I’m sending out thanks to executive director Sharon Lowe and her fabulous team of staffers and volunteers, who made the benefit luncheon for the Foundation for the Homeless such a great experience. I joined life story guru Jeanne Guy for a conversation entitled “Mothers and Fathers of Experience: The Power of Nurturing.”
We think of mothers and fathers as our primal sources of nurturing as children, but as adults, I think we depend less upon individuals to nurture us than upon our relationships with other people. Nurturing differs from teaching or inspiring or fostering in that it happens within the context of an intimate relationship, and usually in a long-term one. Nurturing is about growing our souls.
Our culture is so obsessed with the heroism of the individual, but I think it’s relationships, as Jeanne said, that help us go far, if not fast. We usually focus on our partner, on our lover or BFF. When we’re looking for a romantic relationship, we likely ask, “What do I want in a boy/girlfriend?” But I think the better question is, “What do I want in a relationship?” It’s a matter of finding that person who’s willing and able to create that relationship together.
I think of a relationship as a place where I get nurtured. And I know that relationships themselves need to be nurtured, or they stagnate, maybe even die. Take a moment to check in on your most important relationship(s). Do this sentence completion exercise:
Our relationship is a place where I can ________________________.
Our relationship is a place where I wish I could __________________.
Ask your partner to do the same, then compare your answers. Decide together: what one thing can we do this week to make our relationship a more nurturing place?