I’ve never quite gotten the hang of comforting myself. It’s not for lack of trying. Not for lack of practice.
It’s strange, really, since I’ve been a comforting person to so many people. I’ve been the one dropping everything to help a lover work through an issue. The one you could literally wake up in the middle of the night and talk to about your nightmares.
Long ago and far away, I did it a little too indiscriminately. In those days, I was always available for people I hardly knew. Those that didn’t make time for me.
I just had a hard time bearing the fact that people suffered. I wanted to help.
It was noble. But over time, I discovered that sometimes people felt entitled to that help. And if I didn’t find ways to qualify who I let in that close that there were even times I would end up actively mistreated.
It wasn’t easy, achieving this balance, but these days my inner ring is a lot smaller. But I’ll drop everything for this teeny tiny inner ring.
I Know How to Comfort Myself. But I Wish I Didn’t Have to.
Despite all of that, I’ve never had that kind of person in my life. I’ve had friends and lovers who were generally supportive, that’s for sure. But I’ve invariably also had friends and lovers who would lash out if I even asked for support at the wrong time. Even if I generally provided them as much or more support.
And there have been times when I’ve really needed to be comforted but had no one available. So I learned to turn inward, to find that solace in myself.
Sometimes that’s telling myself that it’s going to be okay. Or looking for an upside.
Other times it’s accepting that it won’t be okay. And trying to assess the damage with a clear head, instead of panicking and catastrophizing.
And a lot of times, I comfort myself by writing something for my readership. Because when I’m really down, the only thing that seems to help is the idea that I can help other people somehow. Even if they don’t always appreciate the effort. Even if the day’s writing hits them wrong, and I get some pushback.
The fact that I tried to help is a form of comfort to me, no matter the result of the attempt.
Anyway, I’ve learned how to comfort myself. But I’ll be honest — there are times I wish I didn’t have to.