Last weekend, I went to get a manicure. The nail salon was busy, and I was sitting beside someone who was trying to decide on the two colours that she wanted for her manicure. This salon has hundreds of colour choices with all kind of samples for you to browse through. There were four of us in a row trying to look through each of the samples, and after a couple of minutes, the manicurists all came over to get started. This is when the person beside me started to break down. She was shaking and hyperventilating. The interesting thing is that even in this state of stress, she knew exactly what was causing her to panic: she hadn't decided on her colours yet and was feeling the pressure to do so quickly.
She mentioned that the last time that she came, she had to select the colours with one hand as the manicurist started on the other one. It was too much pressure for her. But she also realized that the salon was packed, and if it took her too long, the other clients would be kept waiting. This added to her stress level. She explained that she wanted a "pink colour," so I looked through the samples that I had in my hand and quietly put them down in front of her. While she seemed to appreciate this, it was clear that she was still feeling stressed.
The most interesting thing to watch though was the woman on the other side of her. These two did not know each other, but this woman was a Co-Reg natural. She calmly went through the samples with the person beside her. She spoke in a really quiet voice, acknowledged this other woman's stress, and genuinely commented on the beautiful colour combinations that they picked out together. She didn't rush the other woman. She kept looking at her in the eye, talking quietly with her, and soothing her while they finalized colour choices.
Could a little fairy magic have made a difference?
By the time that the manicurist started on my nails, this woman was feeling so much better, enjoying the start of her manicure, and happy with her colour selection. Less than 10 minutes before, she was ready to walk out of the salon, likely while breathing erratically and in tears. Co-regulation doesn't need to take long. It doesn't follow a script. But it does seem to rely on genuine connections with others, even if those connections are new ones. For both adults and kids, co-regulation can change trajectories. I saw this in action last Sunday, and I'm grateful that I could even watch and listen into this co-regulation experience. What are your co-regulation experiences? How did they change things for you and/or for someone else? Never did I think that a trip to the nail salon would result in so much thinking and learning well beyond nail care.