How do you SELF-SOOTHE when someone has really upset you?
For some of us when we lose our emotional footing and feel hurt or unsafe we revert to old forms of emotional escapism as a form of SELF-SOOTHING. Unfortunately, however, when we escape or emotionally run and hide from our reality we don’t resolve anything. We just put it in a pot on the backburner, fooling ourselves with the mantra out of sight, out of mind.
When we deny our truth and pretend using weapons of mass distraction like too much food, booze, spending, drugs, pill popping or busyness we stunt our emotional growth. The pot forever brewing on the backburner in our minds is finite. It will eventually boil over. When it does it will be messy for it won’t just be the one issue, one hurt, one disappointment that leaks out. It will be the whole bloody potful. It will seem like an overreaction to innocent bystanders who only have one issue to resolve with you. Too often when the enormity of all our unresolved pain explodes everyone involved hits overwhelm. Some walk, some wallow. SELF-SOOTHING through dismissing our reality eventually backfires, leaving a huge emotional mess to clean up.
The habit of emotional escapism is one of self-neglect nonetheless, even if it does seem to temporarily offer a quick hit of SELF-SOOTHING. It is not until we become willing to remain emotionally present to our fears and pain, albeit inconvenient, that we are able to build a reliable and healthy character.
All too often I hear clients explaining before they unpack their emotional backlog with me that they feel what is upsetting them is too “petty.” Paying attention to the tiny everyday petty details of life, cleaning up little spills as you go means you can intercept huge, messy, emotional explosions down the track. I know I mention this fact repeatedly, that is because it is so obvious many of us forget it. When it comes to building a life of great quality the difference between good and great is attention to petty detail. A great meal, piece of music, pair of shoes even a great kiss all become wonderful because care and attention to every delicate subtle detail has been considered. When it comes to building emotionally great relationships with others and ourselves the art of responsible SELF-SOOTHING is a rare skill, as it requires consistent discipline and patience.
Many of us become rigid and controlling as a form of SELF-SOOTHING when we feel internally chaotic and out of control. The hardest thing to do often when we feel afraid is surrender to our reality.
Laughter and tears are the healthiest release mechanisms our heart offers us as natural forms of SELF-SOOTHING. When we cry and when we laugh our brain chemistry works with us, not against us.
So instead of shoving our pain and anxiety into a pot on the backburner of our overloaded mind, creating a safe consistent outlet for our laughter and tears is wise. For some of us weekly therapy sessions or like-minded group meetings work wonders. For others date night with a lover or good friend where we can share our tears and triumphs will also intercept potential emotional overwhelm.
Our fearful ego is always concerned about our reputation first and our authentic character second. Healthy SELF-SOOTHING is not something our ego considers first. It chooses to run, hide, deny and distract ourselves in order to keep up appearances and protect our reputation even if it is built on lies and bullshit. Our ego is focused on the opinion of others.
Our loving heart on the other hand knows that our authentic character requires a healthy balance of both laughter and tears. A willingness to place our truthful character before a socially sanitised reputation creates an Emotionally Fit human being.
SELF-SOOTHING is something our heart instinctively knows how to do, if we will get out of our own way and simply allow ourselves to be still and self-honour. Our muscles of self-respect get the best workout when alone or with a safe other if we remain fully present to our laughter and our tears. Our heart is focused on building a healthy relationship with our true character, worried less about our reputation and the opinion of others and more about our genuine self-respect.
I invite you to review your rituals around SELF-SOOTHING. Who is running the show in your private inner world? Your ego and your reputation or your heart and your true character?
It is an oldie but a goodie, one of Shakespeare’s best in my view, that hits this universal truth out of the park. This is so important for us all to remember when it comes to building our Emotional Fitness …
“This above all to thine own self be true
And it must follow as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™
This Word Vitamin is an excerpt from my latest bookset “The Four Seasons of the Heart”. If you would like to order your own full set of Daily Word Vitamins one for each day of the year, in book form for yourself or as a gift just click on the SHOP tab and place your order.