It ’ s the middle of the night,
let ’ s imagine, and we ’ ve been on the earth for about three months.
A lot is still very unclear.
We areprofoundly helpless, barely able to move our
own head and utterly at the mercy of others.
The sources of our suffering and joy lie far outside our understanding.
Hugely powerfulneeds pass through us at regular intervals
and we have no way of making sense
of them to ourselves – let alone of communicating
them reliably to others.
A minute ago, wewere asleep in a dark enveloping warmth.
现在 我们醒了 感到失落 孤独 不适
Now we’re awake, bereft, isolated and very uncomfortable.
There seems to be a pain somewhere in our stomach,
but the agony is more general;
we are lonely and profoundly sad.
The room is dark and there ’ s a mysterious set
of shadows on the wall that appear and vanish at random.
In a rising panic, we start to scream out in the darkness.
我们消停了一下 把气顺一下 又更大声的尖叫起来
We pause to recover our breath – and then scream even louder.
Our lungs strain with the effort.
Still nothing and the darkness and lonelinessgrow ever more threatening.
Now true desperation sets in; this feels
like the end of everything good and true – and we scream as if to ward
off death. At last,
just when it seems we could not go on any further, the door opens.
A warm orange light is turned on.
It is afamiliar face.
They smile at us, say the name they often use around us,
pick us up and put us against their shoulder.
We can hear a familiar
heart beating next to ours and a warm
hand caressing the top of our head.
They gently move us to and fro, and sing a tender, sweet song.
Our sobs start to abate, we pull a weak smile;
it feels like the vicious demons and merciless goblins have been sent packing –
and that life could be bearable after all.
Imageresult for mother and child painting Soothing
is one of the kindest gestures that humans ever perform for one another.
It must lie close to the core of love
– and is what can make the difference between a desire to
die and the capacity to endure. Awkwardly,
it tends to be very hard to soothe ourselves
unless we have first – usually
in childhood – been properly soothed by someone else.
A capacity for self-soothing is the legacy of a history of nurture.
If we have been picked up enough times early on,
and sufficiently reassured in the midst of panic that we will
make it, then one part
of the mind learns the art and can practice it on the other – and eventually,
on people outside us too.
At momentsof crisis, we find ourselves able to access
a voice that calms the waves of fear and theblows of self-hatred: we can sort this out;
we ’ ll have a conversation with them; people understand;
screw them if they don ’ t;
what matters is you; you are good and valuable.
We have available an unflustered, resolute
response as much to the most awful events as to routine panics.
We have a faith that we can endure, that something will show up and
that we don ’ t deserve the worst.
Reflecting on the art of soothing may bring
into focus just how much we are missing.
We are not mysteriously deficient,
we were brought up by adults who were themselves not soothed.
We need to grow
attentive and deeply sympathetic to the missingpieces of our psyche.
It is because we didn’t
benefit from soothing that life is so much harder than it should be;
现代生活中 苦涩的拒绝 令人害怕的社会媒体
that nowadays rejection is so bitter, social media is so frightening,
disapproval feels so fatal, ambiguity is so unbearable,
sleep feels so unearnt, holidays are so worrying,
the carlesses of others feel so alien – and so many
of our days and nights are rocked by what feel like near-death experiences.
Image result for mother and child
painting There are – one must believe – substitutes
and opportunities for catching up.
我们可以借助于音乐 日记 床铺 泡浴等 但是
We canhave recourse to music, diaries, beds, baths but,
most importantly, other people. However,
seeking out the sort of people who can soothe
us may be the hardest step.
We may mistakea capacity to soothe for weakness or naivety.
We may take the soother for a fool.
We mayneed soothing so much, we find ourselves unable
to ask for it nicely,
shouting counter-productively instead – or else we withdraw into defensive independence,
because help feels like it hasn’tcome soon enough.
Those in the greatest need
of soothing often have no idea of what is missing,
no sensible way of articulating their
need – and a dogged suspicion
of kindness were it to be offered to them.
We should strive
not to make things constantly scarier in our own minds
than they are in reality.
We should offer soothing continuously to others –
and insist to the more sceptical and parched parts
of our own minds
that they too deserve one day to be the beneficiaries of kindness and reassurance.
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