Nurturing is the act of encouraging, nourishing and caring for someone or something. Nurturing people and environments help us get what we want in life.
It is an attitude of mind that guides actions and behaviors which are supportive, encouraging, positive and caring. Nurturing also helps us to feel good about ourselves and our environment. It is a deliberate choice that we make.
How is your radar at knowing who will help the seeds of your ideas grow and who will subtly or not so subtly stomp on them?
Ever dated anyone who took the wind out of your sails?
Do you have friends who lift you up and others who steal your thunder?
How are you at nurturing yourself?
The research on creativity and innovation tells us that each of us needs to practice self-nurturing. But we also benefit from a few cheerleaders to help support our movement forward. You may have heard the saying that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Personally, I believe this to be very true. We’ve all had the experience of moving in with a lazy roommate and losing our motivation, or starting a relationship with someone more sporty than we are, and loving the changes that we see in ourselves.
So, if this effect is true, why not turn it on its head? Why not seek the people who make us feel good and help us develop into our best selves and then spend as much time as possible with them if we only have 24 hours in the day and so much room in our lives for relationships, then why not fill both with the best most loving and most inspiring people we can find.
In fact, why not go even a little bit further and do our best to filter out anyone in our lives who brings us down, while we can’t always avoid negative people, we need to remember that being in our lives is a privilege, not a right and in the words of famous copywriter, Gary Halbert, “never ever encourage people who drag you down to hang around.”
Earlier, we discussed mentors and role models. Think for a moment about role models and cheerleaders in your life. How can you use their encouraging voices to empower you? Behind my computer, I have pictures of a supportive dad who died in 2008. He’s right there, smiling at me. Beside it, I have another photo of four of my very best friends, all alive and well, and hugging me.
On that note, I want to talk about how physical environments really matter; clutter, memories of the past mistakes, dark spaces, slow us down. Appealing spaces, chosen by our own personalities and preferences, move us along.
I keep sanitizing wipes nearby as I know myself in dust and dirt slow me down. In my home, I have self-imposed rules for where I can eat and how soon the dishes need to be picked up, and that all keep my computer area and the rest of my house clean.
I’m not a crazy neat-freak, but let’s face it, Cheetos and keyboards don’t mix. Nothing slows my progress down more than the invasion of disgusting little ants.
I like the sound of water, so I listened to a water fountain as I work or read or visit with friends. Colors delight me, so I’ve painted different color walls, that make me so much happier in my space than the original white walls ever did. I pay close attention to having natural light and sunshine to brighten my day and my mood.
Sometimes I need to go to other places to be nurtured by an environment like maybe visiting the redwoods, a lake or even walking a labyrinth.
All of this deliberate environmental and personal nurturing helps me create a meaningful life.
But what about self-nurturing? What are the ways in which we can nurture ourselves? No matter your budget, there is something out there for everyone. For example, you could go into nature and watch the sun rise or set. You could read a favorite blog, a book or a magazine in your pjs.
You could go get a massage or hit the gym. And, of course, you could do a random act of kindness or spend time with a loved one. No matter what you choose. Remember to make time for yourself and the things that water your seeds of joy. A lot of personal development is indeed hard work, but it shouldn’t be completely bereft of pleasure and self-nurturing.
A massage or hit the gym. And, of course, you could do a random act of kindness or spend time with a loved one. No matter what you choose. Remember to make time for yourself and the things that water your seeds of joy. A lot of personal development is indeed hard work, but it shouldn’t be completely bereft of pleasure and self-nurturing.