For many years, I have found myself taking on the role of the nurturer.
I have always taken such joy and pleasure out in helping others, in need or not. More often I found that when I extended myself out of the standard “energy requirement,” it brought me closer to those around me.
When I was in my second year of graduate school at Naropa University, this notion came up in my family systems class. It was brought to the attention of the teacher that one of my fellow students really did identify herself as a nurturer and rescuer. She always wanted to take care of those in need, and she often took away some kind of serenity from it. I really appreciate and understand that serenity because I feel like I am wired in a similar manner. But the teacher encouraged us to contemplate if it was something that was true to us or something that felt created out of fear of some sort.
I feel I have inherited the majority of this almost servant-like mentality from my mother. I feel lucky to have been raised under an umbrella of a role model and parent who really emphasized the importance of contribution and dedication to the people around me. She goes out of her way to help others—a true and generous heart. I have been able to understand the benefits and internal satisfaction that accompanies these gestures, and I have adopted them into my own repertoire. But over the years, I’ve also seen an imbalance with it. There have been extensions of time and energy that have gone past the authentic self.
So here I am, feeling like I am coming to numerous crossroads in my life. Trying to sift between what is Greer, and what isn’t, as well as determine where my life is heading and how I feel about it. I’m curious over my actions and interests, and whether or not they come from my internal constitution or are merely a manifestation of influence (from family, friends, society, culture).
I am seeing something that stands at the forefront of my decision making and trying to decipher what is truest to me and what isn’t. I am realizing that while I do love giving of my energy and myself, I do have needs.
I feel as though my needs, for many years, haven’t necessarily been acknowledged by myself. Of course there are my passions and interests which are given time in my day (reading, writing, knitting, climbing, running) but at the core, needs are more of what I’m talking about.
I see core needs as: asking for help and not being afraid to do so, trust and honesty in relationship, not being spread too thin, feeling nurtured in interaction, being understood, feeling connected and having the opportunity to connect to the world around me—those kinds of things. I see these qualities as basic interaction foundations.
I feel I am in relationship with people and the world, and I feel like just as I am adhering to the needs of others, I should adhere to my own as well. For how well can I serve if I don’t yet serve myself? I am aware of this need for transformation and I really am taking steps to nurture myself.
Ways to make this happen:
1.) Sit for 15 minutes and just visually picture what ‘nurturing yourself’ looks like.
2.) Make a list of 20 ways that you can nurture yourself and get your needs met.
3.) Pick the three most important.
4) Get to it. Live them.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel