Women love shopping.

Just ask their husbands. They’ll tell you.

She may have had a stressful day, or have a doom-and-gloom outlook on life. But a short escape to the nearest mall to buy herself a new sweater, a scarf or any other small accessory, and suddenly life looks a little brighter.

It’s a pretty benign habit—if you’re careful not to overtax your credit card.

So the other day, with fifteen minutes to spare and desperately in need of a break, I headed off to my favorite department store.

Within moments, I had skimmed the aisles, spotted my purchase, tried it on and was standing in line waiting my turn at the checkout counter.

The jacket was the right size, a great fit, just my color (a perfect blend of browns and beige), had a designer label, and was reduced to a price you just couldn’t resist. Add to that the saleslady’s encouraging remarks—“It was made for you”—and the nods of approval from fellow shoppers in adjacent change rooms, and it seemed like a sure win.

Of course, in the back of my mind, I knew that though the jacket fit in size, it didn’t really fit in style. To be honest, it was kind of bulky and uncomfortable for indoor wear. I think I even had a similar one sitting in the back of my closet. But after all, the color was exactly what I was looking for, and didn’t they all acknowledge how well it suited me?

Later I remembered that, in chassidic thought, a person’s thought, speech and action are termed the “garments” of his or her soul. Just as we express who we are through the clothes we choose to wear, so does the soul express its longings and wants, capabilities and talents—its unique self—by “clothing” itself in thoughts, spoken words, and actions.

Sometimes, we allow ourselves to choose clothes that fit our style. We act, think and speak compatibly with the true goals of our lives. We carefully select those “garments” that should be incorporated into our wardrobes, and those that should be bypassed.

Other times, though, external factors sidetrack us. It may be social pressures, attractive colors, or an external fit. Whatever the case, we ignore the most important factor—is this really expressing the “me” that I feel comfortable with?

Are the life choices I am making in tune with my inner goals? Do they feel right and comfortable with the person I want to be?

Comes a time when we may need to reassess our life’s purchases, big or small. Then, you may find yourself standing exactly where I was the next time that I had fifteen minutes to spare.

This time I was at a different counter. It had a sign above it reading “Customer Service.”

After all, I’ll only shop in stores where returns are gladly accepted.