In that famous scene from the movie about Joan Crawford, the renowned actress declares in a rage to her daughter Christina, “No wire hangers — ever!”

Hopefully you did not grow up with that kind of extreme abusive relationship, but it is not so farfetched to think that as an adult you might be treating yourself like Cinderella’s evil stepmother on steroids from time to time, subtly, overtly or subconsciously beating yourself up about the most trivial or significant things. Until we recognize and do something about it, we are often our own harshest critics when we need to be our most compassionate caregivers.

Do you speak nicely and are kind to yourself, especially in that tape that runs in your head? Do you take care of your body by eating healthy when you’re hungry, dressing appropriately for the weather, getting enough sleep, nursing yourself when sick, exercising, resting and playing on a regular basis? Do you allow yourself to express any emotion you are feeling — anger, sadness, frustration, joy, laughter — in an appropriate and timely manner? (Meaning, don’t walk around emotionally constipated!) And especially if you are a mother of young children, responsible for an aging parent, a teacher, healing professional or assumed the role of ‘official’ caregiver, are you taking care of yourself as much as you take care of others?

Or perhaps on some level you operate like a neglected ‘orphan’, walking around searching outside yourself, doing anything for that feeling of warmth and nurturing (or a continuation of it if you did have it as a child). The bottom line is that we can’t rely on someone else — spouse, partner, boyfriend/girlfriends, parents- to provide this for us; as mature adults (which has nothing to do with age) we should strive to be emotionally, physically, financially, and intellectually self-sufficient, and most importantly, loving towards ourselves.

Whether or not you had a positive experience with whoever raised you, learn to nurture yourself as if you were your own precious child. When we are able to mother ourselves, it becomes a lot easier to give and receive love and compassion with those closest to us, and even with strangers. It doesn’t matter if you are ill, out of work, frustrated with a relationship or the state of the world — if we each commit to healing ourselves and take responsibility for our own well-being, we will begin to see positive change around us in big and small ways.

And to all the men out there, gender doesn’t matter — we each have a gentle feminine nature within us that we can call upon and develop, just like we also have a macho warrior spirit!

So tonight when you go to bed, tuck in that little girl or boy within you, maybe drink some tea, read a story and tell yourself you are sublimely cherished and grateful for all that you are, because as Lenny Kravitz’s Mama said “Your life is a gift” and “Love’s all that matters.”

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(Today’s PGG was originally published on March 12, 2013)

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