We tend to think that nourishment is food-based only, but we all know that children require a certain amount of love and safe touch in order to properly thrive.
Yet, we think that emotional needs sound too vague or intangible for our own sake. We think only in terms of biological needs being the only or higher level needs, yet, we know that being a workaholic parent who provides for the family is hardly positive for the child who feels [is]neglected.
We neglect ourselves so often. A quick story.
I remember owning a yoga studio. I was teaching between ten and fifteen classes a week, everything from meditation to power yoga. I also guided psychotherapy clients on how to decrease stress and balance their relationships. I was busy, and enjoying every minute of it. I was so busy, that I would often rush to make dinner, eat high carb "easy" meals, and swig coffee to keep myself alert.
It would be kind to say that my neglect was just an oversight. I knew I was neglecting myself in some ways but felt that because I had my basics (food, water, a few shots of my java energy) that my emotional nourishment would come organically, since I felt "happy".
I ended up with weight gain, stress symptoms and a few random injuries. I had irritability and some relationships suffered.
What was I not giving myself?
The big three.
We need love, protection and respect in order to thrive.
Love is our "food" for our spirit. It is the gift we give ourselves as a foundation of all other emotions, behaviors and habits.
Resect is what we give ourselves to confirm that we deserve the awareness that we are important, valued and deserving.
Protection keeps us away from overload.
In relationships, protection might look like boundaries. If you have no boundaries with a partner, they might become demanding or neglectful. If you have no or little boundaries with friends, they might take advantage of you. If you lack boundaries with family, they might triangulate you.
You might lack respect for yourself or you might allow others to lack respect toward you because of this; meaning they do not see you as valued.
There might be a lack of love in your life, but you won't often be able to cultivate love from others if you don't first work on inner-love first.
What about your skin?
If you are starved for love, there is only so much crying or feeling isolated that can happen until your body begins to react. It might react with hives or eczema, dry skin or rashes. Almost a "stay away" focus, as if to say that if you are unloved, no one is able to touch you.
Starving yourself from protection? You might see you put abusive chemicals on your skin or eat poorly. You will find you have dry and easily irritated skin if your inner emotions are also irritated and lacking a sensation of warmth. You might feel isolated.
Are you lacking respect in your life? You might feel your skin is sallow and you might feel less-than, undervalued or invisible.
Take away the skin condition labels. For instance, pretend that you don't have "dry skin" but lack of hydration. What is hydration? Water. What is water? Most of our bodies.....it is life. So, do you have dry skin or are you lacking living fully?
Journal a bit... what are you lacking in nourishment? Dive deeply into what you might be lacking - either from childhood to the present moment, and then find small ways to address those starvation factors.
For instance, if you need to live more fully but dry skin keeps you from both warm and cold weather, find a neutral temperature activity or hobby and immerse yourself in it. Maybe that looks like an art class or a book group.
What would live look like if you were no longer just surviving but thriving?