How 'Op Shopping' Can Help You Reclaim Your PowerNov 27, 2022
(US) thrift shop, thrift store. (shop where donated goods are sold cheaply)
One of my favourite things to do growing up was 'op shopping' with my mum but it wasn't until adulthood when I began to understand the value of money having experienced the cost of living and the impacts of trauma that I truly found power in exploring and discovering second hand gems!
But how does choosing to purchase from 'op-shops' help you reclaim your power?
We save our hard-earned money that would have otherwise been spent on full-priced items. We've already had so much taken from us, so every cent we can keep for the things that make us happy makes a huge difference! And with the price of EVERYTHING on the increase who doesn't want to save their money for things they really want to be doing? Like for me, it's saving for a holiday to Bali next year to celebrate my mum's 50th. There is also such a thrill in finding higher end items such as designer labels for next to nothing! You might feel like a thief walking out the store but hey, you earned it and you will feel amazing next time you rock your new find feeling rich as fuck!
We rebuild our self-worth by feeling good about our choices. As survivors we know the damage of what it feels like to sit with shame and self-blame and so this one is so important for us! We feel good because we're making choices that positively impact our environment by decreasing unnecessary landfill. This goes both ways. Instead of throwing things out we can choose to resell or donate. I love Facebook marketplace or second hand markets for reselling or community Facebook pages that help people in need where you can give items away for free and of course I love donating to op shops! We also like ourselves a little bit more because we know our money is going back to supporting a charity and those in need. Positive psychology has found 'giving back' offers so many health and wellbeing benefits.
We get to explore our identity and not be 'forced' into consumerist fashion which can stifle our self-expression if we don't align with current fashion trends. Anyone who has experienced trauma will tell you one of their biggest triggers is feeling forced into something because they might've experienced feeling helpless and not in control. So we need to feel mostly in control to feel safe and that goes with our clothing choices too! Don't box us in! Op shopping gives you options and alternatives to the mainstream.
But most importantly, you improve wellbeing and decrease stress from pulling out your hair screaming, "I fucking hate my clothes and I can't find anything to wear!" Because it's not that we can't find anything to wear. It's the fact that we want to wear clothes that express ourselves which is always and forever evolving and changing with our life experiences, emotions, needs, desires and seasons. My style has changed from when I first started out in my counselling career thirteen years ago, awkwardly trying to make myself look older (old lady style) to rid myself of imposter syndrome trying to fit in with older staff to now post pregnancy/motherhood and feeling very much grounded in who I am and what I want to express to the world through my style - Strength, dare I say, Sexy (boundaries - I have a government job and work with young people), smart and fun.
It just makes sense to open yourself up to the endless possibility that comes with the adventure of op shopping and the wellbeing benefits that come with making sustainable choices that help give back to our local and global community and make you feel like the absolute worthy human you are! I encourage you to have a think about what you want to express through your style choices and get out there and have fun exploring what's available. Remember healing is a process but it can also be one big awesome adventure too!
Sending you big, safe, warm hugs. (Not too warm, its getting hot now.)
Your friend, Renee.
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