Soothe yourself

I’ll admit it. Today I had a case of the “cholies.” They crept up on me, and I found myself lying in the middle of my bed, lacking the desire to do, well, pretty much anything. Maybe you’ve been there… in that place that saps your energy and makes your mind dance circles around the question of “why do I suddenly feel so dreadfully bad?” And it leaves you feeling completely wasted for no good reason. Who knows what caused it for me today. Maybe it was a drop in blood sugar, maybe it was hormonal, maybe it was just boredom. But after lying there wallowing for an embarrassingly long time, I got up. That was step one. Because, you see, somewhere along the line I learned how to self soothe and today I had to remind myself I knew how.

There are things we go through in our lives that leave us feeling emotionally parched, and sometimes we know exactly what the catalyst is and other times, we simply don’t. It’s just a feeling that runs through the veins, rampant with negativity and lethargy, weighing us down, immobilizing us. And it’s those times that are the trickiest to heave ourselves up and out of because it’s under those specifically vague circumstances that we lack a clear answer as to what would help get us outta that funk. Because we don’t know what caused it.

Unlike when you go through a breakup– you know exactly why you feel miserable, and sometimes you reach for the wrong “fix” to make it feel better. Maybe you realize the person you want to talk to about it is your ex, so you reach out. There’s something comforting about just having that contact. But it’s not particularly helpful in aiding the healing process because every time you talk to that person, it re-opens the wound, and brings back all the emotions he or she invokes within you. Both the good and bad feelings come flooding back in a massive tidal wave. And that doesn’t give you the space to actually figure out how to feel better on your own. When we’re hurting, we tend to reach out to the people who understand that pain, even if they are the ones directly involved in it. The communication with them soothes us for a minute, but it’s a crutch– a temporary (and somewhat bittersweet) pacifier.

My sort of-nephew is going through the process of trying to give up his pacifier, and as any parent who’s been there knows, this is not an easy, painless, or quick process. He has to learn how to self soothe, and he has no idea how, other than to cry in an effort to try to get some sort of comfort from his parents. It’s emotionally draining on everyone involved, but it’s so important because once he teaches himself how to quiet his own cries, and soothe his mind, that part of him that feels helpless without his pacifier starts to realize that he is, in fact, OK. He is developing a critical skill he will need to access throughout his entire life. And slowly but surely, before he knows it, not having the pacifier will have become the norm.

We all need to have a mechanism in place that helps us self soothe. Whether you force yourself to get moving and go for a walk, bake a cake, or even do what I did today– drag my sorry butt out of bed, pour myself a glass of wine and slice up some cheese, and work on an order for a customer. Whatever it is that helps you get back to your own version of “normal”, remember–you know how to do this, even if you feel lost at the moment. The knowledge of how to soothe yourself into a quieter place is within you, you just have to dig deep and make yourself take the first step. Find your inner peace. I promise you, it’s waiting there for you.

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