Lady Life Coach advises us to be kind to ourselves

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How to handle the pain of being an adult. Gently does it, says top Life Coach Carole Ann Rice

One of the first skills a parent helps to instill in their child is the ability to self soothe.

It might be controlled crying, a dummy, a soft toy or a special blanket to stop the tears and quell a quivering lip. All these things help a child know that they will be safe and all will be well, even when not in their parent's arms. It's a first step in self-care.

As we become mature adults, sucking our thumbs or rocking back and forth in a rhythmic stupor are not sufficient nor socially acceptable ways of taking the edge off anxiety and tough times. Sadly, we often turn to overeating, drowning our sorrows in “happy hour” binges, mindless shopping, gambling and I am sure you can add your own secret soother of shame.

Deep inside we can feel as lost as a small child yet cannot let the world see our frailty and bewilderment. Life can be full on and brutal sometimes. We’d like to tantrum and throw our toys out of the pram and sometimes we do. Though it's not a good look.

We wish we could stamp our foot and pout “it's not fair” when we don't get what we want. We feel vicitimised and made small by what happens to us without our permission. 

We can feel powerless and try as we might the answers are not always forthcoming and quite often, we don't know what to do and there's no one to show us the way or rescue us from the hardships of living. This is when it is essential to know how to self soothe without it having a toxic kick back to our health, wealth and psyche.

There is no book of life which gives “get out for free” strategies. Often it's hard to know what to do for the best for others, the situation, and most importantly, for ourselves.

There are some practical topical strategies you can use to ease difficult emotions, examples in the following: a bubble bath or long, hot shower, your favourite music, exercise, cooking, spending time with a pet, going for a walk in nature, watching or playing sport, talking to a good friend, watching a feel-good film, meditation or praying.  

More importantly it is noticing the conversation that is going on in your head. Are you catastrophising? Are you over exaggerating or giving yourself a hard time? Learn to talk to yourself with compassion through your uncomfortable state.

Remind yourself of simple truths to keep things in perspective, eg:

  • 'I am only human, we all make mistakes'
  • 'I know I did my best and meant well'
  • 'Be patient, this will soon be history'
  • 'There is nothing more I can do'
  • 'What can I learn from this?'

You can do this silently on your own or write it out somewhere to “park” it and relieve the stress build up.

Developing compassion for yourself means you find you have more kindness and forgiveness of others. Be aware of when you turn your anger inwards, which is corrosive. Be nonjudgmental of yourself and embrace your humanity which is fallible and vulnerable.

In short, do unto yourself as you would do unto others. You will find your self-soothing kit bag will give you first aid to your feelings at any time.

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