"Self-indulgent" is one of the most common criticisms I've read about blogs, both individual styles and the blog phenomenon itself and let's make no mistake that Self-indulgence in all contexts is generally perceived as a Bad Thing. In less formal circles it's sometimes known as Splurging. One rarely reads any praise of Splurging either.
I've also noticed a recent trend in criticism of psychotherapy and counselling because they encourage people to be Self-centred. Being self-centred can be lumped together with some other, possibly unspoken, epithets such as Self-pitying, Wallowing, Self-aggrandisement, Showing off etc, all of which, if they are levelled at you and your blog, you can safely take as criticism. Apparently, it's not good to consider yourself very much at all.
This poses some difficulties for the blog writer since it's what many of us are doing much of the time and it's been exercising my mind particularly over the last week or so as I have been pondering whether or not to post a particular poem on my blog. The pondering has led me to think about self-indulgence generally and to realise that we don't always consider it to be a bad thing.
Since the death of my husband people keep telling me to be kind to myself. I'm not sure this differs much from indulging myself and therefore from Self-indulgence. If it does, it's a fine line. They're right about being kind to oneself, of course. Guilt (which can be about anything at all) is one of the stages of grieving and it's a good idea to recognise that and not give oneself too hard a time if possible. Bereavement takes its toll physically, too, and recovery will be speedier if one is gentle on oneself with rest and good food. (This last is tricky if, like me, you need to avoid Over-indulgence in order not to put on weight. But it can be done, with balance.)
An argument explaining the benefits of therapy or counselling and the need for considering oneself is for another time, but you can safely take it that I am in favour of them. Briefly, though, it does seem to be somewhat accepted that you can't love others properly unless or until you can love yourself. Understanding yourself puts you in a good position of being open, honest and available to another person, all bases for a good relationship.
So I'm hoping I may be building up some agreement that self-indulgence can often be a very good thing. My final argument should be the clincher. I am currently making more earrings, including some new designs. One pair in particular is probably my favourite pair that I've ever made. I've decided to keep them for myself. I can make the same design again (though not yet as I haven't any more of one of the colours I've used) but every pair is different and this pair is mine. I don't expect any argument with that.
I checked with H, and she said that in spite of the fact that I normally can't wear green against my skin, on this scale there was no problem, so it's a done deal. I just love these earrings.
And .... just when I have (I hope) encouraged you all to agree that self-indulgence can be a wonderful thing, we come back to my original dilemma. Should I post very personal, sometimes painful poetry on my blog? Why would I want to? The answer to the second question is that I don't see much difference between my creative writing and my other creative work. I like to put my work where it is appreciated and I think some people might appreciate more personal writing. The answer to the first question is ... well, I don't know. I think some people might not appreciate more personal writing. Some people might not like reading painful things. I don't want to upset anyone unduly.
The jury's still out.