Peter Kane – Relationship Theorist and author "The Monogamy Challenge"

How Do You Self-Soothe?

One of the more abstract themes of my work and my book is self-soothing. Regardless of our issues, or the kind of relationships we are working with, becoming better at self-soothing is a critical part of healing and creating success. Self-soothing is abstract because we are all different and therefore how we comfort ourselves on an inner level will differ. It is also hard to define for the same reasons we need it so much: We typically don’t self-soothe, it has not been taught to us or modeled by our parents or friends, and we typically seek love and comfort outside ourselves. Our relationship problems stem in part from seeking connection outside ourselves, in people, things and substances, and then we exacerbate things by trying to resolve feeling by seeking external comfort. The cycle of not caring for and resolving our feelings continues.

It is hard to tell you what self-soothing is because it is not Peter-soothing. But I can send you in a general direction. My book has 15 references to self-soothing, and the notion is included throughout. It is part of how I address topics from healing loss and anxiety, developing a strong inner parent, to healing addiction and embracing your inner sexual self. Self-soothing is about being in contact with yourself. Self-soothing can include self-care and things like: napping, bathing, meditating, exercising, walking, and eating well. It also includes developing an inner voice that is a nurturing inner parent and resolving the toxicity of the inner critic.

I most recently was thinking about this and planning this blog as a result of my now yearly solo-backpacking trip. Taking a solo-backpacking trip of over 50 miles for 3-5 days has become the only requirement of my summers. It is not a requirement because the desire comes naturally for me. It is one way I have challenged myself to learn how to be with myself. I am a people person, a nurturer of others, a father, a talkative Gemini, a pleaser, a pack animal and more. My work has always included the notion that we all need to learn how to be alone and this is an aspect of self-soothing, perhaps especially for me.

So, I hike into the wilderness alone. When I first did this I felt pretty unsettled and nearly anxious the first day of my trips. Then, I would settle into myself and have some pretty deep experiences. It is like a walking meditation for me. I don’t think much. My focus is on my steps, what I am seeing, if I need to eat or drink, and taking photos. I am present with the physical environment and my physical self. Thus, I go into deeper contact with myself and into a more self-soothing space. It is important to note that if I were a socially avoidant reclusive person, self-soothing would likely involve going further into meeting with and talking to people and then learning to calm any anxieties I felt.

Self-soothing is about being nice to yourself. But a bigger aspect is how do you get into a deeper, more caring, intimate space with yourself? How do you hold your hand? And how are your holding your hand as your navigate the specific challenges your are faced with right now? Please respond and share with each other, as you do, you will help each other find both the energy or emotional quality of self-soothing and how to connect with it.

I think this a pretty challenging time, more so than recent decades. Perhaps the only real requirement for improved living right now is to hold on for the ride.

To holding our own hand in life,

Peter

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Peter Kane - Counselor • Coach • Relationship Theorist
peter@peterkane.org | 425-802-2050
7981 168th Ave. NE. Suite 124, Redmond WA 98052 | Directions ››

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