As a nurturer and a giver at your home or at work, it may feel unreal to be able to do what comes naturally to you—giving unconditional love, care, and support to those you value most. Chances are, you are sought out because you have the personality traits of a giver, nurturer, and protector. Being there for your family, friends and co-workers when they desperately need comfort and support make your life more meaningful.
However, like all nurturers you often neglect your own need to be unconditionally loved, cared for and supported. When it comes to your own personal needs it’s difficult for you to address them. It’s imperative that you pay attention to your own needs—your emotional, physical, physiological and spiritual wellbeing. Here are seven ways to nurture you.
1. GET TO KNOW YOU
Often times we have a false perception of who we are as a person. Our perspective many times are wrong because we are so busy; helping, caring, giving and nurturing others. That we don’t take the time to learn who we are, what our needs are, what our likes and dislikes are, what are deal breakers for us, whether we’re happy and so on. Invest time in getting to know yourself. It’s not only critical but it’s necessary, “you connect with you.” This is one investment you will not regret.
In my personal experience, this was a way for me to avoid dealing with the source of my personal issues. When we’re way too busy taking care of everyone else we don’t have time to face our personal truth. I have come to realize, “only when you know who you are; you can truly own who you are”.
You may discover hidden talents, your creativity or gain a new understanding of who you’re meant to be. Reading well written; articles and books. As well as listening to motivational speakers have all given guidance and direction to me on my journey of self-discovery. A helpful book to read is, ‘The Declaration of You!’ How To Find It, Own It and Shout It from the Rooftops by Michelle Ward.
2. LEARN TO LOVE YOUR IMPERFECTIONS
I came upon this quote, “The word “imperfect” actually spells “I’m perfect” because everyone is perfect in their own imperfect way.” Do you consider yourself imperfect? Embracing your imperfections will put you miles ahead of everyone else. Most people are under the notion that we need to be perfect in every way.
I once believed that ridiculous lie and now find it laughable because I actually tried to be perfect. Would you like to know how that worked out for me? Not well at all. The more perfect I tried to be the less perfect I was. Eventually, after failing many times I decided to love my imperfections and the imperfect me. This is when I began the inner process of healing and self-acceptance. Now my personal mantra is, “I’m perfect in my imperfection.”
I love Marc Jacobs perspective on this. He said, “I don’t love Photoshop; I like imperfection. It doesn’t mean ugly. I love a girl with a gap between her teeth, versus perfect white veneers. Perfection is just…boring. Perfection is what’s natural or real; that is beauty.” If you’re looking for a good read on this topic, I recommend the book, ‘The Gift of Imperfection’ by Brene Brown.
3. DO THINGS YOU ENJOY DOING
This was an essential step to my self-nurturing because by doing the things I enjoyed doing I found self-fulfillment. When you create that time for enjoyable things you’ll find yourself; laughing, feeling happy and being more relaxed. We tend to underestimate just how stressful our daily lives are.
This is where getting to know yourself comes into play. The more you know about you. The more you can plan and enjoy activities tailored exclusively for you. Another benefit of this is, it could cultivate within you a passion for life, which you may not have had or may have lost. Amazing new doors could open up to you simply by doing the things you love and enjoy doing. Always remember to, “Nurture the Nurturer.”
4. RELAX AND LITERALLY SMELL THE ROSES
Relaxation can take many forms. It could be; a trip to the beauty salon, getting a pedicure and manicure, getting a massage, going for a walk or going outdoors and enjoying nature in its many forms. One thing is for sure any of these activities can help to get you in a relaxed state of mind.
Whatever you choose to do make sure it’s something, which will help you reduce your stress level. I read a quote, “The smell of rain can help reduce stress and raise the mood up to 60%.” I couldn’t find scientific proof of that statement, but you never know. You could be one of the people whose mood rises by the smell of rain. There are, however, many natural scents which are well proven to give you a feeling of well-being. The Huffington Post has an article by Lindsay Holmes titled, “11 Scents That Can Do Wonders For Your Well-Being.” This article is a rich source of information on natural scents.
5. SPEND TIME ENJOYING YOUR OWN COMPANY
Take time away from your everyday life and escape to a place that offers you; quiet, calm and soothing peacefulness. Spending time alone will help build your self-confidence, your self-esteem, and self-reliance. When I became comfortable with being alone and not lonely I was able to unlock a very powerful part of myself and I gained an unparalleled freedom of self. Think of time spent alone as an ‘emotional holiday.’ I created a YouTube video titled, “How To Be Happy Alone.” it offers advice, tips, and encouragement.
One other amazing benefit of spending time alone is, it allows you to think and thinking is a good thing. In his book, ‘How Successful People Think’ John C. Maxwell explores the different types, benefits, and levels of thinking. The kind of thinking that can be life changing. In his book, he writes about reflective thinking. Here’s a short excerpt, “Yet, experience alone does not add value to a life. It’s not necessarily experience that is valuable; it’s the insight people gain because of the experience. Reflective thinking turns experience into insight.” It’s very important to spend time away from other to tend to your emotional health.
6. LEARN TO SAY NO
Saying NO, this is something I had an extremely difficult time with. I just hated to say NO to anyone and I found myself spread too thin, unhappy and in unpleasant situations. I felt guilty when I said NO and I tried to please everyone. I couldn’t stand the thought of making anyone unhappy with me. But something started changing when I turned thirty and I slowly learned the empowerment of saying NO. By the time I turned forty all my “Ah HA” moments seemed to collide together and left me with a new realization; which was it’s okay to put me first.
Learn to say NO. When others overstep their boundaries or are asking too much of you. You have the right to say NO. NO can be said in many different ways; I’m sorry – I can’t do that, I don’t feel comfortable doing that, I’m not available, let me think about it (this one buys you time). Stephanie Lahart puts it across eloquently, “Let today mark a new beginning for you. Give yourself permission to say NO without feeling guilty, mean, or selfish. Anybody who gets upset and/or expects you to say YES all the time clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Always remember: You have a right to say NO without having to explain yourself. Be at peace with your decision.” (Quote from goodreads.com)
7. BE OK WITH RECEIVING FROM OTHERS
“And there’s also ‘To him that hath shall be given.’ After all, you must have a capacity to receive, or even omnipotence can’t give. Perhaps your own passion temporarily destroys the capacity.” By C. S. Lewis, a Gift Observed. (Quote from goodreads.com)
Often times nurturers who are naturally givers have a very hard time receiving from others, I know I did. I was so used to giving to others that it felt unnatural for me to accept help from others. Is this an area you have difficulty with? Do you know why that is? In my case, it came from an unhealthy place. I felt unworthy and insignificant. I didn’t place any value on myself and my abilities. I just didn’t understand my value or see myself as valuable. It’s taken me much time, persistence, and hard work to get to the place where I know my value and worth. Now I not only give to others but I receive from them as well.
I wholeheartedly believe that we block our own blessings by standing in our own way. Even though we give, comfort, nurture and protect others. We too often minimize and devalue those God-given gifts and abilities. In receiving from others there’s a sense of humility, acceptance and community. It gives me an assurance that I’m not alone and that I’m doing something right when others are willing to step up and help me in my time of need. That quiet assurance; encourages me, empowers me, comforts me and propels me to be a better human being. If you have difficulty receiving from others I pray that you will grow in this area.
Those are the seven ways to nurture you. I do hope that this blog post encourages you to take great care of you. That it gives you permission to unapologetically put you first. Also, that you’ll finally give yourself some much-needed self-love, pampering, and care. If you forget everything else I wrote, remember this one thing, “Nurture the Nurturer!”