I once read that one of the best qualities you can bring to a relationship is the ability to self-soothe. In other words, you maintain your own emotional equilibrium even if your partner is bouncing off the walls. When you are calm, you can be of service to your partner by being fully present with what is going on for them.
In reading Stan Tatkin’s book Wired for Dating I came across what could be considered the second part of this concept. He talks in terms of being helpful in soothing your partner. So, how can we do that?
Tatkin suggests sitting down with your partner, perhaps after a busy day at work, and experimenting with calming actions. Some of the things you might consider would be:
1. Holding your partner’s hand
2. Patting/touching your partner’s shoulder
3. Listening with full attention – and looking into their eyes
4. Lowering your own voice
5. Limiting your opinions
6. Asking if your partner wants a hug
7. Asking if your partner wants your help in solving their problem (not jumping in with solutions of your own first)
Of course, one of the least likely techniques for soothing your partner is to tell them to “calm down!”
What do you think would be calming to your partner? By trying out what you believe may be calming, you have an excellent chance to find out if you’re right! Ask them for their honest feedback to see how you’re doing. And of course, you then have the chance to switch roles. You may even surprise yourself when you discover what is soothing to you.