I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.

~ Woody Allen ~

Some Self Soothing Will Do It

January 28th, 2014 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 37 secs

It's not the doughnut that drives us so much as our needs for self-soothing.

It’s not the doughnut that drives us so much as our needs for self-soothing.

People do all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons. But ultimately, one big reason for doing anything is to do for the feeling it brings.

Making yourself feel good, or, giving yourself a lift are various terms for the same thing. As forms of self-soothing they let us use our experience and actions to give pleasure and bring us comfort.

One of the most obvious forms of self-soothing is eating and surely chocolate and ice-cream have captured this splendidly. But it really could be anything. All manner of human behavior can be construed as either pleasurable or distressing. Which, of course is reflected in out individual differences as a common theme of difference

When I eat more because I’m anxious, that’s me self-soothing. When I stroke my hand in a gentle, reassuring way, I’m triggering a calming sensation that makes me feel better. But what do you do?

You and I have a range of behaviors, all intended to bring us comfort, relief, and reassure us that we are okay. Knowing this is handy because it can help us consciously comfort ourselves, or develop better ways that work when we really need it.

Some forms of soothing behavior certainly deserve modifying because they hurt others in the process (I’m sure, for instance, you’ve observed people who delight in seeing others suffer).

By wielding power as a weapon, they take a sadistic pleasure in inducing anguish. In this sense, their comfort relies on ugly compulsion (something that not only makes them obnoxious but the world a harder place).

Contrast that with kind words and deeds. However small they be, they can be used to induce a host of good feelings. Praising others can be a wonderfully self-soothing thing to do. While, deeds of dignity feed back into our self-image with tangible proof that even others can recognize.

Tuning into your own self-soothing and learning to appreciate how it motivates and alleviates is a wonderful thing to do. You will be all the better for this self-awareness and, potentially, it will have far reaching consequences. For what you do tells you so much about the needs of others and the comfort needs that they have too.

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