Learning to Nurture Ourselves
Being aware of how we talk to ourselves is essential. Often, we have had the negative and critical voices playing in our heads for so long that we aren't even aware of them anymore. Over time we can forget what being nurtured feels like, and it may even become uncomfortable to accept nurturing from others. So we end up in a loop of discomfort, when we need nurturing the most, but we are unable to nurture ourselves and we reject it from others. This often creates many additional emotions including anger, sadness, resentment, fear, and loneliness.
When we get to this point, it can be hard to know where to look to rediscover how to nurture ourselves. There don't seem to be very many readily available, good examples of what positive nurturing looks like. Even when there are, we are often unable to see and accept these examples or we find them uncomfortable to witness so we continue to avoid them.
A mindset change is necessary. We must realize that nurturing ourselves is not selfish and absolutely necessary for our mental wellness. It may be uncomfortable to incorporate it back into our lives, and we may want to resist it. However, as with all habits, overtime the more we practice the easier it gets.
When we have forgotten how to nurture ourselves, we can look for examples within ourselves and from the world around us. When you are in need of nurturing, speak to yourself like you would speak to a young child in need of gentle words. Actually picture the scenario in your head of you talking to this child to hear how you would speak to them and then repeat those words to yourself. If you begin to feel uncomfortable remember to accept the discomfort, lean into it and give yourself permission to feel it. We need to move through our discomfort to find and accept our nurturing selves again.
You can look internally and think about how you want to be nurtured. Actually ask yourself what you need in the moment. We all have ideas of what we want and how we would like someone else to nurture us, so we can choose to treat ourselves in that way. Again, it may be uncomfortable, but when we practice we get better and the discomfort fades.
Learning to nurture ourselves is essential for our well-being. We are responsible for our own self-love and nurturing. Becoming aware of the critical and negative thoughts that happen in our heads is important in the process of nurturing ourselves. Recognizing the critical and negative thoughts can be difficult, but if we allow them to continue they sabotage our efforts of self-compassion and love.
To discover where these voices hide we can become really intentional with mindfulness practices and set intentions before taking action, which creates a different outcome more in alignment with the desired growth. Try focusing on discovering the nuances in your thoughts and actions. What happens in the in between moments. What are the whispers saying? Recognizing and re-framing these thoughts, practicing self-care and nurturing. Talk lovingly to yourself during these times because that is when we need nurturing the most. By learning to look inward rather than looking for it externally, we take responsibility for intentional self-love and worthiness. Through these practices, veils of darkness and loneliness can be lifted.