Can you remember a time when you or another child tripped, skinned their knee and went screaming to Mommy or Daddy? The parent immediately scoops them up, and rocks back and forth, reassuring the child they are OK. That warm embrace and love soothes the child. Within 5-10 minutes they are off and running again chasing their new puppy around the yard.
This is what we do automatically when someone we love is hurting. We show up and provide support and love. Support can come in the form of protection or safety like a parent cautioning a child to run more slowly in that area of the yard. A parent also loves by nurturing a child and reassuring them that falling is normal.
We usually have a hard time providing that same Loving Support to ourselves. We tend to judge our behaviors as bad or not enough. For example, if we are upset about the loss of a job, we can get lost in self-blame, and avoid showing up for our distress. Also, many of us keep ourselves busy, drink alcohol, and overeat.
In Survival Mode we avoid painful emotions and seek pleasure. This flight reaction allows us to escape uncomfortable feelings, but we don’t learn how to show up for ourselves. In Thriving Mode we give ourselves the same Loving Support we would give to the young child who is hurt and scared. Loving Support includes learning to be grounded, open minded, and unconditionally loving.
Take a moment and recall some experience when you were hurt or scared. Hug yourself. Take a deep breath, feel your feet on ground, and rock back and forth while you comfort and reassure yourself. Try this for 5-10 minutes. If you are not feeling soothed, be curious as to what might be getting in the way. If you discover something that is blocking the release, you can try to bring Loving Support to that. With practice you can learn to provide unconditional love and support to yourself. You deserve it!