Nourish relationships and self-care

Empathy works. It always does.

We all want to blossom and bloom

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20160405 From seed to plantDo you see my seedlings?

Aren’t they adorable, little plants growing up?

I am so happy with them. Every morning, as soon as I get up, I take a look at them. Very carefully. Did they sprout? Did they grow? Are they getting second leaves? I water them, measure them, write down their growth, and carry them around into the sun and back into the house. One night I wake up by an enormous thunderclap. I realize with a shock my seedlings are still outside. I run outside to rescue them, barefoot, no cover against the rain. Nothing seemed more important than to protect my seedlings from the gushes of wind and the pouring rain. The next morning, I felt relieved to see them as perky as before.

20160407_154101_picmonkeyedMy husband calls them my babies, as he listens to my excitement about taking care of them.

I never compared them with each other. When all the other plants were peeking out through the dirt, I didn’t tell the sunflower seeds to look at their neighbors, hoping the comparison would sprout their seeds faster. I accepted their own pace. I didn’t label the nasturtium seeds as “lazy”, when they came out last. I knew they would come out in their own time. I didn’t pull on the leaves of the cosmos, so they would develop a second set of leaves. I did none of that.

I nurtured and protected, and carefully observed them to understand the conditions of their happiness. Because I trust their self-actualizing energy.

I don’t need to tell them to grow up, because they want to. Every seed is born with an innate, natural drive to grow into the next step of their full potential. Their potential, their true self. Not into what they or others think they should be (at least, I hope so). The bachelor’s button doesn’t try to be a zinnias. They want to be themselves.

20160330 From seed to plantFor me, this gardening project is a magnificent lesson in how I want to treat myself.

I want to show myself as much acceptance and respect as I show my little plants. I want to offer myself as much nurturance and protection as I offer them. And I want to nourish self-empathy and self-compassion, so I can understand and nourish the conditions of my happiness.

I hope you do the same for yourself.


Contact me 512-589-0482 to understand and nourish the conditions of your happiness.

Thank you, David Nayer, for giving me feedback on the previous version of this blog. I enjoy your support.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping compassionate professionals integrate self-care in their lives. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

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