Focusing Tip #851 – Self-Care – “I’m not sure I know how to soothe myself.”

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Is there an art — or a skill — to self-soothing? Read on…


A Reader writes:

People talk about self-soothing, but I’m not sure I even know how to soothe myself. I do comfort other people; in fact, that’s often been my role in life. But when I think about soothing myself, I feel clumsy at it. Inadequate.

Dear Reader:

What strikes me is that self-soothing is really two skills. One is to give comfort and soothing. That’s the one you are good at — at least with other people.

The other skill is to receive comfort and soothing. To take in and even enjoy receiving comfort.

Yes, receiving comfort is a skill as well! Let’s see how one might practice it.

Most days, if I can, I take a nap. I’ve discovered that it’s not so important whether I sleep or not. What really matters is that I take in the comfort of lying down, being warm enough but not too warm, able to close my eyes, relax, and let go. It’s a delicious feeling. I always get up refreshed.

So… are you feeling some comfort right now? Pause… and let yourself feel what feels good to you right now, starting with the physical. Is it comfortable where you are? Peaceful? Had you not even been noticing that a moment ago? Let yourself receive and feel what’s enjoyable right now.

Now sense if there is something in you in need of some comfort. Maybe there’s something in you that’s sad, or anxious, or tired. Notice where you feel that in your body right now.

And let a gentle hand go there, to the place where you feel that. As if with your hand you are saying, very kindly, “Yes, I know you are there, and I’m here with you.” That’s the giving comfort side of you.

And as for the receiving comfort side? Sense how that place in you receives the touch of your hand, how it takes in the comfort of your presence… and let that deepen. Just as a moment ago, you were taking in the comfort of where you’re sitting right now.

Receiving comfort is something your body knows how to do… and the more you practice it, the easier it will be.

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