This is not a new year’s message. I am not going to tell you how to make or keep resolutions. This is not a “new year, new you!” post. Really, feel free to keep being the same you that you’ve been. Being you is pretty awesome, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 


I am going to invite you to be awfully kind to yourself. I am going to remind you about the importance of nurturing ourselves. 


To nurture means to care for or encourage the growth or development of something or someone. 


What in your life will you nurture this month? What today have you done already to nurture yourself? 


Recently I was talking with a friend about ways we nurture ourselves. I was remembering a time in my twenties when I was doing a lot of intense and upsetting therapy. This was in the early 90s when taking care of one’s inner child was a big thing. There were lots of books on the topic of caring for one’s inner child. The idea was that even once we’re grown, there’s a part of us that still feels like the child we once were. I could really identify with this because in doing this therapy, I alternatively found myself feeling alienated from myself as a child (I was actually kind of mad at my younger self and really judgmental) and at other times, I felt as vulnerable and helpless as a kid. 


I found a beautiful stuffed velvet bunny in a shop in Nob Hill. I wanted that bunny. I bought it, took it home, left it on my bed, and slept with my stuffed bunny for I don’t know how long. And you know what? It helped. It felt good. There, now y’all know. After a while, I didn’t need or want the bunny and I let her go, and that felt good, too. 


Sometimes I take care of myself by wearing really warm clothes or sitting by my space heater because I hate being cold and winter bums me out. This year, instead of a bunny, I bought myself a super-warm and super-soft down-filled long coat. No one needs to know that wearing that jacket is as comforting to me as a velvet bunny. 


Sometimes I take care of myself by getting enough sleep or by eating lots of green veggies. Taking care of myself might mean doing something I love. When I feel overwhelmed, I know it’s time to do more to take care of myself. 


There’s no down side to this. To nurture means to care for the growth or development of something or someone. Be unafraid to give yourself what comforts you, delights you, or inspires you. If you’ve been doing a lot of taking care of others, put on your life mask first. All the other things you need and want in life will follow from this, from nurturing your own growth, from nurturing your very being.