N is for nurture
Updated: Mar 22
To nurture means to care, protect and provide the things required to nourish and help someone or something develop.
Nurturing ourselves and others plays an important role in allowing us to flourish and create a life of purpose.
We are all connected and when we nurture ourselves and live our best lives this has a positive impact on those around us and a net gain for society as a whole.
"Changing your life does not always mean that you stop doing certain things. It may mean that you start doing certain other things. What you really want to do is nurture the attitude that you are open to learning more about yourself. Accepting more about yourself. This is what will inspire you to do something new." Iyanla Vanzant
Nurture your mind
"Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think." Benjamin Disraeli
"Nurture your minds with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes."
We create our lives with the thoughts which are persistent and to which we give the most attention so it is important to create a better relationship with our thoughts e.g. through the practice of defusion and focus our energy and minds on positive and uplifting things that will contribute to our wellness.
“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway on the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives” Henry David Thoreau
“Like tiny seeds with potent power to push through tough ground and become mighty trees, we hold innate reserves of unimaginable strength. We are resilient.” Catherine DeVrye
When we feed our mind it expands our horizons and gives us the tools to follow through on our own creative thought processes rather than leave them as pipe dreams.
“A brilliant idea is like a baby in a mothers womb. You need to bring it out in the world, nurture it, feed it, grow it, till it becomes big enough to take care of itself. If you leave it at the stage of an idea itself, it is as good as non existent.” Manoj Arora
Nurture your body
“Degeneration and illness of our body is natural, but still we need to nurture it and take care of it, as we carry it until the last breath”. Anupama Garg
We nurture our bodies though self-care. Self-care is the key to living a balanced life. It is concerned with self-awareness, reflection and processing and facing head on what is causing us to hold back, avoid or want to become numb and in so doing we develop our resilience and a growth mindset , enhance our energy levels and are working on creating a body that won’t let us down through our own self-sabotage and neglect.
"Self-care is different to self-improvement because it is “about allowing yourself to have a nurturing experience of life right now as opposed to when you work harder in the future,” Gracy Obuchowicz.
“If you can show people how to build castles, make sure you do not neglect building and nurturing your own”. Suzy Kassem
Nurture your spirit
"If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul" Harold S. Kushner
Nurturing our spirit is about daring to be ourselves, removing our masks, stepping forward and living with integrity in alignment with our values, intentionally looking for the sources of joy in our lives and following our passions.
"Find out what it is that touches you most deeply. Pursue it, learn about it, explore it, expand on it. Live with it and nurture it." Leonard Nimoy
When we nurture our spirit we gain confidence in our own intuition
“There is a universal, intelligent, life force that exists within everyone and everything. It resides within each one of us as a deep wisdom, an inner knowing. We can access this wonderful source of knowledge and wisdom through our intuition, an inner sense that tells us what feels right and true for us at any given moment.” Shakti Gawain
What we focus on will affect our perspective on life so it is important to reflect on where we direct our focus, how we spend our time and the relationships that we surround ourselves with that can either support or drain us.
How can we nurture ourselves and others?
We can nurture ourselves by discovering what makes us tick (our passions), discovering our real potential and creating the right environment and opportunities to develop and grow.
“Our lasting happiness comes by doing what we are best at. You can know what you are brilliant at only when you discover your potential. If most people remain unhappy throughout their lives, it is because they fail to know their real potential and nurture it to make it a source of joy for themselves. They keep searching for the source of happiness in the outside world, while the real source of happiness is hidden within them.” Awdhesh Singh
A simple way is to spend more time in nature
“We must remember the healing properties of nature. Nature nurtures.” Sanchita Pandey
Spending time outside in green spaces or bringing nature into our everyday life and home (growing food or flowers, exercising outdoors, being around animals, a pot plant or flowers in the house or even viewing scenes of nature) can benefit both our mental and physical well being by reducing anger, anxiety, fear and stress and increase positive feelings and our sense of well-being.
“We do not exist through ourselves alone but through the environment that shaped us.”
Nature has the power to affect everybody positively regardless of age, culture or physical health (eg those with loss of vision, hearing or mobility) so it is essential that everyone can access nature, whatever their circumstances.
“When you bring your attention to a stone, a tree or an animal, something of its essence transmits itself to you. You can sense how still it is and in doing so the same stillness rises within you. You can sense how deeply it rests in being, completely one with what it is and where it is, in realizing this, you too come to a place or rest deep within yourself.”
“There is a simple fidelity to the moment that we experience through hygge.
...we adjust our surroundings to guide our energy and desire. Hygge pays attention to the concerns of the human spirit, turning us towards a manner of living that priorities simple pleasure, friendship and connection above consumption.” Louisa Thomsen Brits
Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish word used to describe a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, ordinary or extraordinary as comforting, cozy and convivial and is concerned with feelings of wellness and contentment. Until a few years ago Denmark was considered the happiest country in the world. Finland has now taken the title with Denmark in second place
“Hygge is a practice related to how we create and preserve meaning in the places we inhabit, how we make homes that comfort us and bring us together....then we begin to really inhabit a place or a moment in time and open ourselves to what it has to give.” Louisa Thomsen Brits
I am just reading an interesting book on the subject entitled The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell
Develop a rich social life
“A rich social life (measured by quality of experience rather than quantity of friends) contributes to good health, happiness and longevity. So many of us place value on hard work, measurable achievement and wealth, and often fail to set aside time to nurture our relationships and strengthen social ties. We make the mistake of believing that security is found in material things rather than people”. Louisa Thomsen Brits
It is important to choose the people we surround ourselves with and spend time with carefully ensuring they contribute positively to our well being, and add value to the quality of our life.
It is about creating the space to allow self-expression, mutual learning, disagreement whilst maintaining respect of one and others point of views.
"Each relationship nurtures a strength or weakness within you." Mike Murdock
The right friendships are an opportunity to learn about yourself, discover new things and different perspectives, mature as a human being and open up to the full experience of life.
“Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.” Anthony Robbins
However much you like it or not, the only aspect of any relationship you have any real control over is what you give to it. You have no control over how another person responds or not. Your actions might have an element of influence on others but you have no direct control so simply...
“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.”
Marvin J. Ashton
Love yourself and others
"We've got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can't just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it's going to get on by itself. You've got to keep watering it. You've got to really look after it and nurture it." John Lennon
There is a lot of debate re nature versus nurture which would need a completely new topic but I thought this Stephen R Covey quote provided a good perspective; at the end of the day our lives are our responsibility and we have a choice whether to consciously nurture ourselves or simply to neglect ourselves blaming circumstances or others.
“We are product of neither nature nor nurture; we are a product of choice, because there is always a space between stimulus and response. As we wisely exercise our power to choose based on principles, the space will become larger”. Stephen R. Covey
Some questions to think about/or discuss below:
Nurture or neglect, which will you choose?
What changes do you need to make in your life to nurture yourself?
“For us to feel good emotionally, we have to look after ourselves.” Sam Owen
If you want to reflect more on this subject, here are some links to get you started: