Every once in a while, I have to remind myself to self-nurture.
What I mean by self-nurture is, to focus on my own needs. I can tell when I’m feeling “needy”, and I try to take the time to check in with myself and understand what it is that I need.
Physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
It sounds selfish, yet, too often, I have a tendency to look after everyone else’s needs first. I’m a wife and mom. Enough said? But, sometimes, when I get too busy meeting other people’s needs, I forget to think about my own. Can you relate?
If you’re someone’s child, sibling, friend, partner, parent, or relative, then I’m sure, at some point in your life, you’ve felt obligated to meet these people’s needs. You may have had to meet their needs before your own.
Unlike the narcissist, people who nurture themselves enough feel more complete and fulfilled in their life. That leaves space to be able to (and want to) nurture others. Before I can truly care about anyone else and give them my complete love and nurturing, I need to self-nurture myself and feel loved by me. If feeling completely loved means sometimes meeting my own needs first, then that’s what I need to do.
My basic PHYSICAL needs are to have food, a home, clothing, cleanliness, and health. These are all part of being human and to ensure my survival in our culture and world.
My basic EMOTIONAL needs are equally essential to me. Within myself, every moment, I need to feel safe, loved, and worthy. With those who I love (even the furry ones), I have emotional needs that include feeling loved, accepted, appreciated, and respected by all my family and friends. In addition, I need to have connections with other people in my community, when I travel, and with my online groups. In these relationships, I need to feel liked, accepted, and respected in our connection.
My LIFE needs are all about having a purpose, finding direction, contributing back to the world, and attaining meaning in my life.Purpose brings me enlightenment, inspiration, and empowerment. Being a dreamer and embracing my spirituality gives me direction. Giving back to the world makes me feel grateful for what I have and offers a chance for me to contribute to something greater. All of these bring meaning to my life.
With a healthy and balanced foundation, I can easily meet most of my needs. Some can be difficult to regulate and control, but when I embrace the magic of what my future might bring, I try to just let life flow through me.
Love and be loved. Self-nurture and nurture others. Repeat.
How do I NURTURE myself?
What am I needing right now? I do a quick body scan to notice what feels out of sync in my body. I ask myself if I can feel (in my body) what need is being overlooked.
After recognizing what I need, and not putting too much thought into it, I try to understand why I might be feeling this way. Am I tired or sick, physically or emotionally uncomfortable, or does my need involve a certain person or situation that I’m in?
Giving myself permission to not over analyze, react, or try to resolve this understanding of my needs, I respond, at first, by doing nothing. I just sit with these recognitions for a while and, without feeling guilty, I try to accept my neediness for what it is.
Before trying to meet a need, I recall everything that I feel grateful for in my life. Most times, simply identifying all of these will immediately restore my balance and the feelings of neediness will dissipate a little.
A lot of my neediness stems from feeling wound up and physically stressed out. I do yoga, go for walks, putter around my house, and venture into my community to unwind. To ensure that all my physical needs are replenished, occasionally I will splurge on treats, do some baking therapy, hire a cleaning service, and book spa appointments when I can.
I believe that some of the unfulfilled adult needs that people have are the same ones that haven’t been met in their childhood. I think it’s important to reflect on these because If we don’t, we won’t grow emotionally.
Lately, I did an activity that was so healing to some childhood needs that weren’t met for me. Based on the trauma work I was doing in therapy, and by revisiting a memory of my childhood bedroom, I recreated the room and physically built a miniature of it. Having the power to place each detailed item where I wanted them to go, allowed me to re-live the memory of this room and transform it into a positive experience. Try it!
I think that when anyone feels completely balanced in their life and they feel like all their needs are being met, they have a responsibility to empower other people. Especially when some of us are more fortunate than others, we need to rise to the occasion and lift each other up when we can. Do it!
I could care less about myself, but then that would leave no space to self-nurture. So instead, I choose to love and feel loved and self-nurture and nurture others. Then, I repeat.
Tracy Bryan writes whimsical books for kids ages 4-12. She likes to tackle important and diverse topics that affect kids and their families. She writes a blog for adults and one for kids aged 7-12 called The Awesomeness Blog.
Currently, Tracy and her daughter Jade are collaborating on a picture book series together about neurodiversity called Spectrum. Learn more here! Tracy is also currently writing a personal narration novel about childhood trauma and a middle grade chapter book called Unplugged At Sea.