One of the things I will share with just about anyone who will listen is this: the point of long-term relationships is to soothe each other in a difficult world. Now I’m not trying to be all doom and gloom here, but, really, have you looked around? The world gets tricky to navigate frequently. And, in those choppy waters, there isn’t much (besides your cute dog…yes, he’s a very good boy) that works to smooth those waters better than a great relationship. Great relationships can be romantic, platonic, familial, long-distance, neighborly. Sometimes they can even be fleeting, like the smile that stranger gave you passing each other on the street. But, mostly, to soothe best it is especially nice when the relationship is a long-term one and the other person knows what to do or say to make you feel quickly at ease, take a burden off your shoulders and settle down stormy emotions.
There is a formula to soothing, and it occurs in 4 parts.
First, you need to acknowledge that something is upsetting you.
Second, you turn to another person to let them know about the upset.
Third, you let them meet your needs.
Fourth, you move forward.
This doesn’t have to be all fancy or formal or anything. Sometimes it can be something really small, like a cross expression on your face, or an “ouch!” exclaimed when you stub your toe that alerts a loved one to your distress. Sometimes it can be a lengthy conversation or an obvious huge life event, but often it is a subtle, nonverbal outreach. Then the other person can turn to you and let you know that you’ve been seen, heard, noticed. They can soothe in whatever way works best in that moment, for you. Then your job is to let in the soothing and to move forward feeling a little more loved despite the tough time.
Sometimes people get stuck between step 2 and 3 and they don’t let themselves accept the soothe. Some tips to help let soothing in include making eye contact, taking a breath, saying thank you, relaxing your shoulders away from your ears. In short, you deliberately recognize, appreciate and enjoy the effort the other person is making to help you feel better. Bonus points if you have communicated in your important relationships what works best for you (some ideas: kind words, gentle touch, a simple nod, silently sitting next to you).
The next time something has you feeling upset, turn to your favorite person and let them meet your needs for a moment. Relax into knowing that someone else has your back. Happy soothing!
P.S. Animals are naturally good at this. People need a little more training, hence the article with the 4 steps.
P.S.S. Celebrate with me…I just surpassed 21 years in business!