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Know What Feeds You

know what feeds youWhen you were a baby, you were helpless and dependent upon your parents and caregivers for nurturance and sustenance. You were the recipient of other people’s care. Your caregivers fed you food, loving touch, and appropriate learning stimuli to help you grow, thrive, and feel loved. Shelter and protection from harm was presented to you as well as the adults in your world could offer. Your needs were met as best as your caregivers could supply. Parents and all human beings do the best they can with the skills and awareness they have at the time.

To whatever extent they could care for you reflects what you received and learned was available to you. The care you received growing up taught you a great deal. Early trust (or its lack) was formed and the bonding process was portended for your future relationship with that person.

The same is true for your relationship with others and yourself. What you grew accustomed to helped to feed your self-worth, knowing what you truly deserve, or it may have created a lack of that.

As time marched on, you began to identify your needs and found ways to feed yourself. Perhaps some habits you have developed work well while others need working on. The concept of self-sustenance conjures up dietary needs but demonstrates physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs as well. Break down the necessities for your personal sustenance to connect with your overall best self-care routine.

Here is a self-care checklist for you to assess where you stand with each item:

  • Do you put yourself first, last, or forget to take care of yourself most of the time?
  • How well do you meet your regular physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs?
  • Do you find yourself making excuses or blaming others for your self-care or the lack of it?
  • Is self-care factored into your daily and weekly life or just on special occasions?
  • When you are stressed, does your self-care increase, decrease, or stay the same?
  • What practices regarding how you feed yourself give you the most nurturance and stress relief?
  • If you are under great stress or are in an abusive relationship, what feeds and comforts you?
  • Are you comfortable asking for assistance from a trusted family member, friend, medical or helping professional if you need help in caring for your needs?
  • How well do you acknowledge and forgive yourself around meeting your own needs?
  • Are your self-care choices healthy and life-sustaining for you, or do you need to incorporate new ways of self-love into your repertoire?

Like a rapid, rushing wave, you are compelled to continuously move forward to be present in the flow of your life. When you awaken to your self-worth and honor your valuable, singular place in the world, your presence naturally leads you to pay closer attention. As a growing and grown person, you are responsible for taking good care of yourself.

When you are a well-balanced, fully functional adult only you can ensure that you’re well cared for. You grow your self-worth, actively choose and find your lessons, live with integrity, and accept the flow of life and all its potentials. Your wisdom shines brightly with a wellspring of peace, joy, and confidence. Happiness that was there all along is finally realized (Sidell, 2015).

Whether you got what you needed or did not receive the care that you deserved, you are responsible to yourself as a fully functioning human being. Pursue that which truly feeds you today and every day moving forward. When you give yourself what you need, you are most alive and at peace. You then are free to shine your light most brightly into the world. Those in your care and who are watching you can see what self-love and self-respect look like and are given permission to do the same for themselves.


Know What Feeds You

Nina Sidell, MA

Nina Sidell, M.A. is a psychotherapist, life coach, and speaker with over twenty-five years in private practice. She is the author of The Mom’s Choice award-winning book, Parenting for Life. Parenting for Life is available on Amazon Us, Amazon Europe, Create, Space, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble.

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APA Reference
Sidell, N. (2018). Know What Feeds You. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 28 Aug 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.