Can I buy myself flowers?

With Valentine’s day in a week or so, I've been thinking a lot about why we buy and send flowers. I’ve been wondering why it is it ok to buy flowers for others and to send gifts, but less so to buy them for yourself?

We send flowers because they make people smile.  They brighten, lift and decorate spaces. They evoke an emotion of joy through a natural beauty that lives and dies. Flowers don’t last forever, but they say ‘I’m thinking about you’ in a way that so many other things don’t.

My mum used to tell me the story of her friend Gabby.  Mum trained as a nurse.  When she was training, she lived in Woodhouse with her nurse friend Gabby.  Woodhouse is just behind where we live now and just across the way from where I lived as a student - Hyde Park.

Gabby was a revolution in her day.  She was the kind of girl that raised an eyebrow.  She wasn’t rude, she didn’t wear inappropriate clothes and she didn’t disobey the law.  So what was so unusual about her?

Trainee nurses didn’t earn much in those days.  But Gabby was a girl who looked after herself.  Once a month, she would dress up in her best clothes.  It was the same outfit every month for a year.  Every month she would take herself out, on her own for a meal.  It was always one course plus a glass of wine.  Every month she would buy herself flowers the day after her meal out.

No, she didn’t have a partner. And no, she wasn’t sad. She just knew how to look after herself.  I never really understood why my mum told me this story over and over until recently.  

I’m not a trainee. I’m fully qualified. I’m not single and I’m not sad.

The purpose of the story was about looking after yourself.  It wasn’t about extravagance.  And it wasn’t about standing out.  It was about making time to care for yourself and treat yourself. It’s the essence of why I came to love growing flowers.  It’s the essence of our workshops and it’s the very reason why you can and should buy flowers for yourself.

There’s a real thing about Valentine’s Day and what we receive forming the basis for individual value.  What do I mean by this?  Well, if you receive a gift, openly and obviously, the world thinks that you're worth more than the person that doesn’t, or worse, that you're loved more.  Or, in the alternative, it you don’t receive a gift, then you’re not worth as much as the person that did.  And you're loved less. Obviously!

Actually, no! Not so obvious.  When I met Antony, I'd only just started to work this out.  I was so keen not to end my journey gathering self-worth, that I offered him one date and had no intention of ever going on a second date with him! 

Clearly this plan didn't work. The journey didn't stop there, but it did slow.  And now, as a wife, mother and doctor, the battle to value myself for me and not for the outward successes of those other roles remains a challenge. Does this sound familiar?

I guess what I'm getting at in this blog is that flowers from other people are fabulous.  I love to receive them. And I love to give them. But flowers for yourself have a different meaning. They say 'I'm pleased with myself', 'I'm proud of what I've done here', 'Take a moment for me.'  And these are things that in the current world we almost feel the need for permission to do and say.  Which is again - nonsense!  You don't need permission to give yourself a moment of peace.

Do I buy myself flowers? I did. A bunch whenever I had spare money. I used to keep them until they were brown and the water was mouldy because they were mine, all mine.  Now I buy myself seeds and bulbs and compost!  And I grow flowers for you to buy.  So that you can have something that is yours and makes you smile and is a treat that is all about you.

Is it ok to buy yourself flowers? Yes, and if anyone says otherwise - send them to speak to Rebecca!

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