29.5.18

Self-Regard for the Nurturer




This morning is very cold, almost zero degrees celsius, which is not cold to those of you in the north but has that fierce bright chill of a sea-borne cold, which somehow makes it feel icier. I have many things I should be doing, but can't manage to extricate myself from my soft cosy blanket.

Last week, after a summer of gentleness, I found myself returning to my winter mood, just in time for the freezing southerly winds. This is the mood of brown wool, brown bread, old smoky tales from eastern mountains, incence. I thought it would last as it usually does for several months (whatever time of year it comes), but after only a few days I am veering back towards gentleness. It frustrates me. I can not write about Russian witches, as I am trying to do, when my heart inclines towards English rose gardens. (And although I have just had an image of Baba Yaga standing with a suitcase in Heathrow Airport, that is not a book I'm brave enough to write! Although now my imagination has gone off dancing without me.  Eek! Someone stop it before it breaks something!)

I took a personal brand test with Cerrie Mooney. I wasn't surprised that my results were "nurturer". That's accurate, and I recommend the test. It's lovely and insightful, and fun to take. But the idea I am a nurturer is also unhelpful, because that self-brand doesn't tell me anything about myself, only how I am in relationship to other people. It tells me I'll make tea for another before myself, but not what kind of tea I like to drink. It tells me that I'm inclined to write books I think other people will enjoy, but not how to come up with tales to interest myself - and how to have the courage to write them longer than a short story or a blog post.

(It's like saying Baba Yaga is a witch - it doesn't tell you how she finds inner peace, what home decor she prefers, or what kind of luggage she would choose for an international journey. Something vintage, with leather straps? Or a pink Hello Kitty suitcase?)

But then, it's not surprising we would think "the nurturer" is enough to say about someone, and not look deeper. Its very name is others-focussed.

I wrote recently about how motherhood fulfills me, and its true, because I am a nurturer. But it's also true that nurturers, empaths, and people who were taught all their lives to put others first, need to know as well how to have empathy for themselves. It's a joy to help others, and to give whatever you can for them, but there's a steady happiness too in being there for yourself, especially as no one ever thinks to nurture the nurturers. It doesn't mean you have to be self-centred or stop taking care of other people. It just means you have to be you. Sometimes that is harder than it sounds.



8 comments:

  1. i am also a nurturer. and while i will put another's needs before my own, like any good nurturer, i am very aware of my own needs. i may not see them met fully, but i know them well. in some strange way, i think that is the nurturer's superpower...by knowing one's own self well, one is able to know what others need. and at some level, maybe we know that some part of our own needs will be met by caring for others, and that the rest will wait until we can focus on it. but it's better not to wait too long...

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    1. you have a different experience of being a nurturer than I, then :-) insofar as "knowing one's own self well". What I was moaning about in my post was the difficulty in knowing one's self well when one has focussed always on the selves and needs of others. Maybe I am a bad nurturer ;-)

      I agree with you though about a nurturer's needs, at least in part, being met by caring for others. That's definitely true. I was talking more about *sense of self* rather than needs. For example, I need a cup of tea. I will always check first if anyone else wants one too, and will make theirs before mine. I could never enjoy my tea if I made one just for me when others want tea too. And I love bringing them their cup. This is all part of meeting my nurturer needs. But none of it tells me what kind of tea I like to drink. Plain black? Shouldn't I prefer rose tea? Smoky mountain holy witch deep drummed tea? Or earl grey drunk from fine china?

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  2. I wasn't surprised with my results either - I received "creator" as my archetype. I see the entire process of the "test" as more of a starting point, a place where you can learn your foundation. In the guide that comes after the initial results, there are keywords and thoughts and a nifty little tool box with inspiration. I am not sure how it was laid out for the other archetypes, but there were some inspiring things in the file. I think, in order to get a better sense of self as a "nurturer" you just need to take a few moments each day and ask yourself questions about yourself. Or maybe, just maybe, those around you could ask them.

    Sarah, what sort of teas do you enjoy? What tea are you in the mood for, right now?

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    1. The guide really is generous, and beautifully put together. I admire its professionalism.

      What I meant to say was that while I am indeed a nurturer, and understand myself very well in that role, I can't really find my true self in a one-worded descriptors or even a collection of letters (ie, INFP - which tells you alot about how I am but not actually who I am).

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  3. I never find those kinds of quizzes very helpful (although they can be quite fun!). They are a lot like psychic readings, broad and lacking any real insight; you provide the "truths" and they reword it all for you nicely.

    I have found that some days I know myself quite well, while on others I am a frustrating mystery to myself. Here is the one thing I can always count on though: I may not be able to tell you what I prefer (plain black or cherry blossom green? vintage with leather straps or hello kitty?) because, in truth, my preferences are vast and varied, but I can always tell you what I *don't* prefer. And that is something.

    I know you like cardigans and long, chiffon skirts, roses and cottage gardens and rain. And you don't like peanut butter.♥

    When the seasons shift abruptly, I feel it to the depth of my being. The last few weeks have left me feeling achey, shaky, and discombobulated. It's hard to settle into anything when I am "under the weather" literally. Perhaps it's the same for you?

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    1. You are a true friend, Susanest :-) I indeed detest peanut butter! I know you like roses and walks in the woods, pug dogs and hand-written mail and being with your family. I know you have the wisdom and grace to let go of all that does not matter, and the goodness to hold on to what does. Thank you as always for your thoughtful response :-) xx

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  4. "I can not write about Russian witches, as I am trying to do, when my heart inclines towards English rose gardens. (And although I have just had an image of Baba Yaga standing with a suitcase in Heathrow Airport, that is not a book I'm brave enough to write!"

    Please write that! Was she really a witch?



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    1. You'll find out in about three months, all going well ;-)

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