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by Christy Whitman, New York Times best-selling author and Life Coach
The energy we broadcast by virtue of our thoughts, perceptions, beliefs and moods has a tremendous impact on everything that we magnetize into our lives. In a vibrational universe that is governed by the powerful Law of Attraction, nothing is more important than the vibration we’re sending out on a moment to moment basis.
From an energetic standpoint, both self-care and self-soothing can support us in raising our vibration, but there is one big difference between the two. Self-care is a proactive practice which – like flossing our teeth – we wisely attend to every day. In contrast, self-soothing is best applied “after the fact,” in situations or relationships in which we’re already upset and seeking to regain our energetic balance.
Ideally, we wouldn’t enter into any situation or interaction – whether personal or professional – without having tended to our own practice of self-care. Self-care is defined differently by each person, but generally speaking, it’s comprised of anything that fills us up on the inside; that reminds us of our inherent worthiness and lovability, and that helps us prepare our energy field, in advance, to create the outcomes we desire. Some common self-care rituals include meditation or just sitting quietly, breathing deeply, spending time in nature, physical exercise, hot baths, eating well and drinking plenty of fresh water… anything that supports us in feeling centered, empowered and receptive so we can make the most of the opportunities that lie before us. The more devoted we are to our daily practice of self-care, the less often we will need to self-soothe.
Self-soothing is a skill that, if we’re lucky was modeled for us by our parents when we are very young. A mother holds her crying child and strokes his forehead, or when a father whispers, “it’s okay; it’s just a dream,” when his daughter awakens from a nightmare. With these actions, the child is comforted by soothing words and touch. This is a skill that we, as adults, need to learn to apply to ourselves. Self-soothing is in order when a relationship or situation isn’t going as planned, when we’re feeling out of balance emotionally, or anytime we’re feeling rejected, misunderstood or discouraged.
As with self-care rituals, self-soothing practices will also vary from person to person, but usually involve engaging one or more of our five senses. Taking a hot bath or shower; getting a massage, writing in a journal, listening to uplifting podcasts or music, and consciously engaging in affirming self-talk are all excellent methods of self-soothing. We first need to identify which techniques work for us, and then make a commitment to give ourselves the loving attention we need, in the same way we would make time to comfort a frightened child.