We all know about the benefits of getting out of our comfort zones, feeling our uncomfortable feelings, and bravely initiating those difficult conversations. Given our bias toward the negative and our awareness that growth sometimes means getting uncomfortable, it’s easy to neglect the things that support us.
Resourcing and resource development are terms often used in trauma treatment. A resource is anything that supports you in adjusting and responding to life while maintaining your sense of self. Resources can be internal or external. Trauma is what happens when we don’t have enough resources to process and integrate what is happening. The more resources we have developed, the more capacity we have to respond and adjust to our internal and external worlds. Slowing down to recognize and develop resources can make it much easier, and hopefully even fun sometimes, to face the challenging parts of yourself and your relationships.
How might you strengthen the sense of support you feel in life by attending to your resources? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
What is your partner already doing that brings you comfort?
Just like you’re already using resources internally to self-soothe, there are probably lots of ways you and your partner are already helping each other to feel resourced. This could be a fun conversation to have. What little things does your partner do automatically that you find reassuring? Maybe you would like to know what habits you have that make the world feel like a safer place to your partner. You may even find that during this conversation, you can pay attention to your partner’s facial expressions or other verbal or nonverbal signals and discover new resourcing cues.
You can also take this opportunity to get curious about yourself and about your partner. How can you become experts on each other so you can mutually respond from a place of attunement and knowing. Taking the opportunity to speak up for yourself and directly ask for comfort and security being specific on what will provide you with that. Curiosity and using your voice are two very powerful tools in an uncertain world.
How are you already using your body to self-soothe?
The body provides clues to resources you are already using. Other people’s observations of your body language can be helpful. I was recently talking with a friend who noticed that I kept touching my hair in a particular way while I talked about something difficult. Touching my hair is a soothing resource for me. Next time you are talking with your partner or a friend, you might ask them to pay attention to your body language and look for possible clues to how you are soothing yourself.
Next time you are in a conversation and you notice feeling stressed or irritated, pay attention to what your body is doing. Chances are, you’ll notice a tense area of your body or a movement or movement impulse that is a resource for you. Bringing awareness to these resources in our bodies can be empowering because they’re tools that are pretty much always accessible to us.
Do you give yourself permission to pack more than you need?
Recently, I was getting ready with my partner at the time to leave for a day trip to a state park. I had packed the essentials. I never go anywhere without snacks. When it’s warmer than 60 degrees outside, I always bring a swimsuit. But my partner seemed to have a different approach. He said something like “My intention is to bring things that will help us feel really comfortable.” I felt my body relax as I gave myself permission to change the way I was thinking. Instead of just worrying about survival needs, I started wondering what might feel good. It was lovely.
Sometimes life feels hard. Sometimes relationships feel hard. Most of us have lots of practice bravely putting on our game faces and going to challenging places within ourselves and our relationships. We all know what it’s like to endure and at times we find ourselves in cold, dark forests without our backpacks. Sometimes, though, we might benefit from giving ourselves and the people we love the permission to add some extra comfort items to our backpacks before venturing into the unknown.
Every moment that you spend learning what helps you to feel safe in the forest and putting it in your backpack is a buffer that builds your capacity to respond flexibly, consciously, and creatively to whatever life may bring your way. Resourcing is about developing safe places in our bodies and in our relationships that give us courage and support as we face the world.
If you are feeling uncertain, stressed and tapped out, we would love to become a resource for you at Align Counseling Center, PC! Please feel free to call or text us at 303-475-2757 or email at email@example.com.