Nurture Vs Nurture

Howdy, I have often said that I wasn't nurturing.  I have, in just writing this entry, discovered that this is false.  I am actually the definition of nurturing.  I am, however, not someone who coddles, stunts, or babys.  First, the definition of nurturing is to care for and encourage the growth or development of.  Yep, this is me.  I totally care for and encourage others development.  I think we often associate nurturing with feeding (that come from mothers encouraging growth by feeding their baby) and soothing which can be or not be encouraging growth… You have to take that on a case by case basis.

Often we thing of nurturing to mean that we do for, we anticipate the needs of someone else, we bend over backwards to help, or do what someone is struggling to do for themselves..  It can be (and is being) argued that this actually isn't nurturing.  It is actually stunting, or can be.

When you nurture someone you are pushing them along to a certain extent.  You are encouraging growth.  That means that you aren't going to be doing for them, you are going to encourage them to do for themselves.  You actually care about their ability to improve, to grow.  It has nothing to do with creating a space where they can remain a child or can be fed in the same ways that they were when they weren't able to do for themselves.  It means you are looking out for their best interests in the area of development.

When you behave in the way that most think is nurturing what you are doing is stopping development.  You are taking the responsibility out of someones' hands.  You are encouraging regression and a repeat of what happened when they weren't able to take care of themselves.  We are all such powerful beings that the idea that we cannot handle life is a joke that we make a reality by 'doing for' others.  I believe, in order to create a better world, we have to encourage others to do what they actually can.  To encourage them even if it means leaving them to fend for themselves.  There is nothing like having no choice but to be self-sufficient that makes choosing self-sufficiency easier.

Many people in my life have felt that I don't need nurturing due to this misunderstanding of what nurturing is.  Because I am on a trajectory that I set for myself and am self motivated beyond what most folks consider normal, I believe that others feel like there isn't much to offer me.  Not true.  Just the encouragement to keep going is necessary.  Nurturing is key to development, to growth.  Because I am aggressively against what others think nurturing is (babying, helping when it isn't needed, anticipating or assuming my feelings) they tend to believe I don't need anything.  We have a hard time understanding that loving, helping, supporting is about letting someone know that what they are doing for themselves is fantastic… and just that acknowledgement helps them along in their life, in their development.  We also forget that people aren't children, though they may have little ones inside, that isn't the one that needs the encouragement.  It is the adult, the grown up that needs encouragement to keep on growing and to keep on going.

Who can you nurture today?  How can you encourage the growth and development of others and yourself?