NURTURE: Four Principles of Bringing Home to Life series
Updated: 2 days ago
Growing up, I was largely left to meet my own needs: soothing myself when I was scared, managing my own pain. As children, we don’t have the skills to nurture ourselves, so instinctively, we do what will help us survive in the moment. To keep myself “safe”; I withdrew into my own little world...a world I could control and manage. In that world I was seen and my needs were met. In that world, I was special and safe and powerful.
Escaping through various means like daydreaming, addictions or denial is both instinctual and learned. Escape may keep us safe in the moment, but it does not create the rich soil our souls need to grow.
When I got married and had children, I did not know how to care for them. Every expectation felt like an impossible task. It felt like I was a toddler being asked to unload the groceries from the car and put them away. Emotionally, I was a toddler; still seeking out the person who was going to take care of me.
When we live from a state of want, our default is to gravitate all of our energy and focus to filling that void. I was no different. It was hard for me to look beyond my own needs in order to take care of those around me. But because I wanted my family to have what I lacked as a child, I had to learn how to care for others. I found that simple acts of nurture went a long way for creating the kind of environment the whole family needed to mature and grow, but it also made a profound difference in me.
Simple acts of meeting needs, connecting, and taking care can be done at any time and often with very little personal cost. Nurturing through self-expression creates a healing experience for you as well as the ones you are caring for. Being very sensitive to my environment, I nurtured my family by beautifying our space. Nurturing from my personal passion didn’t take from me; it strengthened me. By taking time to beautify our home, I was able to grow an authentic family culture around beauty and creativity.
Sometimes nurturing means doing things that don’t come as easy. As we mature, we realize there are things we just need to do, whether they are easy or we want to or not...like watering the plants, feeding the dog or holding a child. Being touched overwhelmed me, but I knew that physical connection with my children was necessary for emotional connection, so I chose to hold hands, wrestle, and engage in long lap hugs. I didn’t know it at the time, but while I was physically connecting with others, I was actually nurturing myself and growing my personal ability to emotionally connect.
Nurturing is both an art of expression based on who you are and your natural bent; and it is a science that can be learned and expressed with precision to most effectively meet the needs of the people and things around us. Think of the things that bring you joy and incorporate them into how you nurture and care for others. At the same time, let yourself be challenged by doing something you know is important but is out of your comfort zone. Both will fill your cup and bring you to greater inner peace.
What are your favorite ways to nurture? What things have you chosen to do based on the needs of the ones you are caring for?