I was recently talking to a friend and colleague who is also going through a separation. She is now living in a basement apartment and said that she is finding it hard to stay motivated to decorate and cook for herself. While I certainly understand that it’s hard to cook for one after spending years cooking for two, it made me sad to really listen to her say, “What’s the point of making a mess in the kitchen just for myself? What’s the point in decorating or making the apartment pretty? I’m the only one to see it”. And I just wanted to shake her and say, “YOU are the point!”
Why is it, as women, we find it so hard to treat ourselves as we would treat our husbands or families or friends or even strangers, for that matter? Why do we treat ourselves worse than we would a stranger or even a person we couldn’t stand? I told her that I deserved to have delicious food, to have colour-coordinated towels in the bathroom and look at a lovely bouquet of flowers. I deserved to wake up to nice smelling sheets and a beautiful framed piece of art on my wall and spend 15 minutes making a delicious frittata with bacon, goat’s cheese and potatoes, using every pan in the house, and to eat it leisurely in my dining room while watching my puppy snort and run around, sniffing for crumbs to inhale.
A big thing that I did when I moved into my condo was to eat at the table. Yes, occasionally I eat on the couch, but for dinner, I try to eat at the table. I put out a napkin (I get disposable ones for cheap on sale at the grocery store, which may be wasteful, but whatever), set the table for one, put out any condiments I may need and eat with a knife and fork. It makes a simple meal (which may be ramen with shrimp and broccoli) more of an occasion than eating slumped over on the couch, eyes glazed over, staring at the TV.
I also like to light candles for myself, buy flowers for myself and to treat myself like I would a houseguest, because I’ve been through the wringer for the past 6 months, and I need to be gentle with myself. It’s kind of like “Fake it ’til you make it!”. My surroundings play a big role in how I feel emotionally, which has a big role in how I feel physically.
So that is the point. Even if your apartment is temporary, even if you only know how to make big batch recipes (freeze the rest in single portions for days when you are rushed or feeling lazy), even if it is just for your own eyes, surround yourself with beauty and be kind to yourself. If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else fully and you certainly can’t expect anyone else to love you fully, either. If you can’t treat yourself with kindness, no one else will, either.
So that’s the end of my mini-rant. If you are living on your own after a long time being part of a couple, be kind to yourself. I read this quote on http://galadarling.com/ (read it, it’s an awesome blog!):
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love & affection than you are yourself, & that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.”
That quote hit me in the face like a brick. No one is more worthy of your love and affection and kindness than YOU are.