Have you ever really thought about the things that we deny ourselves? I’m not talking about the big things here. I’m talking about everyday pleasures, little things, the things that we could so easily include in our lives, but we don’t. It’s taken me a while to realise how often I do this in my own life without even noticing it.

What are the reasons?

I guess there are all sorts of reasons. Sometimes they are financial. Have you like me often found yourself thinking about whether you really need something? I’ve often stopped myself, telling myself it’s not a necessity, even when it’s not a particularly indulgent or expensive treat.

Let me give you an example. I was returning from a meeting with a client walking in the sunshine. I really fancied not making my own lunch for a change and there’s a lovely bakery where I live, which makes delicious sandwiches. I decided I was going to go and get one. As I entered the bakery, I was already talking myself out of the purchase: “You don’t really need this Kate. You could go home and make yourself something. Why spend this amount of money on a sandwich?” It just felt too extravagant.

It was quite a physical pull and I really had to fight the urge to leave and go home without said sandwich. I know that sounds totally ridiculous, but as someone who rarely indulges, I found it stupidly hard. However, I bought the sandwich. I didn’t have to make lunch and enjoyed every mouthful!

Why do we deny ourselves things?

Perhaps you find that the things you deny are dietary? Maybe this is the more obvious one – should I, will I, won’t I? – all those things that we might fancy but mentally convince ourselves that we don’t need or shouldn’t have them. How many times have you said no to the cake when having coffee with a friend? How many times have you talked yourself out of the ice cream on a sunny day?

It’s all about balance.

Of course, in order to live, a healthy and well-balanced life, overindulging in some of these things constantly isn’t the best idea, however, denying yourself completely doesn’t work either! Once we start denying ourselves, we fixate on that thing even more. We’ve all been there.

We talk about life being too short, and as we get older, we realise the truth in this statement. If not too short, then we’re certainly aware of making the most of what we’ve got. On this basis, denying ourselves things that give us pleasure, providing they are not hurting anybody else, seems a little sad to me.

What things can you say “YES” to?

A new nail varnish, a delicious cake, a new crisp white t-shirt, a bunch of flowers… What little things can you say yes to in order to brighten your own day?

Rather than deny very simple pleasures, embrace them and see what a difference it can make.