In a better arranged society, we would not only celebrate the lawyers and the doctors but also those who have the ability to soothe, to reassure their fellow beings in times of crisis or fear that their feelings are valid and that there is light at the end of the tunnel, provided one shows the courage to walk till there.
In pre-modern society, the need to be soothed was particularly recognised with thousands of heads turning towards Mother Virgin Mary, who would listen to the sorrows of her worshippers, extend her sympathy towards their pain as she heard morbid tales.
In the Buddist tradition, one would turn to the female Goddess Guanin who understood the struggles of being a human being, had immense knowledge of these hardships and also offered an abundance of compassion and sweetness.
With the introduction of modern equipment in hospitals, we did learn how to quickly heal the pain but our knowledge of its tolerance and the need to soothe it diminished as much. Now the moment we see ourselves undergoing pain, we wish to run away from it as soon as possible. So why would we appreciate someone who welcomed the very pain we ourselves are trying to run away from? No matter how powerful these pills are, the tenderness and encouragement of a human being beside a sick person are unparalleled.
The primary space for being soothed is between a parent and a child. A parent has no responsibility greater than their ability to reassure a child during times when the world seems hazy and uncertain. The parent has an almost magical ability to bring balance back to this child’s wrecked world within seconds. The following are the things that such a parent would do:
Identify When Soothing Is Required
It is not the easiest task in the world to identify a face that needs the warmth of a caress and affectionate words. You might think that such faces would have swollen teary eyes but most often, these faces carry expressions of anger, defiance and aggressiveness. The truly soothing person has a very valued ability to reserve compassion not only for the roses but also for the thorns it carries, thorns who have become so hard over time that they have forgotten their need to be soothed and loved.
Normalise The Need
Such a person knows how to normalise the need to be soothed because at the back of their minds, they carry a philosophy that the constantly changing nature of life can overwhelm anyone at a psychological and physical level and during such times, there is no shame in seeking assistance. They also understand that one can be overwhelmed at any point of time in their lives, that there is no special permission required to feel such a way. And that seeking a hug or head to rest on is not a side of being weak, but of being human and is a sign that ones’s vulnerability can be appreciated. And remember that no person who has been properly and consistently been soothed has turned into an attention seeker. Instead the fear of turning someone into an attention seeker by soothing them at the right and required places has caused many parents to be so hard on their child that they forgot that he/she even existed.
In the next part of this article, we shall look at the other qualities of a person with the ability to soothe. Remember throughout, that it’s a skill that can be learned over time. Stay tuned!