September 17, 2018

Comforting yourself

This is an exercise that might help you to treat yourself with care and comfort. First you need to recall in memory a picture of yourself in a situation where you were young and in need of care. It may be a time you felt scared, ashamed, sad or lonely as a young one. It doesn’t have to be a specific episode, it can also be a general image from your life if you have repeating painful experiences.

If you have difficulty finding such a memory of yourself from your childhood, you can recall a picture of a child that you know you care for. If you are struggling to feel caring towards children, then maybe you can picture an animal you care for or have in your life.

Find a comfortable position. Make sure you sit upright with good support for your back. Feel the contact with the chair. Keep both your legs planted on the floor and rest your hands in your lap. Take a few deep breaths and try to relax.

1. Imagine the vulnerable child!

This is either yourself in a vulnerable situation as a child or a picture of another vulnerable child that you care for. Imagine the child and notice the face, its eyes and its posture.

2. Imagine how the vulnerable child has it!

Notice how it feels imagining the vulnerable child. See if you can get a hold of the vulnerability.

3. What does the vulnerable child need?

Notice what the little child needs or needed in that situation.

4. Imagine you are giving the child what it needs.

Look at that little child again. As the caring adults you are, imagine that you give the vulnerable child the care and comfort that it needed. For some, it is easier to imagine being another caregiver, such as a grandparent or partner.

5. Imagine how it is for the child to get it.

Imagine that you are the little child: How does it feel to get that care? Feel in your body how the care and comfort affects you. See if you can accept this care and comfort from yourself. Let the feelings impact you, and put words to how it feels.

Take a few minutes to end this process. Breathe deeply, and get ready to continue your day with this new experience. You may want to summarize for yourself how this was and what you want to do with it going forward.