Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 22

June 29, 2017

Meeting Your Unmet Needs

By Paula O’Sullivan

Needs

Photo courtesy of http://www.pexels.com

‘We’re only as needy, as our unmet needs’ –John Bowlby (Quote)

Identifying the difference between our needs and our wants, can be the beginning of a very beautiful friendship, with ourselves and others.

Most of us have some very basic common needs, including the need to be loved, accepted, respected, touched, seen, connected, and heard, to feel safe and to feel special.

What happens to us if these basic needs have not been met, either in our early childhood experiences or later on as life progresses?

Well, we’ll go looking to get them met. Everyone you meet, is trying to get their needs met, in some way, shape or form. Knowing this can help us to understand others better. But what about ourselves?

If we don’t know exactly what our needs are, then we might get addicted to something, or find ourselves repeatedly experiencing relationships or situations that cause us deeper pain, in an attempt to cover up our distress or unease. We’ll feel we need to have ‘something’ in our lives to compensate for the loss we feel inside, at not getting our needs met. This can also trigger a deep depression, disconnection and feelings of abandonment and un-worthiness.

And there’s no guarantee that even if you can identify your needs, that someone or something else will actually satisfy that for you. It’s a huge burden to put on someone to expect them to meet all your needs. And even with alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography etc. You’ll still feel the void after the bottle is empty, the high has subsided, the sex is over, the movies or pictures cease to stimulate you. You’ll have to constantly ‘Chase the Dragon, as they say, for your next high. And in between those highs, it can get very low indeed.

If you don’t find out what you really want, and learn to ask for it in a healthy way, you’ll end up attracting others who also share some similar unmet needs. Yes I know, you’re probably thinking, now wouldn’t that be nice, but I can tell you, it can get real dysfunctional!

What’s the difference between a need and a want then?

A ‘Need’ is something you feel you have to have (or you’ll die)

A ‘Want’ is something you would like to have (you won’t die if you don’t get it)

Psychologically, not feeling loved, can make us die a little inside. In some cases where babies weren’t touched or stroked in the early days, they actually died. Those that didn’t die, grew up pre- disposed to depression, anxiety, violence, addictions etc. and were averse to feeling love or being touched. (Psychology experts will tell you that if you didn’t bond with someone in childhood, that you won’t be able to bond with anyone later on, but you can change this, it wasn’t easy, but I did!) So in a way these things are needs for our healthy functioning, and for our soul too.

But what if, in all the searching, what if in all the wrong relationships, you still didn’t meet anyone who really loved you, cared for you, heard you etc.? What then?

Like I said, most people find ways to cope, to compensate, and that’s ok, we’re all doing the best we can to keep surviving, but if all this is causing you mental and emotional pain, I’d like to tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way.

We cannot change anything until we become aware of it. So we need to ask ourselves what do we want, and what do we need, for to create a healthy balance in our lives? And then we need to find the courage to begin asking for that.

More importantly though, because as I said you may not get what you ask for, is to learn how to meet some of your own needs.

No this isn’t an easy task, there’s no quick fix, it’s a process, which needs to be practiced and tested out over periods of time.

You may have to explore issues like your Self Esteem (part 7) or your Core Beliefs (part 13) or being Addicted (part 19) among others.

In my early childhood, I didn’t feel loved, accepted, respected, heard, touched, seen or connected. I had very low self- esteem and a general feeling of unworthiness. This affected my whole life up until I was 44! It affected my career choices and my relationships.

The need to be loved kept me tied to many mental, emotional and physically abusive situations. I survived them, but my soul suffered from all of this. I never found love in those relationships. I found sex, which I thought was love, but it wasn’t, and it certainly wasn’t a good enough reason for me to stay so long with those experiences, but hey, that’s what expecting others to meet your unmet needs can do for you.

When I was 44, I began an amazing journey into meeting my own needs, and that has changed everything for me.

It began with learning to actually LOVE MYSELF. That meant dealing with the negative Self Talk (part 5). It began with recognizing that I just wanted people to be nice to me, because I’m actually a nice person, and more importantly, I needed ME to be nice to ME!

Once this process started, I began to ask myself better questions.

  • If I loved myself, what would be different? How would I talk to myself if I loved myself? What kind of friends or relationships would I tolerate if I loved myself? (I’ve distanced myself from people who are just plain unaware, if they’re not honouring and respecting themselves, they are not going to be able to honour and respect me. If they are destroying themselves, they’re not going to be in a position to celebrate my blossoming, now are they?)
  • What way would I treat my body if I loved myself? (I stopped drinking alcohol, I chose my foods more carefully, I rest when I need to rest, I meditate and exercise daily) If no one wanted to listen to me, how could I get my voice or thoughts heard? (I started to journal, then blog, then that turned into a book, now I’ve several books in the making, there’s always someone out there who might be interested in what you’ve learnt)
  • How could I meet my own sexual needs in a safe way? (Ha, ha, use your imagination for that one!) How could I experience touch? (I got massages and Reiki and began to feel more comfortable with hugging, free hug anyone?)
  • How could I feel more connected? (Spiritual practices of meditation, mindfulness (part 6) and reading inspirational books, helped me see that I am already connected to everything, it was only my thoughts and feelings that made me think otherwise)
  • How could I feel seen? (I started making videos! I started to put myself out there to help people also)
  • How could I feel respected? (Once I started to respect myself, I found I attracted more people who did respect me, and could easily distance myself from those who don’t, what they think of me doesn’t matter, I know my worth now !)
  • How could I feel safe? (By not allowing my needs to override my wants and get me into potentially dangerous situations, which they did in the past!)

This began the most loving relationship I’ve ever had! I’m 100% there for me. I buy myself flowers and gifts. I don’t criticize myself anymore, I know I’m doing the best I can in any moment. I do review my performance at the end of each day, I do seek to improve myself as I deem necessary. I’m in the process of honouring my higher ideals. I love, accept and respect myself, enough to walk away from anyone or anything that is not honouring my higher ideals. This hasn’t been easy, because I’m human, and I keep getting tested, I’m not fully there yet, I’m not even sure there is a ‘there’ to get to, but hey I’m in a process ! I’ve identified my essential needs, and I’ve also divided some of those into wants. I’m not needy now. I won’t accept any old kind of relationship anymore. I might want intimacy, and companionship but I’m happy with myself, I don’t need it, there’s a difference, I can be more choosy now. There’s great freedom in that!

Part 23 – Divided Mind – Taming the Ego

Paula is an Author / Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Life Coach / Artist / Photographer, in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com

 

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Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 19

November 24, 2015

addicted

Addicted

By Paula O’Sullivan

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.” ― Edgar Allan Poe (Quote)

Whatever you may be addicted to, in order to be free, you’ll need to find out what your addiction appears to be giving you. We won’t give something up unless there is the promise of a better life waiting for us. Every behaviour has a payback, we get something out of it, or we wouldn’t do it. We are motivated in two basic ways: by the ‘Promise of Pleasure’ or the ‘Fear of Pain’.

When we are addicted to something, it can appear that this helps us to deal with our needs and desires, but usually it’s just a quick fix, a band aid solution. This is why people remain addicted for so long. The effects of the alcohol or drugs wear off and we are painfully aware of our reality once again, the adrenalin kick from gambling or sex wears off, and we have to re- experience it again to feel good, hopeful or less lonely. The stressful situations keep happening and we have to keep smoking to help us ‘cope’.

You think the addiction is helping you to cope, but it’s not really solving the issue for you, it’s actually creating more problems. Unless you focus on the benefits of quitting the addiction, and begin to imagine how good that will feel, and how your life and relationships will improve in so many ways, you will remain stuck.

Most of us find it difficult to imagine what we DO want.  Mostly we focus on what we DON’T want to happen. This is the fear of pain again, which stops us from moving forward.

When we’re addicted, we have given up our own power. We are saying to the thing or person ‘Save me, I am powerless without you’.

Most of us who are or have been addicted to something, have very deep emotional needs that weren’t or aren’t being met in a healthy way. This is not so easy to address, so we reach out for something to make it all better, but the pain is still there at the end of the bottle, cigarette, drug, gambling slip, one night stand or whatever. The story is and will remain the same, unless you decide now to change the ending.

Remember that no matter what has happened to you in your life, you still have a choice how to think about it. You can be a strong survivor, or a helpless victim of your circumstances. Most of us just want to feel loved, accepted, and respected. If we are expecting the world to meet our basic needs, we may be disappointed. This creates havoc within us, we feel we aren’t good enough, and we become our own destroyers. We have to find a way to love, accept and respect ourselves first and to discover our own power, regardless of others, then we can be free.  Check my blog for articles that help with this.

Part 20 – It’s A Generational Thing

Paula is an Author / Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist / Photographer, in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com


Tips & Techniques for Quitting Smoking

October 19, 2015

By Paula O’Sullivan (RC Hyp, Dip Hyp)

quit smoking

So you’ve decided to quit smoking? Maybe this is your first real attempt to quit, or maybe you’ve tried everything you can think of and haven’t succeeded so far.

Well I’d like to share a few things that might help you to succeed once and for all. Remember we only fail when we stop trying. Although ‘Yoda’ from ‘Star Wars’ tells us, to ‘do or do not, there is no try’. In a way trying actually gives us an excuse to fail. ‘Look I’ve tried everything and it hasn’t worked, I’m never going to quit etc’… well it doesn’t have to be that way.

Begin with being very honest with yourself, yes yourself! Forget about what everyone else in your life wants or thinks about you smoking. Do YOU really want to quit, for your OWN personal reasons? On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being very committed, where are you? If you are under a 6, you just haven’t put enough focus on this issue, let’s see if I can help you change that. If you want to that is!

Get a sheet of paper, it’s time to make a plan.

First, in order to change anything in your life, you need to know what the habit of smoking actually gives you. Every behaviour has some form of payback, otherwise you wouldn’t do it. We are primarily motivated in two ways, by the promise of pleasure or the fear of pain. Your promise of pleasure mostly wins out, although the fear of the pain of something can also be a strong motivator which could stop you from even trying to quit.

Ok so you have a piece of paper? Draw a line dividing the page in half. On the left side, write the title: Reasons why I smoke. And on the right hand side of the page, write the title: Benefits from quitting. Now list all those things, reasons may be relaxation, dealing with stress, etc. Benefits may include better health, more money, etc

Be very honest with yourself. Money will not be a benefit, if you are already financially well off, unless you decide on something to spend that extra money on.

Your list will look something like this:

Reasons why I smoke

 

  1. Relaxation
  2. Dealing with stress
  3. Clears my mind and helps me think clearly
  4. Social inclusion etc.

Benefits from quitting

 

  1. Better health, I will feel fitter
  2. More money
  3. Clothes smell cleaner
  4. Feel empowered and a sense of achievement
  5. Food tastes nicer
  6. More energy
  7. Better relationships etc.

Now you have an idea of what smoking is giving you, and what would be the benefits of quitting.

Let’s see if we can balance some of the reasons, with some techniques. Ok if you have reasons like, 1,2 & 3 above, think about this. What are you actually doing when you smoke?

You are breathing in very slowly and deeply, and you are breathing out very slowly and deeply.

When we are ‘stressed out’ or need to relax, it is because we have triggered the ‘Stress Response’ in our body. If you think of it like this: Your body and mind is like a very busy building site with lots of workers rushing around doing many jobs. When you are stressed, a signal travels up to the brain area and puts these workers on high alert.

Oxygen gets pumped immediately from your brain down into your heart and lungs, so that you can’t think clearly, it puts you into survival mode. Cortisol and adrenalin gets pumped in excess. This all allows you to have the strength to fight or flee from whatever is distressing you. Ha! But most of us can’t fight or run away. So we grab an oul smoke to help us, but what are we really doing? We are breathing! Why? Because the only way to reverse the stress response is to breathe deeply!

Now that you know that, here is a breathing technique, which, if you really want to quit, will give you everything that, reasons for smoking 1,2 & 3 gave you, except the chemicals !

Breathing Technique:

Find a quiet place initially, where you won’t be disturbed, lock yourself in the loo if you have too!

Close your eyes, uncross your arms and legs. Now breathe in very slowly and deeply. To help you with this, imagine that the breath is travelling up from your fingertips, all the way up your arms, to your head and chest on the in breath, and out and down through your body, down through your legs, feet and toes on the out breath. Do this slowly at least 5 times.

Now doing this sends the signal to all those hard workers in your body to go take a tea break! They can relax and do what they normally do!

You will now feel calmer and more relaxed and your mind will be clearer. But wait, we’re not done yet. We still have to deal with your thoughts. It is your thoughts and beliefs about things that are keeping you stuck in the habit of smoking. A belief is a thought you keep thinking over and over.

Every time you think a thought it strengthens a neural pathway in the brain, this becomes a belief, which then forms a habit, and will then affect how you behave. This will in time become your unquestioning automatic response to things in life.

How do we change this? Use the breathing technique on a regular daily basis, for example every morning and evening and during the day, when stuck in traffic, a queue, or when being challenged by life, then you’ll have enough oxygen to be able to reason this out more effectively.

Then remember this: There are TWO ways of thinking about things.

The Worst Way: Focuses on all that is going wrong or may go wrong, you play movies in your mind about not being able to cope with quitting, you feel all the dreadful feelings of failure etc. You can’t see yourself doing it. In the battle between imagination and reality, imagination will always win, so as long as your focus is on the pain or the fear, then that is all you will see and experience.

The Best Way: Focuses on all that could go right, you play movies in your mind about all the ways quitting smoking can benefit you. You see yourself using the breathing technique, you see yourself choosing a different way to think. You imagine how wonderful it is to be finally free of this habit. You see and feel the excitement, the empowerment of achieving something in your life. You use your imagination to focus on the pleasure of being free of smoking. In your mind you play out your daily routines and plan what will be different now that you are a non- smoker.

Now you have two things to try, a breathing technique and the choice of how to think about this, but there is one more thing that will help you. The mind movies that you play in your mind and the feelings they conjure up, will either keep you stuck or will help to liberate you.

Remember a RUT is only a Record of Unhelpful Thoughts. Stay out of a RUT, by choosing the best way of thinking. Talk back to any thoughts that tell you to give in.

Use a journey statement to help you, one like:

‘As I become and stay a non-smoker, my life improves in many ways,’ or write your own one that resonates with you.

As you change your thoughts, you will change how you feel. Don’t believe me? Close your eyes, think of something sad, go on bring it all up. Open your eyes, feel really good do you? No? Ok close your eyes again, think of something that made you happy, go on bring it all up, that lovely feeling in your chest, or tummy. Open your eyes, feel really good do you?

Now here’s a little visualization exercise for you. Find a quiet time when you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly, so that you can think clearly.

Mind Movie

Use your imagination to imagine that you are walking into your own private movie theater.

You are perfectly safe in here and you choose a seat. You look up at the screen and see a scene from your life on pause. Think about how you DO want to be in this scene. Not how you ‘don’t want to be’ (that’s the worst way of thinking!) Now think about how you want to be as a non-smoker. What will you be wearing, what will you look like, what will you feel like? See, hear, feel, and imagine your life as a non-smoker. How wonderful does it feel to have achieved this? Imagine yourself doing all you can to make sure that you remain a non-smoker. What kind of things are you telling yourself? What kind of scenes are you imagining for yourself?

Press play and let the movie unfold as you would want it to be, take your time with this. Now press pause, re think what you could improve on, then rewind it back very fast and press play, imagining any changes you want to make, take your time. Press pause, review if there is anything you can improve on, then play again and so on, do this at least three times or more, regularly. It is no different to what we already do, except that we usually play disaster movies instead.

If you can see yourself doing it, then you are already halfway there. The next thing you do when you have a clear idea of what you want your experience to be like, is to put into action all the techniques that feel right for you.

Now finally plan out your first week as a non-smoker. Get rid of the spare cigarettes, roll ups, cigars etc. Yes even the little glass box on the wall, with the break in case of emergency! If you decide to do this right there won’t be a need for it!

Break the habit easily by slightly changing your routine. If you have a smoke with a cuppa in a certain cup every morning, change the cup for the first week, so that you break the habit association with the thing you smoke. Ever hear a song, or smell a scent that brings back a memory? Well it might be the same with letting go of smoking. Be prepared. If you smoke before you shower, change the routine and shower first, then do something else where the smoke would be, read, or go for a walk, or use the breathing techniques etc. Plan out your day and be prepared.

  1. Use your breathing technique.
  2. Challenge your thoughts and change your focus to what you Do want.
  3. Play your Mind Movie in your imagination.

If you want it badly enough, you’ll make it happen, if not, you’ll just make an excuse. The choice is yours!

Paula O’ Sullivan is an Author / Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist & Photographer, based in Blessington, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Her website is http://www.i-want-a-better-life.ie


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