I have one more fabulous guest post to share with you today – this one from another of my favorite writers: the inimitable Ellen Berg of The Hairy Edge. She’s taking it easy on us here, but you’ll want to hustle on over to her site after this to get a taste of her no-holds-barred style.
As for me – I’ve made my move and arrived in my new home city of Portland, Oregon. Look for more hot sauce updates next week.
Almost every morning, I eat eggs: fried or scrambled, with veggies, salsa or hot sauce. Even with this diversity, it sometimes gets boring. Since I live a Paleo lifestyle, unless I want to get a whole lot more creative (read: try to cook while half asleep), eggs are the simplest way to leave the house with a full belly.
Today I opened the spice cabinet and spotted the small container of truffle salt I purchased at the farmer’s market months ago. At $10 for a few tablespoons, this was an extravagant purchase for me, but it tastes divine and so I pushed past the slightly sick feeling I often get when buying something costly.
My first thought: I’ll bet the truffle salt would taste really good on scrambled eggs.
My second thought: Are you kidding? Who do you think you are? Some fancy-schmancy yacht owner? It’s truffle salt. And it’s Tuesday breakfast. Truffle salt is for special occasions like family gatherings and good china. Not chipped 8-year old dishes and eggs.
I’m pretty sure this second part of myself rolled its eyes at me at this point like I was completely cracked. Gauche. Definitely not deserving of the truffle salt at all.
But the real truth is that I’m not fancy schmancy, and my good china is in the garage – still packed in boxes from our move seven years ago. Christmas is four months away, and most of my family members are plain eaters.
If I wait for a special occasion, that truffle salt will sit isolated and unused next to the cardamom that I bought for something and never opened.
And as much as my second self wanted to tell me it was wasteful to use the truffle salt for an ordinary Tuesday breakfast, wouldn’t NOT using it at all be even more wasteful?
I’ll bet you have similar challenges.
You don’t burn the candles or use the fancy soaps you set out for guests. You wipe your hands on your pants rather than use the decorative hand towels awaiting visitors. You leave gourmet gift baskets wrapped in their cellophane, gathering dust.
But it’s not really about the truffle salt or your fancy towels. Dig beneath the surface and you’ll find one or more of these three stories lurking.
- I don’t deserve this. I’m just little Susie Sausagehead; who am I to use these special items? I’m not good enough.
- Good things are scarce. If I burn this candle, it’ll be gone, and then I won’t have it any more. If I use all the truffle salt, I won’t have it when I really want it.
- What will people think? This story has two versions. The first is the anticipation of how others will see you with the item. The second is how you think others will perceive you if they know you used the item. In the first version, you think of how impressed your guests will be when they walk into your bathroom and you’ve provided fancy goodies for their comfort. In the second version, you worry that others will think you’re frivolous or self-important if you use the items just ‘cause you want to.
Here’s the thing: Eating the truffle salt, using the guest soaps and burning the candles are all neutral activities until you assign some meaning to them. We take our judgments about what we deserve and make truffle salt into a whole internal justification.
Part of quality self-care is letting go of self-judgment and being kind to ourselves. Another part is engaging in pleasurable activities simply because it brings us pleasure.
What small pleasures are you denying yourself?
It may be an object—like candles or soap—or it may be an action.
Do you avoid taking a long bath in the evening because your husband would have to handle the kids, or you’re ticking off yet another item on your To-Do list?
Is it spending time writing or creating art? Whatever it is, it’s time to make it as important on your To-Do list as laundry or soccer practice or that project at work.
What small pleasure can you commit to today?
Share your thoughts in the comments. As for me, I used that truffle salt on my chipped everyday plates on an ordinary Tuesday morning, and it was divine. I can’t wait for you to have your bit of pleasure too. You deserve it.