GIVE: Nurture by the Spirit — Learning to Nurture Yourself at a Soul-Level

GIVE! … By the Spirit™ with Dr. Pennie Murray

Learning to Nurture Yourself at a Soul-Level

© 2010 Pennie Murray

June 1, 2010

This past week I had a conversation with a man about relationships and dating. During the course of the conversation he made a statement in a blunt like tone, “I have loved many times, but I always stop short of being In Love because I don’t want to suffer the pain associated with being in love with someone.” As I challenged his ideology, he finally revealed that his thinking was rooted in years of watching his mother cry over a man she loved deeply, who didn’t love her in return. I then asked him if he had ever wondered how many women he too left crying because he didn’t reciprocate the love they had for him. After a long spell of silence, he finally said he had never thought about that.

Before we can truly love others we first need to learn to nurture ourselves from the depths of our souls, which for many people can be the most challenging part of their emotional and spiritual growth.

As we parted company, I couldn’t help but wonder how much of his behavior of suppressing his emotions to protect himself was due to him never learning to examine and override the impact his mother’s experience had on his life. But more importantly, if he felt his emotional needs went unmet because his mother’s love was focused on someone else—someone that was undeserving.

Our ability to override the negative impact of our past has a lot to do with how we have learned to heal and fulfill our unmet emotional needs through self-nurturing, or what some call our heart work. Our emotional needs are those feelings of intimacy, respect, support, encouragement, unconditional love, and boundary setting that we need in order to feel safe, worthy, secure and whole as individuals.

Learning to self-nurture in a healthy way means having a deeper awareness of your emotional needs and desires, and how best to heal and mature those needs that went unmet or undernourished during your childhood. In essence, we’re addressing our inborn needs for self-comfort—but in an adult, responsible fashion.

I cannot began to tell you how often I talk to men and women who have become so accustom to being in dysfunctional relationships that they can’t recognize nor can they function in a healthy relationship. Having the ability to self-nurture (caring for, supporting, encouraging and setting healthy boundaries) helps you to reconcile with your internal self and rewire your emotional programming with healthier feelings.

When you self-nurture, not only do you learn to be intimate with your emotional needs and desires, more importantly, you’re able to set healthy boundaries that ensure your emotional safety—without the use of unhealthy defense mechanisms, like suppression or avoidance, that merely build walls that keep out the love and support you truly seek. When you establish emotionally healthy boundaries you can be intimately open with yourself and others, and unconditionally love and accept yourself and others without the fear of experiencing pain and rejection.

Let me make one distinction here; self-nurturing is totally different from self-indulgence. Self-nurturance fosters both the physical and psychological health necessary for emotional fulfillment. On the other hand, self-indulgence is just a quick fix to alter our mood or consciousness in order to escape the boredom and pain of our existence, or to drown out the doubts and fears we have about ourselves.

The fact of the matter is, many of us didn’t get from our parents the nurturing we craved when we were growing up, and there was little we could do as children to change the dynamics. However, as adults, when we fail to be responsible for making our lives emotionally, sexually, and physically safe, healthy, and secure, then we’re destined to live a life of “quiet desperation,” fearful of life’s opportunities, and unable to fulfill our divine purpose.

So the choices are clear—live in the shadows of an emotionally unfulfilled past or learn to nurture yourself at the soul-level?

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