How Well Do You Treat Yourself? Eat The Truffle Salt Already!

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.

  1. I don’t deserve this. I’m just little Susie Sausagehead; who am I to use these special items? I’m not good enough.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Image by bbum

12 Responses to How Well Do You Treat Yourself? Eat The Truffle Salt Already!

  1. I’m sure each one of us falls prey to one of the three reasons more than the others — and I know for me, the “good things are scarce” reason jumped out immediately.  I’ve gotten much better about this as I’ve gotten older….but I can’t even count the number of items that I’ve wasted in the past because I was “saving” them for some better or more special time.  I just have to remember that the time is NOW!  Now is the most special moment there ever will be!
    Hmm, what small pleasure will I commit to today?  I’m going to light my pretty and good-smelling orange candle that was given to me by my friend Misty, before it loses its scent.  And I’ll use the moment of lighting it to think of her and feel gratitude for her friendship.

    •  @LynnHess I love that, Lynn!  I actually used to never light my candles until I started receiving tons of them as gifts from students.  Seeing the literal abundance of them was exactly what I needed to let go of that notion of scarcity.  I love that as you light the candle, you’ll think of the friend who gave it to you.  🙂

    •  @LynnHess So glad you pulled out that candle Lynn! These beautiful things don’t work their magic when they’re wrapped up in the cupboard waiting for the ‘right’ time. You’ve got it right, NOW is the most precious moment we have.

  2. Great piece Ellen Berg ! It reminds me of a couple of times in life:
    1. Many years ago after a longterm relationship broke up, I felt defeated and depressed. Nothing seemed to lift my spirits at all, until one day I decided to buy myself a nice set of china because it no longer seemed like a good idea to wait till that ‘someday’ when I got married! I’ve loved it and used it ever since 🙂
    2. My grandmother brought me silverware from Italy. I was told to pack it away and save it for special occasions, but nobody clarified what they meant by ‘special’! I like to set the table with it sometimes for no reason whatsoever. It feels a bit decadent, but it also reminds me of my grandma’s love and that is more special than any event I can think of! 

    •  @Sandi Amorim I love both of your examples, especially  the silverware.  Good silver has such a lovely heft to it that even if you’re eating pork-n-beans, it feels like a special occasion.
      I wonder if we should let go of that notion of a “special” occasion and begin celebrating each day–its triumphs, challenges and presence.  If we began to look at each day as sacred, how would that change our thinking?

      •  @Ellen Berg I’m willing if you are! In fact tonight is the perfect time to start as it’s been a rocky couple of days over here, and a beautifully set table will surely shift the energy. And I love that you called it sacred. 

        •  @Sandi Amorim I’m in!  I’ve come to that notion of each day being ‘sacred’ through my work with Patti Digh and Project 137.  We’re not guaranteed tomorrow, so we must make the most of every moment.

        •  @Ellen Berg  @Sandi Amorim Love this idea of using the good silver. Years ago my sisters and I had to decide who got the good silver and china from my parents. My idea of splitting up the china prevailed. After all, I knew I wasn’t going to bust out a 12-piece china set very often. When that many people come over, things get broken! But a nice set of four – well that’s manageable. Listening to this conversation I wish I’d used it more when I could. And that I hadn’t been so quick to just let the silver go to one of the sisters. All I could remember was long tedious sessions in the family dining room with the polishing cloth! But ahh, actually using that silver. Now that would be fun!

  3. Love this reminder @Ellen Berg. As I sat this afternoon with the dental hygienist’s hands in my mouth (NOT one of my small pleasures I can assure you), a question from her made me realize I haven’t been paying enough attention to the things in life that give me little bursts of joy.  I also realized that I have forgotten what those things are!  That’s a terrible state of affairs and one I intend to rectify immediately.  P.S. Why do dental hygienists ask you questions when you can’t answer?

    •  @Carol Hess  @Ellen LOL, I had to grin Carol at that image of you in the dentist chair! That has been one of my eternal questions:  why the hell do they ask questions when you are clearly unable to answer with your mouth full of their equipment! But so glad this post and her question stimulated you to find those bursts of joy in your day-to-day life! That’s what it’s all about.

  4. This reminds me of the small pleasure I indulged in the other day. Since I moved into my new place, every morning, I noticed how the warm sunshine beams in on the new carpet. And every morning, I say, “I just wanna be like the cat and lay in the sunshine all day.” But then I think, “How silly. I’m a human. Humans don’t lay on the carpet.”
    Yesterday I decided that hell yes they do! Instead of looking at the sunny spot wistfully, I grabbed my breakfast, settled into the cozy warm carpet, and enjoyed. Small pleasure, definitely, but why not?! Great reminder, Ellen. I think I’ll make my blooming tea this weekend too. =)

    •  @ZenCaffeine I love it!  I may need to try that myself, though in my house there’s competition for the sunny spots–the cats currently own them.  🙂  Good for your for seizing pleasure in your life.  Enjoy the tea!

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