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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Is it time to Get Focused on Losing Weight?

June 29, 2012

Do do do do, do do do do….. Picture yourself in the ‘Light Weight Zone’

Can you see your future slimmer self in your minds eye? What are you wearing? How do you feel? How do you walk? How do you talk? What do you look like? If you can begin this journey with a positive picture in your mind that makes you feel good when you think of it, you’re already half way there!

So let’s get this picture established in our minds. How do you want to be? How do you want to feel? What do you want to look like?

Have you got that in your mind? Good… now we’re on a roll. Can you believe that it is possible to achieve that? Feeling a bit unsure huh? Does it seem a bit unreachable? It can seem that way, especially if you’ve got more than a few pounds to lose? Ok how about we focus on the first 14lbs in weight to begin with, small steps. A marathon runner sets off towards the finish line, and helps to keep themselves motivated by focusing on the next lamppost, when they reach that, they go on to the next, and the next until they reach the finish line.

So now what? Well assuming you now know what you want, and believe that you can achieve it, and have set your first goal i.e. to lose the first 14lbs in weight, you’ll need to do something… take some action…. nothing happens without action.

A good place to begin is by being honest with yourself. Get a notebook and pen ready, a weighing scales would be handy too. Now get ready…. weigh in (preferably without clothes and before you have a shower, both add pounds to the scales, which you’ll have to calculate and subtract…, keep it simple!)….. write it down….now you’ve got your starting line……… write down your target weigh loss…… now you’ve got your finish line…… in your notebook for the first week…. If you eat or drink something write it down….. if you exercise…. write it down….. at the end of the week…..  You’ll see clearly what you are eating, how much you are exercising and how much you weigh. Ouch….. the truth hurts sometimes….. Now’s your opportunity to see that you have control over your mind and body, this is where you get to choose….This is the exciting bit. The second week…. Have a look at last weeks list and see where you can change something……if you ate 2 chocolate bars a day last week, you might try 1 a day this week…. If you had only one walk last week you might try to have two or three this week….. at the end of the second week…. Weigh in again…… and you will see that by making a few small changes in the week you have suddenly lost weight…… now you feel excited…… now you see that you are indeed in control…. And you can tailor this to lose more….. It’s all about balance really…. If we keep filling our car up with fuel and don’t drive it…. The fuel pours out…. Messy…. Our bodies are the same……if we keep eating and don’t exercise…. We gain weight…. By keeping a record of what you are doing…. This will help you to stay accountable to yourself…. And will show you where you can make healthy choices.

Now sometimes the initial excitement  may wear off and you may notice that it takes a little bit of work to keep going forward with this…. and you may start thinking the kind of thoughts like……. oh I’ll just have that extra slice of cake, sure I deserve it, haven’t I been very good…..and it may be easy for you to give yourself permission to do this, and then you may have another slice and so on until you’re back where you began, or worse……. The reason this can happen is that we have neural pathways in our brains…. And every time we think a thought…. It strengthens those pathways…. And these form beliefs and habits which affect our behavior….. and if you’re over weight due to unhealthy eating and exercise patterns…. these pathways are already strengthened…. And it would be very easy to slip back into the old habits….. these kind of permission giving thoughts…. bring us into a RUT…and a RUT… is only a record of unhelpful thoughts…. and the way out of a rut is to have helpful thoughts……. now helpful thoughts are the types of thoughts that remind us that we have a choice to say no, or we can  imagine that  every time we get tempted to go off our plan,  the voice in our minds that say, go on you deserve it, sounds like Elmer Fudd or  Bugs Bunny or someone that you would never take seriously…. Yes laugh at it…tell it to talk to the hand…. whatever works for you…

And this would be a good time to use some affirmations…. and form some new neural pathways….. affirmations are short sentences… for example ‘I am in the process of losing weight and I’m enjoying it’, ‘I lose weight, easily and effortlessly’,  ‘Every step I take brings me nearer my goal’, if you just rattle them off they won’t work, the way affirmations work is if you can evoke some kind of positive emotion and feeling with them, really get into it, get a clear picture into your mind of what you want to achieve, for the less visually orientated it helps to have a photo or a picture from a clothes catalogue nearby, to help reinforce your goal,  you’ve got your picture, you’ve got the words, now make it feel real, don’t think that it is difficult, we have already done this by telling ourselves this for far too long, that it’s impossible to lose weight, you’ve been hypnotising yourself all along and didn’t even know it… It’s time that you got your mind working for you for a change…. So play act in your mind…. This is what it’s like…

You have decided how much you want to lose…. You believe you can achieve it, if you break it down into small steps and stages….. you’ve set you’re goal for the first 14lbs within a reasonable amount of time…… you’ve taken that outfit that you want to wear out of hiding or perhaps you bought a new one, and it’s hanging in a prominent place in the wardrobe…. You have a clear picture in your mind of what you want to look and feel like…. You are constantly telling yourself that you are in the process of getting slimmer… and you’re choosing to believe it…you’re talking back to any thoughts that tell you otherwise…. And you haven’t ended up in a straight jacket….. life is good…..now your subconscious mind is working for you….. it’s helping your goal to become a reality….. you find it so easy to keep on track with this….

Doing all the things you need to do… keeping yourself accountable… regulating your own foods… cutting down but not necessarily cutting out and you’ll keep remembering that bigger snacks mean bigger slacks!

Life is fair…. Life is fun….. you enjoy the moments when you are eating so much more now…. becoming mindful of the tastes, savouring, enjoying…. Not allowing any distractions … being fully present with your meals….. and knowing how much more you will enjoy the next one…. Without ruining it by snacking in between…… and you can see yourself stepping on the scales weekly and even if you’ve only lost 1lb…. knowing that you are now 1lb nearer to your goal….. and it feels great … Choosing your own exercise……you are finding ways to get exercise into your weekly routine, and even if it only means parking a few car spaces away from where you want to go, you know that those steps will all add up at the end of the week and will make a difference on the scales…..

And now all you’ve got to do is GET FOCUSED and make it happen! Best of luck!


Choose your Illusion

June 29, 2012

Life can seem so complicated at times, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you ask yourself a few of these simple questions regularly, things will get easier.

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When you are considering making a decision, or taking action of some kind or even when just thinking about someone. Ask yourself:

What would LOVE do now?

Am I choosing LOVE or FEAR?

Is this for The Highest Greater Good of All?

Choices become easy.

For me anyway, this life is just one big illusion, and we don’t have to be ill, we don’t have to be unhappy, we don’t have to be miserable, and you can buy into all the schools of thought that tell you different, and you can become and remain helpless, a victim if you wish, and I do know what I’m talking about, because I went to that school and graduated with flying colours (Or did I?)

But having spent the best part of my life so far in that unhappy illusion, I’ve come to see it, just for what it is, a big fat lie!

And you can choose to stay in your illusion, and I can choose to stay in mine, and I know I cannot save anyone, and I do not wish to try, I am merely sharing information with you, what you do with it is entirely up to you. You and you alone, have the same choice that I did, to take some information and work with it and see what happens. It’s a choice to be miserable, or a choice to be happy. It’s that simple.

There are no limits my friend, no limits! The bars on our cages are the ones we put there ourselves, albeit unconsciously. Every ‘Must’, ‘Should’, ‘Have to’, or ‘Can’t’, that we adhere to, enslaves us even more.

And you can remain in the Fearful Illusion, seeing and feeling your separateness, your disconnection, your aloneness, your anger, your frustration, your doubts, your discontent, your darkness, your despair, with your special conditions, your attachments and expectations, your external control, or you can choose in this moment, that enough is enough, and you can choose to step into the light my friend, you can choose to step into the illusion of ‘Love’.

No nothing will change in the world around you immediately. So if you’re coming from there to here, you’ll probably be asking yourself, ‘Why should I bother, what’s in it for me, what’s the payback?’

Well I’m glad you asked…. where should I begin? Oh yes the illusion of ‘Love’ always begins with yourself. That means loving yourself completely, accepting who you are now and moving forward, choosing to think loving thoughts of yourself, being kind to yourself. No it doesn’t mean elevating yourself onto a pedestal, your ego would have fun with that, over time you would begin to think you are better than others, this doesn’t work, no more than putting others on pedestals will either, that’s a lose, lose situation, no….  you stay on the ground, but make enough equal space for yourself on the level, then you will never feel superior or inferior ever again, great for your self esteem! And once you love yourself, you will like yourself, your own company, you will no longer feel lonely, perhaps alone at times but not lonely, not desperate to fill the empty spaces just for the sake of it, no, your alone time will become special something precious.

When you begin to master loving yourself, you will see your world with new eyes. Now that you aren’t judging and criticizing or doing anything to hurt yourself, that includes dealing with your anger, your fears, your mistrust, your insecurities, you will feel more loving towards others. You don’t need to put others down, to build yourself up, you don’t need to own or control anyone, you see that there is nothing to lose, you free yourself of the things that previously you clung to in fear, and you let them go easily, knowing that what is for you, will come to you, in it’s own time.

New people come into your life to uplift and support you, to build you up, now that you are a loving person; you attract more loving people and situations. You see that it’s not all about getting, and now you see what you can give in any situation, no longer being concerned about giving too much, but remaining mindful that in all things a balance must be reached, and checking in with emotions, of how you feel, will always indicate to you if it’s time to check that while you are being useful, you won’t be used. No longer a doormat, you have a new found respect for yourself and your time and efforts. Evaluating each situation and personal encounter differently and no longer generalizing that ‘They are all the same’. You start to feel really good about yourself.

You find yourself in the light, and your heart fills with joy and you see things for what they really are, just illusions, one feels good, one doesn’t, and you get to choose which one you want to experience. Fear or Love? Despair or Hope? Separateness or being connected? Frustrated or Satisfied?  Sadness or Joy? Miserable or Happy? Illness or Health? It all becomes and empowering choice…. What do you choose?


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