While self-soothing is an important skill to have, not every one knows how to practice it. Even so, anyone can develop it. That’s important because using self-soothing skills can not only improve your life, they can also enhance your relationship.
I was recalling a conversation I had recently with a friend who was sad about a situation in her relationship. I was feeling the depth of her suffering, her pain at not being understood or left out or feeling ignored. I wasn’t exactly sure what she was experiencing, but I did sense that she was very sad.
Self-Soothing Helps You Suffer and Resent Less
Often when we get our feelings hurt we turn to our mate and expect them to fix it. This is a common pattern in many relationships and marriages. Unfortunately the people who expect their partner to understand what happened to them when they feel upset usually don’t end up feeling any better and their mate is often left in the dark about the suffering.
It’s possible to share what feelings got hurt with the mate after everything blows over, but I have an idea for those of us who find ourselves in pain that could really shorten the time of the suffering.
How to Self-Soothe
When you get your feelings hurt, try and find a way to feel better, all by yourself. What I mean is don’t depend on your partner to make you feel better. Figure out what you need to come back to your center all on your own. This is what it means to self-soothe.
We see kids do it all the time. Little tykes fall down and some adult will say, “You are all right,” and after a few minutes they are. The little ones figure out that they are going to be OK. Children know that they can get back to their center and then they can continue their life and go back to playing or what ever they were doing.
Keeping Perspective and Managing Expectations
When we become grownups we create all kinds of stories. These stories are about our loved ones, and include what they did to us and what causes them to do these things and maybe we deserved them or what we did to cause it etc, etc. We as humans have all kinds of ideas in our heads about how people are supposed to treat us. And that’s how we stay mad at our mates. We expect them to know that they hurt us and to make us feel better the minute we feel upset.
I think the reason we do this is because we join our partner so deeply in a relationship we just assume that they know us so well that they will always understand us. So when they don’t, which is common in every relationship, we get upset. And I mean really upset.
It’s important to go back and look at misunderstandings and arguments after they are over so we can determine what happened to us, to our partner and the relationship. It’s also important to do any repair work, apologizing for saying certain words or ignoring the one we love. This is very good work to do to keep your relationship strong.
How Self-Soothing Helps You Feel More Connected to Your Partner
Equally important is learning how to quiet and calm your own feelings all by yourself. I know the more I can come down from my anger and disappointment, the sooner I can connect with my beloved and being connected always feels better. I am still learning not to wait for him to come in and make it better for me. A part of me always wants that. But another part is growing and learning about self care, and that my friends, feels really good.
More Tools for Self-Soothing and Having Better Relationships
Read a Book About Nurturing Your Relationship
Can’t make it on Monday? You can learn more about how to feel supported and nurtured in your relationship by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It can help you improve communication and expectation management in your relationship. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It’ll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.