Nurturing – What it Really Means

by Toni Steenson, Coraki, Australia

I recently attended a group presentation for women (and men if they chose to come), where many things were discussed, but one thing I found really potent was; what it means to deeply nurture oneself, and how this may look.

I had heard of the idea of nurturing oneself before, and then basically I had created a list from past experiences of things that were nurturing e.g. having a bath, going to bed early, preparing a loving meal, taking time to get ready for my day, doing my hair or nails, watching a movie etc. Where I had gone wrong with this was: I saw times when I needed to deeply nurture myself because I had a bad day and required some support to come back to myself, or alternatively if I had had a brilliant day and wanted to do something nurturing to confirm this feeling. When I had felt these times arise, I would have gone to the mental list I had created in my head and just performed one of these activities without really feeling if that was what would support me in the confirming / coming back to me process. And if I had not felt like doing anything on my so-called ‘self-nurturing’ list, I would almost berate myself for not caring or wanting to support myself.

The idea had been introduced to me at the women’s meeting that I know how to be deeply nurturing from my own experiences; what may be considered to be nurturing for myself in one situation may not be in the next. An activity may offer relief, which sounds great, but in my experience relief only masks what I am feeling by adding a ‘feel good’ feeling on top of what I am feeling, so it does not take long for the exact same stress or tension to seep through. Whereas the coming back to myself involves the process of feeling where I am at, then recognising and accepting how this came to be – and then choosing to reconnect and be with the feeling I know to be me.

So I can see it is really important to always feel if something is deeply nurturing, meaning it supports me to bring me back or confirms me in my amazingness; the gorgeous feelings I feel in my body when I am living in harmony with myself – or is it just an idea from my mental list of what I think is nurturing? I may think a bath is deeply nurturing, but do I feel to have a bath by candle light with incense, or in some other way: or, would a bath at this stage only offer me relief?… Or do I actually feel like lying down and just feeling my body while reflecting on my day.

So yes, there is always a mental list of possible activities I can do that I know from past experience can support me in the confirming of or reconnecting to myself, which I can refer to if I have let myself go so far I cannot feel what will specifically work at that time, but I now know that what it takes to deeply honour and nurture myself comes from within, and from this place I will get quite a precise way of going about this that will truly hold me.

176 thoughts on “Nurturing – What it Really Means

  1. Nurturing is a continuous deepening in our connection with our body and soul, that allows us to be more and more present, aware, loving and expanded in it.

  2. The more I am open to exploring what feels truly nurturing in any situation the more I am supported to re-connect with myself or confirm. Yesterday evening I was feeling disturbed after a series of conversations and chose to go for a walk as I could feel that the activity of walking with myself would support me to be with my body rather than letting my mind take over with lots of ‘what ifs’.

  3. We all know deep down how to deeply nourish ourselves, whether that is speaking up in the moment or going to bed when we feel tired. Nurturing is deeply natural to us all, we just need to surrender to hear our own heart beat.

  4. Nurturing really is the missing piece of the puzzle and is the first thing to drop when I am not really connected with myself. I can still go through the motions of doing self-caring things but if the quality of nurturing is not there it feels a bit empty and robotic.

  5. When we live in connection with our body we establish a true harmony and relationship with it and know, from listening to our inner wisdom, not only what is deeply nurturing but also what is truly honouring of the delicateness and preciousness of our body.

    1. The more we develop a relationship with our inner essence the more we naturally feel how best to support ourselves as we move through our day.

  6. A great point you share here Toni in understanding the difference between seeking relief and feeling what is truly nurturing for our body which highlights the importance our connection and relationship is with our body and to listen in every moment to what is specifically being called for.

  7. This is also where absolute honesty really starts to take hold. We can say we tick all the boxes, doing everything that sounds great, loving and nurturing but the real truth of that fact is found in the underlying intent of why you are doing these things in the first place.

  8. Thank you for this blog about what true nurturing is, and what it is not, I am sure there is space for many of us to go deeper with our nurturing.

  9. We adopt many ideas and solutions on what we think nurturing means to us that may have worked in the past but until we learn to feel exactly what our body is calling for each time and understand our own natural way of self-nurturing we may not be truly nurturing ourselves. I have found the more we listen to our body the more our awareness deepens to understand the wisdom and truth it holds.

  10. Of the many great points you share, what stood out for me was that nurturing can never come from a list or idea that is sourced outside of us. And also, something that has been nurturing for us in the past may need to be adjusted like in your example with the bath. As we grow and evolve so too does the quality of what supports us to deepen and confirm our connection needs adjust and deepen with us. This highlights the beautiful cycle of our unfolding and deepening and how it can only truly be lead by our connection to our essence within.

  11. Thank you Toni I feel that I am constantly deepening my understanding of nurturing and becoming more willing to go within to feel what would truly nurture me in a situation rather than going to my mental list of things that have worked for me in the past but may no longer be appropriate. The more I appreciate the depth of my tenderness the more I am open to feeling what is needed in any moment to nurture myself.

  12. Yes, it is always important to feel what the body is asking for rather than provide what we think it wants from a mental perspective, ‘it is really important to always feel if something is deeply nurturing, meaning it supports me to bring me back or confirms me in my amazingness’.

  13. I also noticed that nurturing is something I can use as a solution when I feel down but when I am going well I don’t consider it which then leads me to be down later on again, I then ‘nurture’ to be back feeling great and so on. I am learning now to make nurturing more part of how I live and not a tool to feel better or come back to myself.

  14. Every time I think ‘now I know or understand what nurturing means’ I realize there is more to it than I first considered and a deepening from what I first understood nurturing to be.

  15. ‘I now know that what it takes to deeply honour and nurture myself comes from within, and from this place I will get quite a precise way of going about this that will truly hold me.’
    Every time I give a workshop on self-care we touch on this topic. For a lot of people it is a big step to make a list with things that support them. To consider the next step, that it is actually not only about what you do, but more how you do what you do and about allowing yourself to be precise in what your body is communicating to you it needs right now, is often quite new to them.

  16. Checking in with my body as to what nurturing will support it at any given time is something I am starting to appreciate the importance of. Previously I had chosen from a list that I mentally created of what I thought nurturing was, but am finding since listening to the impulses of my body that each time I choose to nurture has its own quality and requirements depending on where my body is at.

  17. It is interesting how we can get caught into thinking how nurturing may look and adopt images from outside us yet I found nothing makes a true difference until we start listening to our body and building our awareness to what our body is truly calling for each time.

  18. Nurturing ourselves comes from an inner feeling rather than a mental to do list, ‘I now know that what it takes to deeply honour and nurture myself comes from within, and from this place I will get quite a precise way of going about this that will truly hold me.’

  19. Toni a great reminder not to get caught up in a mental list of self-nurturing, but to truly feel from our body what is needed at that time to self-nurture ourselves, and to be deeply honest with ourselves too.

  20. “I now know that what it takes to deeply honour and nurture myself comes from within, and from this place I will get quite a precise way of going about this that will truly hold me.” Beautifully said Toni, If we do so-called nurturing things but in the wrong energy and without quality can we call this truly nurturing?

  21. My work days are quite intense so I realise that during the day I need to check in with myself more and look at how I am feeling and what I need so that I don’t take things on and carry them with me.

  22. I love how you have highlighted Toni the process of feeling where we are at and listening to the body to know what it is truly calling for rather than finding a solution or going to a mental list that has worked in the past to nurture ourselves.

  23. I can relate Toni to attaching to and repeating certain things that I thought were nourishing and nurturing for my body, but actually did not make a true difference. The key to initiating true change was in focusing on how I really felt in my body, to connect to myself first and listen to what exactly my body needed, the nurturing experience then goes to a far deeper level.

  24. it is actually a very good point you raise here, as we are being asked to step up our level of awareness of the choices we make.. do we make them from our head as you said, or do we connect to the feelings within our body and go from there.. A profound sharing that is taking us into the depth of what our choices can exist out of — when we connect or when we choose to be less obedient to the connection to our body and choose to go the other way. Either way, eventually we have to keep feeling and nurture our body as without it is exhausted and unable to function eventually when we do not connect to our body in every single way that we can.

  25. So, nurturing is a daily process of feeling and recognising what is needed next to deeply support and honour who you are.

  26. A crucial point you highlighted here Toni, we so often hold pictures of how something like nurturing may look which distracts us from really feeling into whether the picture is truly nurturing and what is needed. Only our body is able to truly guide us to know what is needed in each moment and when we honour what we are feeling we cherish and value our inner qualities and self-worth.

  27. Nurturing is not about what we do but what we are feeling in the body and what it is asking for in any given moment when we are deeply connected.

  28. We can get stuck in our ways that prevent us from feeling what is true for us eg. having a shower in the morning no matter what! Thank God I am letting go of this habit. It’s not that I am reaction to having a shower in the morning, it’s whether it supports me to have one at this time of day every day! What I have noticed is that when I do shower when I feel to and not when I am coming from autopilot how I am in the shower and how I feel afterwards is very different in that I can feel it is what I need to support me as having a shower was true for me in that moment.

  29. I like to ask the question – how do you know what and how it is you personally need to nurture yourself (or anything for that matter) ? There is no one way in each time however, there is your way -your special way to go deeper in that moment. Honour all that is there by honouring all of You. If accepted, and all of it, it will be there.

  30. It is feeling into every situation in connection with ourselves, and from there allowing love to determine our next movement…. this is true nurturing.

  31. Discovering what true nurturing really means has been the key to deepening my relationship with myself and cherishing moments to honour what my body is feeling thereby building a steadiness within that is deeply beholding.

  32. Connecting to what lies within and allowing yourself to be guided by what you feel is an exquisite way to move through life… for the impulses from there always encompass a quality and depth that cannot but honour us and therefore be deeply nurturing in nature.

  33. “I now know that what it takes to deeply honour and nurture myself comes from within, and from this place I will get quite a precise way of going about this that will truly hold me.” Lovely to re-read your post Toni. It is the quality with which we do every little thing in our day that can be nurturing. No more ‘off’ moments.

  34. When we have a picture of what something will give us or should give us in a particular moment or feeling, then we quickly dismiss impulses from our soul when the two don’t match up. Like believing that it is nurturing only to have a bath or paint our fingernails or lie down or go on a vacation but your actually feeling from your body to go for a walk, or cook dinner or even clean and organise the house.

  35. Thank you Toni what has been reinforced for me re-reading this today is being open to the precision of what will nurture me in any moment and being willing to feel into this rather than fall back on pictures of what I think nurturing should look like.

  36. “What it takes to deeply honour and nurture myself comes from within, and from this place I will get quite a precise way of going about this that will truly hold me.” I love how you have described nurturing here Toni, when we honour how our body is feeling by what is is communicating to us it holds and confirms us back.

  37. Holding pictures of how things should be is like having expectations of what things will do for you . Both we are denying and/or rejecting what we need in the moment. Great blog Toni.

  38. This is a vey interesting observation – I have often noticed that sometimes if I have a particularly stressful or intense day and I have a bath to relax at the end of the day, it often calms me down a bit, but there is always a nagging feeling that the mood or energy I was caught in has not gone. So I can lie in the bath so called relaxing, while my mind is still whirring around with all the stuff from the day or any other worries I might have. This tells me that just applying a solution to when I don’t feel myself does not really work, but stopping to re-connect to my body and the stillness within is the only way I have found to cut the mood or unsettled feeling in my body or mind.

    1. Yes, I can relate to this. Often I’ll feel how I’ve pushed myself, and feeling a bit not quite myself, and then think I should ‘do something’ nurturing to bring me back, but if it comes from my head, thinking ‘that’s what I need’ , rather than really feeling what my body wants to do, invariably it doesn’t work and just adds to the tension. Sometimes the most nurturing thing to do is to complete a piece of work for example, rather than go to bed not having done it, and be thinking about it for the next few hours and next day.

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