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.