What is luxury and why it matters -

What is luxury and why it matters

Often associated with expensive, exclusive objects, luxury, as desirable as it is, can have a somewhat negative connotation. Luxury is what many of us tell ourselves we can’t afford. Luxury is a measure many use to compare themselves against others. Too much luxury can be seen as bad taste or even vulgar in certain circles. In the UK, for example, as a foreigner I can definitely see an aversion to or judgement towards displaying or even admitting to “excessive” luxuries.

While the luxury industry is booming at present, there is also a lot of judgement and shaming going on when it comes to luxury, especially in the context of economic inequality or ethicality of certain luxuries.

No wonder many people have a complex relationship with luxury, with some rejecting it, which has become fashionable lately, others secretly wanting it and some allowing it but hiding from others.

To me, our relationship with luxury is reflective of how we relate to our self-worth.

Typically, seen as something on the opposite end of necessity, luxury is an opportunity to explore our desires beyond our daily needs.

My own relationship with luxury has been complex. I have always been attracted to luxury, but not always allowed it in my life. Recently, rather than shying away from it, pretending I don’t want it or overindulging in material objects that don’t even bring me much pleasure, I’ve decided to define luxury for myself and allow more of my kind of luxury in my daily life.

In fact, my theme for January is luxury (each month has a theme for me to help me focus my attention and energy). It works like magic. Mystical, isn’t it? I highly recommend you try having a theme each month, just trust your intuition with one.

January started with three-hour yoga and mediation retreat on the afternoon of 1st. It’s a first for me. Taking time to connect with my body and my inner wisdom felt like a luxury in our fast-paced, external-agendas-oriented world.

Two days later, I went for my biweekly massage (another luxury I’ve begun to allow myself recently – regular pre-scheduled massage appointments).

Then a week with my parents in London. Their 6-day visit felt luxurious in comparison to 2-3 days we typically spend together. And mum and I went for afternoon tea at The Goring – pure luxury.


Every day for the past month I’ve been asking myself how I could infuse more luxury into my day. Here is what I noted:

  • Upgrading my winter loungewear to beautiful, soft wool pieces (no more old clothes that don’t deserve to be worn out).
  • New lingerie for everyday wear.
  • Afternoon nap in the middle of the week.
  • Allowing myself to sleep longer.
  • A 3 day Ayurvedic retreat at home and plenty of “me” time.
  • Fresh flowers at home.
  • Having mentors to support me at a time I required it.
  • Fresh sheets as often as I desire.
  • Setting the dining table beautifully for each meal.
  • Taking myself out for lunch.
  • Lounging in my silk pyjamas.
  • Wearing cashmere, enjoying winter style.
  • Wearing my new leather trousers without needing a special occasion.
  • Taking my time, slow mornings, not rushing.
Looking at this list, it is clear that luxury for me has so much more to do with my time and personal space than exclusive objects. Regular self-care, resting, having support in my life, freedom to just be, time with loved ones – this feels like most precious luxury. Then there is luxury of honouring myself through owning my signature style and wearing elegant clothes even if nobody sees me. Beautiful living – honouring my desire for beauty at home and around me – is another luxury in my life. Putting organic products on and inside and body is equally important.
I could say that most of these are now requirements rather than luxuries, which brings me back to my original question: what is luxury?

Let’s look at the Oxford dictionary definition of “luxury”:

A state of great comfort or elegance, especially when involving great expense;
An inessential, desirable item which is expensive or difficult to obtain;
A pleasure obtained only rarely.

I don’t know about a “great expense”, but I accept that luxury comes at a cost. I would, however, add that for me, luxury is a state of great comfort, elegance, pleasure, which comes from a choice to honour yourself and recognise your own worth. While it may be seen as inessential by others, deep down you know this is what you deserve and require to express your fullest potential in this life. 

What is luxury for you? What place does it have in your life?

Would it be easier to allow more luxury if you knew what it meant for you? I believe it would… And while you are exploring what luxury represents for you, feel free to use my definition, especially if you catch yourself feeling selfish or judging a desire for luxury.