An Ill-Fitting Shirt Is a Millstone Around One’s Neck

Taking care of yourself is important. Seems obvious right? Sure. But as cliché of a truism as it is the way in which it plays out is often glossed over. How do you take care of yourself? One way, throw away those old clothes that don’t fit.

Everyone has a gross old sweatshirt that they only wear for lying around the house on weekends. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about those things that make their way in to your main wardrobe that you know don’t really fit you right or you never feel entirely comfortable in but are in decent enough shape that you can’t justify getting rid of them. We’ve got such a weird relationship with our things in this culture. We accumulate and dispose of some things without any thought of waste (vehicles, useless household knick knacks, etc.), yet when it comes to other things we have this contradictory idea of being frugal. Maybe it’s a Midwestern thing, but I think it’s likely more universal. Everyone has a shirt they bought because they wanted to be adventurous and try something different, but no matter how many times you put it on it never feels right. Yet it sits in the closet, mocking you. Waiting to be used, yet it never is. It feels wasteful to have it and not wear it, but it also feels wasteful to get rid of a perfectly good piece of clothing. It’s not worth the mental effort any more though. It’s a tax on your limited mental processes every time seeing it in the closet fills you with any negative feelings. It takes up space in your brain that isn’t giving you some kind of joy or satisfaction.

Then there are the clothes that don’t fit. Maybe you’ve lost weight or gained weight, but you still have the clothes from before. It may be a matter of not wanting to admit to the change. But every time you put those things on you know they aren’t right. Or maybe it’s because you don’t want to spend the time or the little bit of extra money to buy things that fit well and feel good. The point is that you don’t feel comfortable in them. More wasted mental energy. No one wants to waste money on things they don’t need and it’s good to have those internal checks on just buying new stuff whenever the whim strikes. But having pieces of cloth to cover our bodies that make us feel good is an often overlooked aspect of taking care of oneself. It doesn’t mean spending $500 on something that is cutting edge trendy. It’s about valuing yourself, valuing your own well-being, and finding ways to add positive feelings to your mood. It can be as simple as a flannel shirt and jeans that fit well. The point is that they make you feel good while wearing them.

Now let’s say you don’t value feeling good all that much. Sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s actually not uncommon. It’s the “I don’t deserve” mentality. But look at what feeling good really does for you. If you’re in a good mood you’re likely to make better decisions. I know when I’m having a good day it has a positive feedback on all the subsequent decisions I make. It builds on itself. You’ll be a better human being. The person in the checkout line in front of you who is taking a bit too long looking for their coupons is less likely to get an audible sigh or an under the breath comment. You might be more likely to compliment that person rather and make their day better. Then that person feels good and helps someone else out in a small, but significant way. It keeps carrying on. All because you decided to get rid of those pants that don’t fit. I realize this all sounds a bit idealistic. I’m not under the illusion that buying a well-fitting wardrobe is going to solve any major world problems, but it may help make the smaller ones easier to bear. Doing the small, seemingly insignificant things to take care of yourself can add up to a huge difference in your mood and your life.