Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Challenge 2, Part 1: Self Nurturing
I look at this week's topic and feel the same twinge of panic that I felt in addressing last week's topic on Self-Care and Self-Soothing. They are all intertwined in my mind, and they are all strugglesome areas.
Self nurturing means the same thing as both self-care and self-soothing combined: They are all ways we need to take care of the self. The difference in my mind is that nurturing is often seen more motherly, whereas self-care and self-soothing are more self-care. Nurturing the self seems rather challenging, as I still sometimes wish I could be mothered the way in which "typical" kids are mothered, even though I'm a grown adult!
When I nurture others, which I do daily in my job as a grade school teacher, I am offering positive and constructive feedback, praise, encouragement, support, and loads of other things to my students, as a way of coaxing out the best "them" they can be. There is lots of laughter and fun, and sometimes tears and unhappiness, but we work through those spots together, calmly and with care. No child is ever made to feel less than for any reason - all abilities and differences are embraced. I listen objectively and with an open-mind to all ideas, and we move forward collectively, yet each individual child is still at their own pace within the grand scheme of things.
Do I apply that same understanding, acceptance, patience, kindness, and compassion to myself? No f*ing way. But I'm starting to at least try, rather than avoid the self-nurturing piece all together, which is what I've done for years. I lived in survival mode, and there just wasn't room for any of that self-nurturing, lovey-dovey crap.
I stop myself from caring about myself because I don't like myself. I like others. I love my students (in a teacherly sort of way) so I want to help them. I don't love me (yet) so I don't want to help me. I don't feel worthy of anything positive, which is why, especially when things are rough, I sometimes I still step back and marvel at the good things I DO have in my world - my home, a job I love, an incredible therapist and support team, a family that loves me (even if I feel smothered by them) and lots of other things. I often am caught breathless when I think about how much I do have, and how little I believe I deserve that goodness. Instead, I deserve all the crap-ness that comes my way. That is what I am worthy of, not the good.
Step by step, little by little, one day at a time, I'm working to change this. With the support of all of you reading, with the encouragement and support of my team, and with my sheer determination, I know that once I put my mind to it, I will be on the top of my list of people to help..... one day....