Building Nurturing into our Daily Lives

by Alison Moir, UK

I have been attending Esoteric Developers Women’s Group over the last couple of years; this has been so supportive. It has been amazing to see how everyone attending has expanded their awareness of what it means to be a woman.

From a young age I never really accepted myself as a woman, partly because as a teenager I never got tall, my breasts never really grew and I didn’t look like the other girls at school, so I brushed aside the fact that I was a woman and avoided womanly things. Buying dresses was always a problem, as I couldn’t fill them in all the right places.

So at a recent meeting when we began to discuss nurturing, what it meant to us as women, and how we could bring it into our lives, I must admit I wobbled a bit – did I really know what it meant to nurture as a woman?

I have noticed that the word to nurture is not used very often. We seem to have kept it reserved for mothers with babies, or if we are sick.

As women, most of us have not been taught to nurture. We learn from an early age that our husband, our children, our family come first, so looking after ourselves comes way down the list of things to do.

Before these meetings we all had our own view of what nurturing was, and what level we were willing to go to look after ourselves.

In the discussion a few women told us what they once did as their way of ‘nurturing’.

For some of them it was about looking good – they took pampering to the extreme. They would have a list of things to do that would take all day to make sure they looked good. The thing about this was that whatever they did, it was never enough. If it didn’t get the response from others they were hoping for, that somehow they had failed.

Someone else shared that if they had a bad day or week or felt off, they would become more disciplined and take on a hardened focus. They used their body as an extreme marker of fitness. They would go to the gym or become more disciplined about what they ate, even fasting, until they felt better.

It is very easy to get fixed views of what nurturing is. It can become a regime, something we must do.

We have this picture of how we would like to be. We then look outside ourselves to compare, and when we see others doing things in a certain way, rather than stopping and seeing if that is true for us, we try to make it part of our life. We then struggle to maintain this as something we need to do, rather than what would really be true for us. 

What if nurturing was part of our everyday living, something we naturally know?

What if waking up early was nurturing, so that we didn’t need to rush for work or to get the kids to school?

Taking a bath to enjoy you, and not because you are exhausted or your muscles ache or because you spent too long in the gym.

What if it was about making space in the day? It is you in the moment listening to your body.

What if gently putting on your face cream was something you did to feel the lovely texture of your skin, to feel the beauty within you and not to cover the wrinkles or hide the tiredness you might be feeling.

What if nurturing isn’t a doing but a loving way of being with ourselves?

I know that as soon as I go into the doing everything seems to get faster, there is never enough time, and I become anxious to try and fit everything in.

Nowadays, so much focus in magazines, in newspapers, at school, at work, is all about looking outside ourselves, encouraging us to compare ourselves with others.

From young we are not given the space or encouragement to feel what is true for us, instead we are shown what somebody thinks is ‘best’ for us, not what is really true for us.

As women we are all natural nurturers: I am just beginning to see this in myself. When I allow this natural feeling to come out, how I touch things, how I massage cream onto my face, how I pick up things, all become so much more loving towards myself.

I am learning there is no longer an urgency to get things done, and accept that there is a natural space in my day for everything.

By being gentle with ourselves and listening to the natural rhythms of our bodies we can begin to feel what will really nurture and support us while we are at work, out with friends or at home with the family.

132 thoughts on “Building Nurturing into our Daily Lives

  1. “What if nurturing isn’t a doing but a loving way of being with ourselves?” Spot on. An appreciation of the natural beauty of being a woman.

  2. For me the key to becoming more nurturing with myself has been in changing the way I approach the daily self care tasks that I previously rushed through in a perfunctory way but now allow myself the space to be more loving and this supports me in the rest of my day and is a constantly evolving way of being with myself.

  3. “From young we are not given the space or encouragement to feel what is true for us, instead we are shown what somebody thinks is ‘best’ for us, not what is really true for us.” I can see that I still follow those ideas of what’s best instead of what’s true and nurturing for me, it’s quite a big thing to break down because ‘what’s best’ is across all areas of life, but the key to return to what is true for me is really in listening to my body and honouring how I feel.

  4. I have observed that the moment I go into the ‘doing’, I have disconnected from my body, space constricts, my movements are rushed, it is a fight with time….feels very yucky even as I write! That said, it was not so long ago, that I had no awareness of this – lots for me to appreciate that I can now feel the difference!

    1. When we go into ‘doing’ we lose our connection with ourselves and it is great to appreciate when we can feel the difference and thus have a choice to come back to being and feeling what is true for us.

  5. I can honestly say I had no clue what it meant to nurture myself as a woman having disconnected from my body and my innermost being. I had to re-learn how to nurture myself with just giving to myself, whether that be giving myself more space in my day, giving myself an early night, which meant I was up early and had more time in the morning to get ready, and simply taking a nap during the day when I felt to – nurturing for me begins with listening to your body as our bodies communicate with us al the time.

  6. When we bring a quality and awareness to our presence we align to our body’s natural rhythm and wisdom that is always communicating to us, we just need to be open and willing to listen and be responsive.

  7. I agree Alison, we can get caught out having a fixed view about what nurturing is and making it a must do brings a narrowness and rigidity to something that naturally flows from within when we are open to feeling and responding in every moment with what our body is calling for.

  8. Wow! The warped understanding of nurturing within society is very very damaging. Pushing women to do things that are not in any way nurturing of them. Nurturing to me feels like doing the things that support you to bring out your essence in life and not to hide it or obscure it. When we think we are who we are because what we do we are totally lost as we are already everything within us.

  9. We’re not taught from young how to live and move with space in our lives.. everything fast becomes about what we do and how quickly we can do it. Letting go of pictures and feeling what to do and when to do it hugely supports us in allowing and embracing of more space.

  10. Nurturing is not something we do when we’re exhausted and take ourselves off to health spa ” it’s a loving way of being with ourselves?” in our everyday.

  11. Many women I meet do not know the meaning of the word nurturing or associate it with nurturing others, not themselves.

  12. Nurturing can be in anything from the way or more precise the quality we breath in, work on our computers and take care of our bodies. The body is the clear instigator here and can exactly communicate the details of nurturing that it wants. And recently I also discovered how nurturing communication and expressing what I feel is.

  13. True nurturing is not a doing but quality of relationship we have with ourselves throughout each day. It is a constant choice to be with our bodies in a deeply loving, caring, honouring way. As women we have lost our way and re-learning how to connect to precious inner qualities rather than seek outside for outer validation and recognition a foundational first step.

  14. The more we connect with our bodies, listen to and honour what they say, the more we are able to bring nurturing into our lives.

  15. Being nurturing is a quality, and the way we are with ourselves, over and above anything we can do. We can do nurturing loving things like having baths etc but if we’re doing it in a rush or to fit a picture and not because we really feel like doing it, it doesn’t really do the trick. Nurturing feels like it’s also about letting go and allowing ourselves to be and express who we are, and to love it.

  16. I love how my body guides me in what is nurturing and supportive to me. The more I listen the more I learn and the deeper I can go with my nurturing. This morning how I am typing with my fingers on the keyboard, is it with the awareness and honouring of the delicacy in my fingers..

  17. It would be amazing if nurturing was a natural part of our daily living, we can choose to bring it into our lives, ‘What if nurturing was part of our everyday living, something we naturally know?’

  18. ‘It is very easy to get fixed views of what nurturing is. It can become a regime, something we must do.’
    And sometimes I hear women saying I have ‘done’ this, I have ticked that box now, that part of my life has been taken care of, now I can do whatever I want for the rest of the day.

    1. Like The Gentle Breath Meditation, nurturing is integral to life not a tick box activity outside of everyday living

      1. Yes, and just like love that has no off switch, but can only deepen, the same goes for nurturing there is not an end state we can reach and then we are done, there is always more to deepen into.

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