"Self-nurturing means, above all, making a commitment to self-compassion, to the creation of a loving and positive attitude toward yourself."
Nurturing ourselves is as not as easy as it sounds. On one level we all know what the word means, and yet on another level, it is a tricky word when it comes to applying it in our daily lives.
For example, a client once shared with me what he thought was a nurturing decision and yet as we looked at what unfolded, it was anything but nurturing.
My client was exhausted so one morning he slept in late. He was tired and sleeping in appeared to be a nurturing choice. However because he woke up later than usual he left home with just enough time to get to an appointment. If all went just as planned, it could have worked out. But what happened was that he was rushed and stressed, arrived over ten minutes late for his appointment, and felt terrible. When we take a closer look at his choice, we see rather than being nurturing it actually created more stress.
Have you ever done something like this? Have you ever made a decision to do something nurturing and it was anything but? In the above example, as we slow down the process and really take a look at what was happening with him unconsciously, we see the seeds of true nurturing are evident in the outcome and results.
If the plants in our garden started growing and then just suddenly stopped, we would become concerned. We would look at where the problem is and ask ourselves some important questions. Am I watering it too much, not enough, is there a disease process, etc.? True and healthy nurturing is being able to look at our issues and symptoms in a way that enables us to grow from them. It is the ability to look at the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual outcomes of our lives and trace those outcomes back to the generating causes. The causal level is where we have the greatest opportunity to practice the kind of true nurturing that creates a whole, healthy and vital life.
Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Big Results
In my work with clients, I take them through a nurturing process that enables them to be present to themselves. It goes like this:
· When someone or something triggers you into a reaction, first see what it feels like inside of you. This could be a feeling like your stomach hurts, you get a headache, or you feel anxious, angry, upset, etc. This interrupts the reacting part in us and separates us from the trigger.
· Then ask yourself if there is an unconscious fear associated with your feeling. This could go like this: when someone treats me like……, I am afraid he will or I will……….. What? Finish the sentence, and if you can, see what comes out of your mouth or thoughts. It may not make logical sense. It could go like this as an example: when someone talks with me without looking at me, it makes me feel unseen. When I am not seen I am afraid I will stay unseen. If I am unseen, I am afraid I will be alone, be abandoned, whatever feels right to you at that moment even if you don’t logically understand it.
· Take a look at what you have just realized about yourself and see that this is about you, and not about the other person or event.
· If you can, go back in time and see when this feeling began for you. Ask yourself if this response is still warranted or appropriate.
· Ask yourself if this is true, or if any of it is true at all.
· Allow yourself to move forward in a different direction rather than to always go to your default place, for example, of feeling unseen.
This process breaks a cycle and helps us to know ourselves better, to take care of ourselves and to grow. It is very important here to see that what we react to is always about us.
Try this, and if you feel so moved, please get back with me and let me know how it worked for you. If you need help with this, feel free to call or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 314-995-9755.
You will also see on my web site that I am co facilitating a workshop in San Antonio TX on September 28 and 29 which you might be interested in learning more about, and also I have my recurring class at the St Louis Meramec Community College on Forgiveness. These events are also on my website.