Nurturing Yourself Part 1

Many times when I talk to survivors about nurturing themselves, they roll their eyes and give me a tired look, as if to say, “We’ll bear with you. We know you’re from California.” Nurturing is seen as some New-Age practice. Or as something self-indulgent (and therefore wrong) that we only do under duress (like a major illness). In reality, learning to love and take care of yourself is at the core of the healing process.

When survivors want to know how far along they are in the healing process, I ask them what they are doing to take care of themselves before I ask anything else. I don’t ask if they have memories. I don’t ask if they’re angry. I don’t ask if they’ve confronted their abuser. I ask, “Are you gentle and forgiving with yourself when you make a mistake? Are you able to take breaks? Are you on your own side or are you still fighting yourself every step along the way. Do you give yourself credit for your accomplishments? Are you proud of yourself?

From The Courage to Heal Workbook by Laura Davis.

10 thoughts on “Nurturing Yourself Part 1

  1. That’s a great quote. I think this is something everyone struggles with who hasn’t been effectively parented, and it’s really hard to “see” it in one’s own life, though usually very easy to see in other people’s lives.

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    • Hi David,

      I agree, it is a great quote. I am trying to work on this and find new ways that comfort me and bring some peaceful feelings into the moments of my life.

      I agree with you that inadequate parenting can cause this. I have also been thinking how culturally and religiously we are taught to devalue our body, our pleasures, out moments of quiet joy, our everyday and wonderful life. I want to explore ways of embracing those things into my life.

      The book has some suggestions for looking for them and I will post about that in the evening. There is a couple of thought-provoking questions to fill out in the book and they are bringing up some things that worked in the past.

      I think if we can do things that are good for us and feel good at the same time while understanding that this is me time, I think that will help in all areas of life. I know I need to do more.

      Kate

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  2. I agree, this is a great quote. And all too true. It reminds me of the time that my back up therapist said the only way to get over toxic parenting was to stop being so toxic to myself. Easier said than done, of course.

    I cannot say I’m good to myself, or acknowledge my accomplishments or even cut myself some slack occasionally.

    Kate, please let us know if you find some ways to do this regularly. I’m keen to build this in as part of my daily existence, but I lack the tools to know how.

    Good and healing thoughts to you. 😉

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    • Hi Kerro,

      I love your back up therapist. Very smart. All the truly hard truths can easily and quickly be understood and yet take a long time and a lot of effort to assimilate into someone’s life.

      You are a wonderful and exceptional woman and I hope that you do come to believe what others see very quickly about you.

      I guess I am about half way there on the journey. I think I am okay with that. It’s pretty complex and I am trying to give myself the credit for all that I have done so far. I guess for me I keep trying to remind myself of the good opinions of others and what they tell me about myself. I still need to hear those things cause I can’t believe them about myself yet.

      I am going to try to figure that out, cause remembering to do the good things, that is what leads to failulre in this area. I keep saying I need lists, but maybe a calendar type thing that is big enough to write projects down on. Or a jar with suggestions in it that you take one out of every day, and if you don’t want to do the suggestion that day you have to come up with a different thing to do and do it. I have a few other ideas and once I move I will also work on that and continue posting to the blog with what I am coming up with.

      I think the key for me is what I will be writing about later today. To find nurturing and fun things that don’t seem like self-care, so that there isn’t some inner turmoil about it. For me the key word is fun. Also there is a great idea about that in the book, so I will write more about that.

      Thank you for your kind words. Good and healing thoughts to you as well.

      Kate

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      • I really like back up therapist too. In her honour I’m not going to ignore the lovely things you said about me – thank you. 🙂

        I also really like your ideas about writing down ideas for self-care – having a jar full of self-nurturing things is a great idea. I really like the element of surprise in the jar, though for me there’d have to be no copping out! I also like the idea of a calendar for perhaps bigger things we want to do. For me there’s also another jar or list of things to do when I am sick and need to rest.

        I completely understand how much turmoil the notion of “self-care” causes. I suffer from something similar with “rest”. Sigh.

        Well done for getting half way there. That’s awesome! 🙂

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  3. Pingback: A ramble on healing, nurturing and the like – Part One « Kerro’s Korner

  4. Nurturing myself? Ugh, I don’t do that very well. Oddly enough, when I was single mother to 5 sons I was very nurturing. Maybe not as much as my sons needed, but I made the effort to be there for them, and to show them affection.

    Nurturing myself though seems…self-indulgent I guess. Oh, I understand the need for it, at least intellectually I do. But emotionally all kinds of alarms sound when I determine that I’m really going to start treating myself better.

    I approach this whole issue of self-nurturing as I do so many things: with tentative baby steps. But even baby steps move you forward!

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    • Hi Beauty,

      I am going to try to find a few ways to go around the nurturing block. And I will post them as I go along. The workbook has a few good question I will be posting more on tonight.

      Nurturing yourself is the name that I am using. It sort of works for me. But I think soon I will just abandon the phrase and not have a name for it when I am doing it. Blocks are so hard sometimes to overcome. Do the words stress management or relaxation work any better for you?

      Baby steps are good.

      Kate

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  5. This quote is so true.
    I have a book called “the women’s comfort book” by Jennifer Louden, and it’s got an index in it, of all things, where I can look up how I’m feeling and it gives suggestions based on that on what I can do to nurture myself. It’s great when I’m out of ideas or trying to change a less-funtional self-comfort strategy for a healthier one.

    You find the greatest little gems, Kate!
    Blessings to you,
    SDW

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    • Hi SDW,

      I loved that book too. I post about it sometimes, it is in my Nurturing Part 3 post. It really helps someone to have someone make suggestions. 🙂

      I also have several of her other books, the comfort retreat book and the comfort queen’s book, but have not read those yet and need to bring them out while packing and start using them as well. I’m thinking that they might be as helpful.

      She used to have a great website that had the same kind of index and it referred you to suggestions and little articles. That was great, but she took it down some time ago.

      Good and healing thoughts to you.

      Kate

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