We wouldn’t wash ourselves with dirt and expect to be clean. We also wouldn’t bang our head against a wall in attempt to cure a headache. So, why do any of us invest in relationships that deplete our energy and self-worth? Bestselling author and renowned Jungian Psychoanalyst Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes offers “harsh but true” advice, “Anyone who does not support your art, your life, is not worth your time.”
She goes on to differentiate people from those that provide comfort versus nurture. Comfort is like saying soothing words to a plant in a closet. Nurture is taking the plant out of the closet, placing it in the appropriate sunlight, feeding it, watering it, AND saying soothing words to it. While this seems like obvious advice for parenting, she emphasizes that we need these nurturing relationships in all of the areas of our life—friendships, romantic, work, hobbies, etc.
Sometimes people get lonely and settle for relationships that only provide comfort. They fear or don’t believe that nurturing relationships are possible. Or they fill the nurturing role hoping to receive the same in return, yet it doesn’t get reciprocated. Perhaps the person is incapable of nurturing or they simple take the other for granted.
Signs you may not be getting the nurturing you need include:
If you are conducting a mental inventory of your relationships right now and are discovering a serious lack of nurturing people in your life, start by nurturing your own soul first. Think about your inner dreams and join a church, club and/or take a class that supports your creative interests, like photography, sculpture, knitting, painting, writing, acting, fitness, or dance. You’re sure to meet others of like mind and the more you invest in these (e.g. the more sun, water and fertilizer you receive), the stronger you’ll become. In love, be brave and don’t settle. When the right person comes along your heart will expand like a giant palm bathing in the sun after a good long rain.