When people describe me, I don’t imagine that the first word that comes to mind is “nurturing”. So I am going to try and come at this from the most logical and scientific angle that I can. To start off with let us define what it means to nurture.

To nurture (someone or something) is to foster or encourage its full potential while it grows.

Whether it is a relationship, a child or yourself. In order to do this one must first ascertain what that potential is.

It, therefore, becomes very difficult to discuss “nurture” without discussing values

When an individual is operating in an area that fulfils their highest values or priorities they are intrinsically motivated or inspired. Their innate genius becomes awakened and they require no external motivation they simply do what they love doing. They become very disciplined, they become very creative, and all of a sudden their ability to solve problems and come up with creative solutions seems limitless. Energy is never lacking and resources become available. Our ability to see things as on the way rather than in the way is heightened when we are operating in an inspired state.

Very often we perceive nurturing through our own set of values or past hurts.

This is particularly prevalent in a parent to child relationship. When we communicate in the areas that are beyond the values of the child or if we ourselves are communicating in a manner that is outside of our highest values, the blood glucose and oxygen in our brains go towards the primitive hindbrain and we devolve into a state of defence and immediate gratification. We begin to procrastinate and motivation seems difficult.

How many children have been labelled with conditions like ADHD or have been marked as “Difficult“ by a teacher, parent or some figure of authority because they spend their lives being communicated to in a manner that is outside their values?

Once we are clear on our values or the values of those we are communicating with, resistance seems to dissipate and we are able to see the next step. We become aware of how our current circumstances may need to change or how they are currently serving this highest value. This makes us grateful and takes us from a state of defence and stress and puts us in a state of inspiration and creativity where the blood glucose and oxygen in our brains flow from the primitive hindbrain, responsible for impulse and survival, to our executive centre. The executive centre is a more recently developed portion of our brain which is responsible for reason and creativity.

Imagine for a moment a difficult child who spends his days in front of the TV with almost no motivation. His mother becoming Increasingly frustrated with his lack of focus and direction in life. One doesn’t have to look far to determine the things that are important to this child. One may begin by looking at the kind of TV shows or movies that this child is watching. One might then go into this Child’s room and look at the pictures hanging on the wall or the figurines and models decorating the room. Then one might begin to look at the areas in life where this child is disciplined, creative and resourceful. One might then look at where this Child’s pocket money gets spent. Paying attention to the topics of conversation which seem to light up the individual’s vocabulary, where they use the most animated language and bodily expression can speak volumes about what really matters to them.

Let’s say for instance this child watches TV shows about cars and let’s imagine that their room is decorated with posters on the wall of the latest Italian sports cars and shelves filled with model cars, all categorised and ordered and cleaned regularly. Let’s imagine that this child lights up when discussing cars, talking animatedly, loudly and expressively on the subject. One could safely assume that cars are among this individual’s highest priorities. This creates a useful framework within which to communicate and gives direction on where to focus energy.

Wisdom dictates that when we communicate with individuals in an area of interest to them they become more receptive.

My wife for example loves dogs. She loves talking about dogs and she loves looking at dogs. She loves having dogs as pets. If it were up to her, she would live on a farm surrounded by nothing but dogs. She doesn’t even mind bathing dogs or picking up dog poop. This is a subject that I have almost no interest in, in fact, I rather dislike the thought of owning a dog and would quite happily live without one as a pet for the rest of my life, but if I want to awaken my wife’s enthusiasm I need only to frame the subject around dogs and having one as a pet.

I am very interested in property and looking for the perfect house is something I could quite happily spend all weekend doing. My wife finds it rather boring and loses interest quickly. We currently live in a rented garden cottage and are unable to have dogs of our own. If I want to interest my wife in property hunting I need only talk about its potential for owning a dog as a pet one day and all of a sudden she has a deep interest in hunting for the perfect house with the perfect garden for her pack of dogs.

So you see, the moment we attempt to communicate to someone in our highest values, disregarding their own unique set of values, we will meet resistance and be forced to resort to totalitarian techniques such as punishment, manipulation and external motivation. Neither of those techniques sounds particularly nurturing to me.

Energy flows where attention goes and our attention is most effectively held by the things we deem important or of value.

So if you feel like you are bumping up against barriers to growth and progress in your relationships or perhaps in your own life, I would highly recommend that you become clear on your set of highest values and those of the individual with whom you are trying to communicate.

A great tool for helping you determine what your highest values are is The Dimartini Values Determination Process.

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