open up to love

The Secret to Mutually Nurturing Relationships

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Many Bright Women find it easy to feel and express love for others. You’re probably one of them. And what about the other side of the coin? What if there was an easy way – a simple secret – to have mutually nurturing relationships? Read on to try it out!

open up to love
“The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.” – Henry David Thoreau

Are you as good in truly opening up and receiving love – aka care and nurturing and kindness –  from the people in your life as you are in giving? According to Positive Psychology ‘Love’ is one of 24 character strengths. The important thing to understand (and practice!): it’s a two-way street. We have both the capacity to give love to others and the capacity to receive love from others. Only then, relationships become mutually nurturing. This may seem common sense, but it’s not.


When it comes to a feeling of love, of connecting and caring for the welfare of someone else, I know quite a few women who are proficient in this art. On the other hand, when the task consists in truly opening up and receiving love, receiving care and nurturing and kindness from others (in their terms and how they are able to express it) well, not all of us score that high I would say.

Of course, this is related to letting go of perfectionism and trying to control everything and getting to grips with things. I stop now, you don’t need to hear this over and over again, I know.

Well, I offer you two remedies that are fun, easy and can be implemented right away:

The first one is practising self-compassion.

The second one is even easier: simply open up!


Your Turn Now

All you have to do is to be aware of all the love you get.

Open up for love in its various forms.

It’s not just about romantic love in a partnership that is so highly estimated in our societies (and leads to so much suffering as well).

However, ‘what if’ you solely focused on all the ways your husband or partner is expressing his love for you: by listening, sharing feelings and thoughts, appreciating, supporting showing his affection, trying to make you feel special.

It may take the form of close attachment, care, deep emotional connection and nurturing like with your children or parents;

You may observe acts of respect, kindness and care from friends;

Eventually, you can open up to receiving sympathetic joy, compassion and loving-kindness from others.


I suggest that you stick with this conscious practice for at least three to five days.

No urge to immediately get even – on the contrary!

The idea is to strengthen your receiving muscle. AND to observe as well as enjoy realizing how much love and care others are willing to give to you – if you let them.


Subscribe to my newsletter, if you’d like to get more tips and ways of stretching out of your comfort zone.

Photo: Wikimedia commons, Bowenpan


This article was initially published in 2014 and updated in December 2021.

Patricia Mauerhofer
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6 responses to “The Secret to Mutually Nurturing Relationships”

  1. I love this post Patricia because I think you’re right about women needing to open up and receive. I also think that our inability to do so can be because we don’t feel worthy or deserving of that love.

    When we open up to the truth that we are worthy and deserving then it’s easier to open up and receive.

    1. You’ve certainly got a point here Rachel. I appreciate this remark very much!
      And all this leads eventually to loving ourselves – as we would love our dearest ones – of course, we never question if they are worthy.

  2. This is just so true,
    So many women seem to find it easier to give than receive whether they feel they don’t deserve the attention or are just maybe embarrassed by it and feel more in control by brushing it away and not giving in to the emotion..
    It is not really the best way to forge friendships and relationships.

    1. Beautifully said Rosanne! Love the image of forging (making solid) relationships by simply feeling what others give to us. Beautiful.

  3. Such a strong statement and I am so glad to be receiving it at this very time. You see my children are at the age of leaving the nest and so to fully receive their love is especially important, now. And yes better late than never 😉

    1. Thanks for sharing this beautiful message with me and the other readers Cat. Enjoy every minute of every day, as you know, it will never come back (like this) AND it can still get better 😉 Love, Patricia

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