone who is lonely, or volunteering to help others in need. Or maybe just a short power nap when we feel worn out, or a quick 15 minute workout or walk to gain some energy and vigor.

Our lives are meant to be happy, for happiness abounds. And regardless of where our sources of happiness flow from–feelings of accomplishment, feelings of belonging, feelings of being loved and of loving others, or feelings of compassion for others–the fact remains that we must choose it… we must recognize it and accept it into our lives. It does not come from having the most things or the most expensive things, for many of the happiest people on Earth are those who have little, yet treat themselves to small delights on a regular basis.

Indulge in one of your favorite treats.

Questions to consider:

What are some of your favorite small treats? How often do you treat yourself to them?

From where do we often get the idea that treating ourselves is a negative form of self-indulgence?

What would it take for you to be able to treat yourself today to something special, and to give yourself the time to truly enjoy it?

For further thought:

“If someone bases his or her happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.” ~ Andy Rooney


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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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