Nurture vs. Coddle

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

Something’s been tugging at me since writing Choosing the Dance last month, where I chose getting out of bed over sleeping in. I’ve been wondering whether I look at sleeping in as more of a nurturing thing or a coddling thing. With a rational mind, sleeping in that day would have been enabling the sleep to deprive me of my day. But other days, when insomnia or loud neighbors have deprived me of sleep, it might be caring for myself. It might be a kind and compassionate gesture toward myself, nurturing my body, mind, and creativity with deserved rest. So then, how am I supposed to know the difference?

Nurture: feels good, helps growth, promotes growth, even when it’s difficult. Make no mistake, nurturing isn’t always taking the easy road. It’s not always staying in bed for an extra few hours minutes because you need it. It’s not always choosing the road that’s less bumpy to get through the day. It’s about nurturing the creativity that lies within. Drawing it out. Sometimes gently, sometimes fiercely, but always with love and courage.

Sometimes the creativity needs a break, and so we rest it. That is nurturing by way of allowing the creativity its fallow period, to rejuvenate and come back with strength and empowerment. It pays to know when your creativity needs this rest so it’s not overworked, and when it’s simply acting like a four-year-old because it’s not getting its way. When you give into the temper tantrum, you’re coddling (and killing) your creativity.

What to do to avoid coddling (and killing) your creativity:

  • Listen.
  • Be willing to push yourself.
  • Ask yourself: How am I growing on the inside by [sleeping in a few hours minutes]?

What to do to nurture your creativity:

  • Listen.
  • Be willing to push yourself.
  • Ask yourself: How am I growing on the inside by [insert powerful activity]?

Yep, it’s the same process.

Listen. Sometimes this requires being still for a spell. Quiet the Ego [tip: the Ego uses words like should and can’t, and judges your every move], and open yourself to listen for the center of your being. If you haven’t listened for her in a while, it may take some time for you to get familiar with her voice. Be patient, she’s there. What’s she saying? What does she need from you? What’s her tone? Her energy level? Her sense of humor? Take all of this into consideration as you approach the next step.

Be willing to push yourself. Soil needs to be churned every season if it’s to be fertile with longevity. When soil hasn’t been tilled in a while, the crops may still come, but you know the difference between well cared for crops and those left to fend for themselves. Let your motivation come from wanting the absolute best for yourself, and see what action that leads you into.

Ask yourself how what you’re doing is growing you on the inside. We often think about growth in terms of external factors. The house on the lot, the car in the driveway, the money in the bank; the number of followers on Twitter, the number of likes on Facebook, the number of comments on the blog. Those things are good, great, nice, external. What about you on the inside? Your internal emotional bank account? Your internal driving force? The internal comments you make to and about yourself throughout the day? What’s growing the center of your being?

So, what’s different?

You’ve got to be able to dance with the answers to your questions. Be willing to to remain open to whatever is in your best interest, not just what your Ego thinks you ought to do. You just might be surprised at what comes out of making such a conscious choice.

  • Wild Child Mama

    This is just what I needed to hear. THank you. My ego has been controlling me lately. Negative thoughts telling me I’m not doing, saying, communicating anything valuable. Not enough comments on my blog. Or enough followers. But I didn’t take on this journey to get appraisal. I did it, am doing it, to grow, learn, experience. And I am capable of that. Without the feedback from others. ANd I know it’s not what others would do. But I can’t make everyone happy. I have to do things my way.
    Ok, I feel better now:) Thanks for letting me rant a little.
    ANd thank you for setting back on my path!!!!!!!!!

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