Why you need to nurture yourself

Nurturecare for and protect (someone or something) while they are growing.”

When mums think about nurture, they default to the idea of nurturing children and family.

This of course is something we all do. We must do. Nurturing others is a primeval instinct imprinted in our DNA and honed over millions of years of evolution – a mother cub must protect her young.

However there is more to nurturing than that. What I like about the above definition of nurture is that it incorporates growing or growth.

The ultimate gift we can give others (including our children) is to enable or empower them to reach their goals and their full potential – to grow.

But what about yourself? Why don’t we put just as much energy into nurturing ourselves.

Why do mums in particular put themselves last?

A good friend of mine talks about the ‘last lamb chop’ principle – something she’d heard or read about somewhere – but simply put, it’s the scenario where a mother serving up dinner, more often than not, saves the meanest, least appetising, shrivelled up or burnt lamb chop for herself.

I know I do this myself. You only take what’s leftover after nurturing for everyone else.

The facts are that if you burn yourself out meeting others’ needs, or sacrifice your dreams to help others, then at some point you won’t have the energy or inclination to nurture others.

That is, there’s a reason why flight attendants tell you put your own oxygen mask on before attending to others.

To effectively nurture others, you must nurture yourself first.

Take time out to look after and care for yourself. Follow your dreams. Chase opportunities for personal growth.

Yes it’s possible nurture yourself, as well as others. You can have the first, second and last lamb chop and eat it too.

‘Nurture’ is today’s word out of the jar. Read more about my Out of the Jar project here.

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