Nurturing our Own Self

October 31, 2011

This week, I would like to delve into a topic that I think will resonate with many people out there, especially with women and mothers.


When I became a mom, my life changed dramatically, my hobbies and interests took a backstage, or rather disappeared all together, my social life became almost non-existent, and even my marriage was affected.

Even though, becoming a mother is one of the most incredibly wonderful experiences of a lifetime, it comes with a dose of sacrifice, uncertainty and hardships. The overwhelmingness of it all can let you feeling totally drained and confused.

As I am still struggling through every day responsibilities, I am realizing that my attitude of selflessness (very common in women), is not doing myself or my family any good.

The fact that I am a care giver 24/7 and I have to wear a hundred different hats every day, and have a million things to do, does not help; but if I really want to give the best to my family and children, I have to start giving the best to myself, it is the only way to achieve true balance.

Many women, and most mothers rarely consider their needs (emotional and physical) as something of great importance, they tend to give, give, give and give more without refilling their source, by doing so, they end up depleted and bitter, and sometimes even sick and depressed.

I recently attended a seminar on how to raise emotionally healthy kids, and we were given a list of 5 things that every human being needs in order to be emotionally healthy (kids and adults alike), here it is:

  1. To feel RESPECTED
  2. To feel IMPORTANT
  3. To feel ACCEPTED
  4. To feel INCLUDED
  5. To feel SECURE

Then we were encouraged to turn the light on ourselves and see if these 5 needs were been fulfilled in our own lives, and it got me thinking, I had never considered any of those needs, except for the last one, and I realize that each one of them has its own degree of importance, of course it has to do a lot with the environment we have around us, but we have the power to change even our environment if we make it a priority.

I have learned that a certain degree of self-preservation and protection is very healthy, even though in the past I would have seen it as selfish. I always hear the analogy of the airplane, when they tell you that in case of an emergency, you need to put your oxygen mask first, before helping any one else, and it makes total sense, if you do not take care of yourself and your own needs, you won't be well equipped to take care of others, but, as a mom, this advice seems almost impossible to follow.

However, if you give yourself priority, you will somehow make room for yourself, and depending on your own unique situation the changes needed may just be small adjustments or they may be life changing decisions. In other words, taking care of yourself may go from: not missing your yoga class, even if the house looks like an earthquake zone, to: finding the strength to move out of an unhealthy relationship.

It is important to assess where you stand in your current life, and how nurtured or empty you feel, then you can determine in which areas you need to make an improvement, and finally, you need to take action!

Some women don't even know were to start! If there are too many areas you need to attend to, start with small changes, easier and more realistic ones, this will give you more balance and more strength to tackle the bigger issues later.

I recently heard a wonderful piece of advice, that can be a starting point for most of us, men and women alike, as it covers our basic needs as human beings. Simply: take your MEDS!

Meditation, Exercise, Diet and Sleep

If you have those 4 aspects covered, you are off to a great start for a much better life, but I know just how challenging that can be, I keep telling myself to do just that, and every day starts as another roller coaster and ends without my doing any of the above...

Another major problem that conflicts with our capacity to nurture ourselves is the fast pace of modern societies, especially in developed countries. In this fast track, we have lost our connections, our reference points, and never stop and look inside ourselves, that alone has a lot to do with the unfulfilment of our basic needs and the feeling of constant stress.

On this topic, I encourage you to look at an interesting movement called The Slow Movement, it will give you ideas and clues that may help you improve your everyday life and turn back to your own self and your own needs and nurturing.

The important thing here is to take action, reading about it or reflecting on it is NOT enough, we need to take action, and baby steps are OK, as long as we are moving forward, as long as we are taking good care of ouselves.

Have a great week!

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