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  • It's the middle of the night, let's imagine, and we've been on the earth for about three

  • months. A lot is still very unclear. We are profoundly helpless, barely able to move our

  • own head and utterly at the mercy of others. The sources of our suffering and joy lie far

  • outside our understanding. Hugely powerful needs pass through us at regular intervals

  • and we have no way of making sense of them to ourselveslet alone of communicating

  • them reliably to others. A minute ago, we were asleep in a dark enveloping warmth. Now

  • we're awake, bereft, isolated and very uncomfortable. There seems to be a pain somewhere in our

  • stomach, but the agony is more general; we are lonely and profoundly sad. The room is

  • dark and there's a mysterious set of shadows on the wall that appear and vanish at random.

  • In a rising panic, we start to scream out in the darkness. Nothing happens. We pause

  • to recover our breathand then scream even louder. Our lungs strain with the effort.

  • Still nothing and the darkness and loneliness grow ever more threatening. Now true desperation

  • sets in; this feels like the end of everything good and trueand we scream as if to ward off death.

  • At last, just when it seems we could not go on any further, the door opens.

  • A warm orange light is turned on. It is a familiar face. They smile at us, say the name

  • they often use around us, pick us up and put us against their shoulder. We can hear a familiar

  • heart beating next to ours and a warm hand caressing the top of our head. They gently

  • move us to and fro, and sing a tender, sweet song. Our sobs start to abate, we pull a weak

  • smile; it feels like the vicious demons and merciless goblins have been sent packing

  • and that life could be bearable after all. (Image result for mother and child painting)

  • Soothing is one of the kindest gestures that humans ever perform for one another. It must lie

  • close to the core of loveand is what can make the difference between a desire to

  • die and the capacity to endure. Awkwardly, it tends to be very hard to soothe ourselves

  • unless we have firstusually in childhoodbeen properly soothed by someone else.

  • A capacity for self-soothing is the legacy of a history of nurture. If we have been picked

  • up enough times early on, and sufficiently reassured in the midst of panic that we will

  • make it, then one part of the mind learns the art and can practice it on the other

  • and eventually, on people outside us too. At moments of crisis, we find ourselves able to access

  • a voice that calms the waves of fear and the blows of self-hatred; we can sort this out;

  • we'll have a conversation with them; people understand; screw them if they don't; what

  • matters is you; you are good and valuable. We have available an unflustered, resolute

  • response as much to the most awful events as to routine panics. We have a faith that

  • we can endure, that something will show up and that we don't deserve the worst.

  • Reflecting on the art of soothing may bring into focus just how much we are missing. We are not mysteriously deficient,

  • we were brought up by adults who were themselves not soothed. We need to grow

  • attentive and deeply sympathetic to the missing pieces of our psyche. It is because we didn't

  • benefit from soothing that life is so much harder than it should be; that nowadays rejection

  • is so bitter, social media is so frightening, disapproval feels so fatal, ambiguity is so

  • unbearable, sleep feels so unearnt, holidays are so worrying, the caresses of others feel

  • so alienand so many of our days and nights are rocked by what feel like near-death experiences.

  • (Image result for mother and child painting) There areone must believesubstitutes

  • and opportunities for catching up. We can have recourse to music, diaries, beds, baths

  • but, most importantly, other people. However, seeking out the sort of people who can soothe

  • us may be the hardest step. We may mistake a capacity to soothe for weakness or naivety.

  • We may take the soother for a fool. We may need soothing so much, we find ourselves unable

  • to ask for it nicely, shouting counter-productively insteador else we withdraw into defensive

  • independence, because help feels like it hasn't come soon enough. Those in the greatest need

  • of soothing often have no idea of what is missing, no sensible way of articulating their

  • needand a dogged suspicion of kindness were it to be offered to them. We should strive

  • not to make things constantly scarier in our own minds than they are in reality. We should

  • offer soothing continuously to othersand insist to the more sceptical and parched parts

  • of our own minds that they too deserve one day to be the beneficiaries of kindness and reassurance.

  • Thank you for watching, remember to like the video and subscribe to our channel for more.

  • Our calm prompt cards can help us find serentiy despite daily anxieties and fustraitions. To find out more click on the link now.

It's the middle of the night, let's imagine, and we've been on the earth for about three

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B1 UK soothing scream capacity profoundly missing kindness

How to Soothe Ourselves and Others

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    Evangeline posted on 2018/06/05
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