Sharing the Load: A Little Connection Goes a Long Way

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Have you ever noticed how two people working together can accomplish more than the same two people working independently? This is synergy: The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Recently I repainted several rooms in my house.  It seemed like it took me forever to paint the kitchen and family room.  I bribed myself with Bob James CDs and Hank Smith podcasts.  They helped, but not as much as when my son joined me.  The laundry room seemed to paint itself as well as the bathrooms.

The same is true with sharing emotions.  When something good happens, I naturally want to share the joy with someone. When something devastating happens, I want someone to help me make sense of it and how I feel.

Babies learn this as we sooth–connect–with them them when they are upset.  As we rock them, speak and sing softly to them, gently smile at them, they realize that we “can help make difficult feelings acceptable and manageable.” Over time they associate these activities and us with being comforted, and will turned to us when they are distressed.

Eventually they will learn how to self-sooth.

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