Op-Ed: I’m Going To Just Say It—I’m Sort Of Starting To Regret My Soft Girl Era


Jasmine Browley; photo by Azeez Alayah

Can I be honest with y’all?

I think I flew a little too close to the sun.

Let me explain.

We’ve all heard of the Soft Girl trope, the buzzy social media-turned-real life trend where overworked women finally prioritized themselves, whatever that means to them.

For me, the soft girl era was all-encompassing last year. From luxe experiences to constant jet-setting, to designer indulgences, I leaned into that trend with both elbows.

But as we ushered in 2024, I realized that that push for self care we’d seen everywhere for the past few years landed many of us in some debt, including me. Now I’m literally and figuratively paying for it. 

It wasn’t always like this. Growing up, my upbringing quickly taught me the intrinsic link between hard work and self-value—the more I poured into my schooling and jobs, the better I was allowed to feel about myself. Of course, this mentality had its upside. That thinking led me to build a dream career, forge incredible professional relationships and add to a growing list of accomplishments (don’t roll your eyes—we all need to brag on ourselves more). But what that also led to was an enmeshment—something that happens when one’s professional identity overtakes personal identity. I was so wrapped up in proving myself to myself, that my well-being took a backseat.

Before I knew it, burning the candle at both ends, the minimal social activity and constant gratification delays led to intense migraines among other physical challenges. I knew I needed to tap into more joy, and so I did. Big time.

2023 became my own personal year of yes, as Shonda Rhimes dubbed it. And just as the prolific writer described, it opened up a world of possibilities. I indulged and delighted, which means I swiped and debited too.

After a year of non-stop spending in the name of self care, I found myself facing some big bills and overlooked responsibilities that had caught up with me. The craziest thing though? I can’t say that I regret it. Not entirely. What I can say is I’ve reimagined what self care looks like for this phase in my life, and that’s financial freedom. If you’re like me, you probably feel a bit of humiliation that you’ve found yourself in a reparative phase as a result of healing. However, take it from me, there’s no reason to feel ashamed for putting yourself first. This is just another way to do that. Here are some of the mistakes I made in a quest to be good to myself, and what I’m doing to reframe exactly what that means.

Reclaiming ownership of my time

When taking a look at my 2023 spending report that I track on my Rocket Money app (it’s a lifesaver, y’all) it was found that I shelled out five figures in convenience services. I.e. housekeeping, dry cleaning, food delivery among other things. After some self-reflection, I was realized I was constantly outsourcing services I could’ve done myself out of laziness, but also because I gave my time away to activities that didn’t serve me. Now, I’m learning to stick to my time blocked Google calendar no matter what, and factor in doing domestic tasks that will save $$$ in the long run.

Resting

After doing all the things all the time out of FOSN (fear of saying no) my sleep schedule was severely impacted. That led to as myriad of issues, including health scares which turned into splurges on vitamins, supplements and costly treatment I wouldn’t have needed had I treated my body better. Learning to fully rest is a luxury I hope many more of us allow ourselves.

Money mapping

This may seem obvious, but believe it or not, I wasn’t serious about financial forecasting at all last year since I deemed it my own personal era of pleasure. I’d often taken a reactive approach to my finances, and lacked the foresight to plan as closely as I should’ve. This year, I’m focused on watching the dollars I would’ve spent on a new handbag grow in my accounts and work even harder in an investment account.

Overall, we’re all striving to use the time we have here to revel in the beauty life has in store for us. But that doesn’t always have to have a price tag attached to it. I hope you can learn from my missteps that self-care is financial care and your future you will be grateful for that realization.



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