About The Chronic Inability to Sooth Yourself When Emotions are Over-Stimulating: How stress becomes internalized when we externalize the problem and point to something outside of us as the cause or reason of our discomfort.
The reason is rather simple. The instincts know that the externalizing is not the answer, so the body is instructed to ramp up the stress, thinking that if the stress is ramped up maybe the ego will finally listen and begin to look inside for the conflict. If we look inside, after all, we just might find the answer and the portal through which we pass may bring us to the heart-felt well-being that we all crave. But for this to happen we have to be ready to abandon our misery, regardless of how comforting it may have seemed in our past.
Stress is a messenger. It indicates that something is wrong inside. And because it is a message it need to be listened to and it needs to be interpreted and understood. But what if the feeling of stress is so strong that it overwhelms the thinking? What if instead of listening to the body we ignore the feeling.
In most cases where the stress is ignored, the body will begin to respond through some kind of organ dysfunction. In other cases the mood will be attacked and the person will become depressed instead of expressing the intention of the emotion. In rare cases the mind will be so fried that the person is declared mentally ill and often has to be confined to not hurt themselves or anyone else.
Stress ought to be acting like a yellow traffic light. It ought to be alerting us to the fact that we have to slow down and come to a complete stop before proceeding through the intersection. The stress is asking us to slow down, stop and re-group. But under the influence of the ego, the mind thinks that the stress itself is the problem and it begins to attack the messenger. We can go back to the days of the greek Empire to read of killing the messenger as a manner of not having to hear the message.
When stress is embraced, we begin to understand that the message may not be the one we were hoping to hear. By stopping to listen to the echoes of the heart, the rhythm of the structural beat of our lives, we find that by deliberately calming ourselves, we have the strength to endure the over-whelming feelings. Once we know that we can endure a feeling we are less likely to push the feeling aside. Once we have heard the perspective of the heart, the idea that comes from the deeper instincts, we might find a new manner of looking at the problem. Out of the new way of looking at the problem we tend to discover new ideas for coping and encouraging the future more to our liking. Being happy, being content and at peace is not a gift that we look for, it is a discipline that we cultivate. And for that to happen we need to begin to believe that we can have what we want.
Western Civilization has cultivated many ideas that have long out-lived their usefulness. The earth is not flat, the universe is not only expanding but it is doing so at an exponential rate, our gravity may not be the only gravity in the universe, E=MC (2), Quantum Physics is replacing Newtonian Physics, the Greeks and the Romans had many Gods, most modern religions worship one God, Is God dead?
Given our track record it is not so hard to believe the notion that self-care and self-soothing are primary in our drive states. If we do not understand how to place our needs in proper perspective, and we subscribe to some ancient notion that the world will run better if we only do not think of ourselves, we run the risk of being useless to ourselves and harmful to others.
When we are not perceiving with your own best interest in mind our life will look like chaos and a shamble. This is precisely because our idea of what we want has to be run through someone else’s mind. I am not OK with saying “No” because the person I say “N0” to will not like it. This leave us with no guide.
Many mothers struggle with this concept. They have been told through countless commercials and religious affiliations the story that selfishness leads to loneliness. A good person places the needs of The Other before the needs of the self. This idea may well go the way of Newtonian Physics. It is being replaced by a notion constructed on the idea that no hierarchy of priority has to be established. Meeting your need is meeting the needs of The Other.
Desire and our ability to keep our eye on what we want from the world is the first order of business. All other responsibilities and obligations emit from this perspective. Your child is not more important that you and you are not more important than your child. The notion is wrong. Committing ourselves to getting what we want from the world will bring along all of our responsibilities, and the needs of those in our charge will follow like ducks in a row.
Soothing oneself is accomplished by calming the emotion, stopping the process of thought, allowing your mind to clear and re-fill it with a eye toward what your desires in-the-moment are calling for. If you need to leave, leave. if you need to stay, stay. If you want to rest, rest. It may sound like a simple exaggeration, but it is really the central theme of caring for ourselves. When we allow, give ourselves permission to want in a totally uninhibited manned, we find that the world will accommodate.
If you do not perceive your own best interest, you will not be connected to libido, (desire). In this scenario you will find it impossible to be anything but overwhelmed. Once in an overwhelmed state the only possible way out is to rest—stop, calm and breath….have no thoughts for even 20 seconds before you begin again to repeat to yourself just how un-fair people are to you. In a short time it will occur to you that repeating the injuries to yourself will only serve to create depression, inertia and misery….
Fear, our fear that we are not enough stops us from dreaming our dreams….Dream on, because our best self lies in the hope that we can deliberately go after what we want.
dr. albert dussault
mindfulness in psychoanalysis