Self-soothing is the single most important skill you can possibly learn. It’s the life-changing antidote to self-sabotage, despair, and a not-so-gradual descent into madness. In a word, it’s life changing to the point of life-saving.
When you learn to self-soothe, your life splits into two chapters: before, and after. Honestly, your life splits into two lives. It’s like being born again.
Without healthy self-soothing, how can anyone possibly cope with all that life contains? Or with even HALF the problems invented by intensely active, often peace-slaying imaginations?
Since like attracts like, we inevitably, INEVITABLY turn to either something positively outright DESTRUCTIVE, or we take a good thing to the worst form of its extreme.
When we are desperate and in pain, the animal brain in us lashes out reactively and grabs the first pleasure-inducer / pain-deflector available--even when we *know* that isn’t our best choice and won’t serve us well long-term.
Without self-soothing, even winning is hollow because we can’t internalize anything without filtering it through sh*t, which leads to desperate, exhausting behavior, which leads to crazy-making, life-ruining, ostracizing behavior far below you Inner Being’s eternal dignity.
Doctor Elinor Greenberg (and many others) suggest having a well-practiced “emotional toolbox” on hand. There are pretty much infinite variations on the tools to fill your box with (I literally mean infinite, from tarot card pulls to compression devices to pheromones to hanging from hooks in the skin of your back).
It's not like you don't already know the MOST BASIC ONES--so obvious that it's insulting--on every.damned.listicle, like these gems: "Listen to music you like! Take a bubble bath! Go out with friends!"
Yeah, what if you don't even have friends and that's part of the problem because your one friend (your ex-) abandoned you at the worst time ever? Feeling worse much?... And GEE, WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF MUSIC AND A BUBBLE BATH? OF COURSE! *facepalm* Yeah, that will just fix everything by getting to the heart of the matter... Oh wait, no... Especially when you never want to get out of bed or open the blinds ever again...).
So here are some beautiful (and effective!) self-soothing tools to start with that are universally beneficial and quite possibly indispensably fundamental*:
Imagery: Don’t underestimate the power of visualization and imagination. There is evidence that imagination can be substituted for actual experiences in therapy, among other uses.
Law of Attraction and manifesting energetically requires getting into the vibration / information / “feeling” of what is desired, and imagery is a facility that heightens that into something more real, more experiential, more sensual.
Make things you that wish you were seeing externally to be vivid in your mind--Why not? It feels good. Be your own tourism agency for your Future. It’s all for the pleasure of your Golden Path. As within, so without.
Nothing has ever soothed me quite like taking refuge in an imagination where I am all powerful, in control, and everything is as I want it to be. For as long as I can hold myself there, all is right with the world. And when I've been inconsolable and the world falling apart, that is exactly what I needed.
ASK-firmations: I’m not against affirmations, they can be just what we need to hear in the moment.
Alot of times however, they feel forced, fake, and like alot of effort. They can just spotlight the *lack*, more than persuade us that the opposite is true. Let’s be honest: when we feel our absolute worst and need affirmations the most, affirmations can be quite a downer (and feel so.ridiculous).
Doctor David Snyder explains how to use a variation on affirmations that’s about as different in powerful effectiveness as a crater is different from a shooting star:
“I talked about how the human nervous system is the world's most powerful question-answering mechanism on the planet. It must pathologically seek to answer any question that you put to it regardless of how bizarre the question is.
[Example: A fantastical question such as, 'Why is the moon green?' The brain's first impulse will be to immediately start to find some rationalizations...]
So when we give affirmations we usually deliver them in the form of statements, right?
We usually say: ‘Every day, in every way I'm getting better and better and better.’ It's a very classic affirmation, goes back hundreds of years: ‘Every day in every way I'm getting better and better and better.’
That's a statement. Maybe instead of making it a statement we’ll make it an exclamation:
‘Every day and every way I'm getting better and better and better!!!!’
Right but it's still a statement, it's a Yang energy. I'm imposing something rather than drawing something out.
So you remember the example I gave the other day when you have people who say, ‘Why is this always happening to me???!!!???!!!’ and this little voice down there goes, ‘Oh he wants a list!’, right?
Well what if we take that mechanism and we use it to build ourselves up instead of tearing ourselves down? Instead of coming up with reasons for why we're a failure or why we deserve how we have all the crappy sh*t in our life, what if we were to use that mechanism to come up with reasons why we deserve [good]? And so you flip the script and instead of making a statement you ask a good question.
The question might be as simple as ‘Why do I really deserve to be rich and happy?’
Ask yourself that question and notice what happens. ‘Why do I deserve to be rich and happy? Why do I deserve to have the ideal me? Why do I really deserve love?’
What happens to your brain when you ask those questions? One of two things is gonna happen:
A. It's gonna tell you actually why you deserve it, it's gonna give you a reason,
or it's gonna say you don't.
Either way you've got a direction. Because [if] something comes up that says you don't [deserve it], point to where you feel it and fix it.
Right? If it gives you a reason, build on it. Go back and do it again: ‘Why do I really deserve love?’ You may get a different answer. You may get the same answer. But in this case, by asking a properly formed question, we create a space for the unconscious mind to fill.
And this is one of the big, big pieces I want you to take away from understanding your mind and that is this:
What the unconscious mind generates the unconscious mind accepts.
You're asking your unconscious mind to give you the reasons it'll accept for getting what you want,
And so when you ask a question like, ‘Why do I really deserve to be wealthy?’ Unconscious Mind always answers first, it always answers honestly because your Unconscious Mind gave you the information.
The Unconscious Mind will work to make it true. If it gives you an answer that you don't deserve to be, well now you found you've uncovered yet another limiting belief that you can go and pack an attack. So it gives you power either way. And the more you ask yourself these questions. The more your brain will generate rationales for why you should get what you want. I call them ‘informations’ as opposed to affirmations because you're asking the question and letting that deeper part of you answer it, if that makes sense.
So here's what I'd like you to do right now, based on the things we talked about throughout the beginning class. The things you want to manifest in your life, write down three ‘informations’ that you can that you can use. Remember they're in the form of a question and your questions should presuppose the results you want.
And we're going to look at how we can use logical levels to mine for positive beliefs and negative beliefs at different levels.
Okay, so you're gonna write down three ‘informations’ based on the things you want to manifest. If it's love, write about love, if it's wealth or success, write about wealth or success. I don't care, they’re your topics but write them in the form of a question: ‘Why do I deserve X?’ When do you know? ‘Why do I really deserve to have X, Y, Z?’ ‘Where did I really get the skills to earn the money I want to earn?’ You know?
Again I'm just putting examples out there. You're gonna find though (and as I explore this process with myself I'm discovering) that a lot of these questions are ‘deservingness’ questions.
You may notice that. Right now...I see a lot of the things is really about deservingness.