We all need to be nurtured – by others and by ourselves. To nurture is to care for, feed, or nourish. Nurturing starts by accepting that we each still have childlike aspects, regardless of our age. These may appear in spontaneous states of wonder and surprise, or in silly moods. You are far too “adult” if you don’t nurture these parts of yourself. Honoring the joy and energy of your childlike self is a source of true vitality.

You may also experience childlike qualities when you feel hurt, afraid, or angry. At such times, you may be experiencing emotional wounds from childhood that have been touched off by the present situation – and feeling a “younger” part of yourself that still needs love and healing. This part especially needs your nurturing. Until you learn to better nurture your childlike self, the same old sensitivities, hurts, fears, or rages are likely to arise in your life.

In nurturing yourself, give yourself the full compassion, patience, and understanding that you would give to a small child you really love. Perhaps imagine such a child living within you. Let your inner voice take on the kind, reassuring tone of a loving parent. Support, validate, and be present within yourself. Invite your innermost feelings to come up within you, just as a loving parent would invite a child to open up and share how they truly felt.

When you can simply acknowledge and fully experience your own feelings – especially feelings like sadness, anger, or fear – you nurture yourself. Nurturing yourself is accepting your feelings rather than pushing them away or becoming critical. It is embracing your feelings instead of denying them, blaming a partner, or trying to get others to fix how you feel. Just as a child needs to feel all their feelings and be held, to nurture yourself is to sit quietly and connect with how you truly feel, letting your love reach deep within yourself.

The card NURTURING may have come up to encourage you to cultivate nurturing within your relationship. But only after you have learned to be fully available and nurturing to yourself can you begin to do this with a partner. If you are not comfortable with your own emotional pain, it’s very hard to stay present when your partner feels pain, without trying to fix it or avoid it. If you cannot experience your own anger without projecting blame onto others, it is hard to listen to your partner’s anger without reacting.

True nurturing holds a space for all feelings – pain, fear, grief, and anger, and also joy, wonder, and excitement. To nurture yourself is to embrace all the feelings that arise within you – and all those that arise in your partner. Your willingness to simply sit with and accept each other in emotional times can be deeply healing.

What would be nurturing to you right now? In what ways could you nurture yourself? What kind of nurturing would you like to experience within your relationship?

Nurturing is like honey, which has the power to transform a lemon into a thirst-quenching drink. Transformation does not happen through artificial sweetening. It comes about through a genuine presence and compassion with our own – and each other’s – deepest emotional realities.