I have to admit, I really struggled to know how to start this post. I knew what I wanted to talk about but articulating a feeling into a coherent thought that someone else might want to read was proving difficult. Finally, while I was reading the most recent edition of House Beautiful it came to me.
This month’s edition is part two of a series on the whole house and a lot of the articles are talking about the kitchen. There’s talk about how soothing cooking is, that taking time to cook a meal with “high-quality ingredients”, and that then taking time to eat as a family is truly an act of self-care and social preservation. At its heart, I don’t disagree with this assessment. Like many of the writers in the magazine this month, there is also something I find soothing about making a beautiful meal and serving it up to my family.
However, the assertion that everyone could do this if only they took the time also strikes me as extremely privileged. Not all of us have the time, money, or materials to dedicate to a gourmet meal. Navigating food challenges means that you might be making different meals for different family members and you just want to get everyone fed. Working too many jobs for too little money means that you just need some calories before you throw yourself into bed, exhausted
That is why, whenever I look at all this self-care advice out there – cook a wholesome and nutritious meal, go to a therapist, join a gym, hire a housekeeper – with a lot of grains of salt. This is not possible for everyone. What is possible for everyone (see, this whole post isn’t going to be a huge downer!) is forgiving yourself.
Accept the responsibility that is yours, but also accept that many of the things that make life challenging are not your fault. You are doing the best you can with the hand you’ve been dealt.
You don’t have to answer this in the comments, but I’d like to invite you to think about things in your life that you can try to forgive yourself for.