The act of making an adjustment to meet a need.
Fulfilling someone’s wishes or demands in a helpful way.
We women are SKILLED accommodators. We find out the dietary preferences of our guests before planning a meal. We offer people the more comfortable seat when dining out. We keep our eyes trained on other people’s plates or glasses, offering refills the moment they go empty.
At its best, accommodation is fueled by authentic kindness.
But there’s another version of accommodation that we all know well. This one is fueled by fear and obligation. This is false accommodation.
False accommodation carries a “should” energy. We do it because we feel as if we have to, not because we want to.
We’re taught to be connected and invested in others above ourselves. We’ve learned how to say “yes” when we actually want to say “no.”
- Do you say “yes” to seconds at dinner at your mother-in-law’s house or your friend’s house, even though you’re already full, because you want to demonstrate how much you like the food?
- Do you eat the cake and donuts and other treats that people at your office bring in, in order to not appear to insult the giver of said treats?
- Do you provide vocal commentary about your food choices during a meal so that the cook will know you don’t mean to disparage their cooking if you don’t eat a certain dish or fill your entire plate?
- Do you let other people feed your kids unhealthy food that you would rather they didn’t eat, in order not to have to worry about the other person’s feelings if you were to say “no”?
My questions to you today, for reflection, is this:
At what point does accommodating others make you feel smaller (even to the point of feeling like the least important person at the table)? Do you know the difference between when you’re accommodating as a choice and out of a compulsion?
It’s time to find a way to honor our own preferences and needs around food while also being kind to others.
As a woman, you were probably raised—or received messages from society—to maintain harmony during meals.
- We’re trained to say “yes” all the time, even if it’s not an authentic “yes.”
- We’re taught to smooth the eating experience for others.
- We’ve been socialized to worry about other people’s judgment of our actions instead of what is best for us.
I believe that we can accommodate others while not adjusting so far that we make our own needs and preferences unimportant. In case you’re wondering: our own needs and preferences can never disappear–they just go underground only to appear and wreak havoc later if they’re not honored to a certain degree.
It’s time to make our own needs and preferences important. When we consistently do this, we’ll naturally stop focusing on accommodating others to the same degree. The pendulum will naturally swing back to a healthy balance.
I see us going beyond false accommodation to be able to authentically say “yes” to the food and experiences we truly want.
I see us practicing a new way of being the emotional centers of meals, one where we are kind, clear, and visible with our needs while remaining in harmony with others.
In the comments, tell me how you think women can take care of their own eating needs and preferences while also practicing kindness towards others. What does your version of balance looks like?