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  • It's the middle of the night, let's imagine, and we've been on the earth for about three months.

    夜半三更,讓我們想像一下,我們剛來到世上不過 3 個月。

  • A lot is still very unclear. We are profoundly 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 powerful needs pass through us at regular intervals and we have no way of making sense of them to ourselveslet alone of communicating them reliably to others.


  • A minute ago, we were asleep in a dark enveloping warmth.


  • 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. Nothing happens.


  • We pause to recover our breath and then scream even louder. Our lungs strain with the effort.

    我們暫停下來重整氣息 ,然後尖叫得更大聲,撕心裂肺地大叫。

  • Still nothing and the darkness and loneliness grow 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.

    現在真的被絕望套住了,這感覺似乎是一切美好和真實的終點 — 而我們拼命尖叫,彷彿在抵禦死亡。

  • At last, just when it seems we could not go on any further, the door opens.


  • A warm orange light is turned on. It's a familiar 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.

    我們開始不再啜泣,我們淺淺的微笑,感覺好像邪惡的魔鬼和殘忍的哥布林都被趕走了,生活終究是可以忍受的 。

  • 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 firstusually in childhoodbeen properly soothed by someone else.

    很奇怪地,我們似乎很難撫慰自己,除非我們先有 — 通常是在童年 — 被他人撫慰的經歷。

  • A capacity for self-soothing is the legacy of a history of nurture.


  • If we've 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 otherand eventually, on people outside us, too.


  • At moments of crisis, we find ourselves able to access a voice that calms the waves of fear and the blows of self-hatred; we can sort this out;


  • we'll have a conversation with them; people understand; and 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're not mysteriously deficient, we were brought up by adults who were themselves not soothed.


  • We need to grow attentive and deeply sympathetic to the missing bits of our psyche.


  • It's because we didn't benefit from soothing that life is so much harder than it should be;


  • 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 caresses of others feel so alienand so many of our days and nights are rocked by what feel like near-death experiences.


  • There areone must believesubstitutes and opportunities for catching up.


  • We can have 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 mistake a capacity to soothe for weakness or naivety.


  • We may take the soother for a fool. We may need soothing so much, we find ourselves unable to ask for it nicely,


  • shouting counter-productively insteador else we withdraw into defensive independence because help feels like it hasn't come soon enough.

    反而是毫無益處地喊叫 — 或是我們將自己拉開,防衛式的孤立自己,因為協助感覺似乎總無法及時到來。

  • Those in the greatest need of soothing often have no idea of what is missing, no sensible way of articulating their needand 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 othersand insist to the more skeptical and parched parts of our own minds that they too deserve one day to be the beneficiaries of kindness and reassurance.

    我們應該不斷地為他人提供撫慰 — 並強調我們心中多疑的、乾涸的部分某天也值得成為他人仁慈與肯定的受益者。

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It's the middle of the night, let's imagine, and we've been on the earth for about three months.

夜半三更,讓我們想像一下,我們剛來到世上不過 3 個月。

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如何安撫自己和他人?(How to Soothe Ourselves and Others)

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    Evangeline 發佈於 2021 年 05 月 05 日