I’m Not Needy – I Just Have Needs

This is a re-blog of a post that is a handy reference on human needs – and how important they are to ensure that we get them met. As we continue through these difficult times, more and more stress and distress will impact us all. May we all get our needs met and Find our Middle Ground.


Every human being has needs. It is part of the human condition. We were born with them and will go through most of our lives trying to get them met. When our needs are met we can fully access our humanity. Bringing compassion and kindness to ourselves and others.

Over the years as a life coach, I took several courses in Non Violent Communication. In NVC, needs are acknowledged and embraced. There is a vulnerable beauty behind our needs. The essence of who we are as human beings.

There are three groups of core needs that once we identify, we can honor: WELL BEING – SELF EXPRESSION – CONNECTION. Needs get a bad wrap…. but they shouldn’t. The more we recognize them, the more we can evolve and grow as human beings.

We often aren’t aware of our own needs, and it can be a powerful self-discovery to identify the ones that are most important to each of us. The needs below are grouped into the three categories. Pause for a moment and identify what needs resonate with you personally:

man deep relaxed breathing

WELL BEING
Health and Sustenance
Thriving
Vitality
Safety and Security
Stability
Rest
Peace
Acceptance
Gratitude
Balance
Celebration of life

joyful girl

SELF EXPRESSION
Autonomy/Freedom
Authenticity
Inspiration
Passion
Meaning
Contribution
Learning
Growth
Skill/Mastery
Self actualization

Loving Connection

CONNECTION
Love/caring
Compassion
Empathy/Understanding
Communication
Respect
Acceptance
Recognition
Community
Belonging
Relationship
Trust

Here is a self inquiry exercise to explore your needs more. Take a moment and ask yourself:

What am I grateful for?

Then

What needs are being met when I feel grateful?

Now think of a time when you were upset, possibly at work or with a family member…

Then

What needs were not being met?

In all likelihood it would be about recognition, respect and a sense of belonging.

Needs drive us and are essential for our well being. When our needs are being met it opens the door to be in connection with ourselves and with others.

We come to see there is no need to judge ourselves or others any more.

We are more able to center ourselves in our Middle Ground and handle the the highs and lows of life.

Namaste

Inflicting Pain and Forgiveness

This is a repost for all those struggling with pain and forgiveness. When the pain eases we can see more clearly. 
pain

If I were to ask you “Do you go around inflicting pain on to others?”

Most of you would answer with a vehement NO!

That’s because the idea of being a mean person or a bully is simply not acceptable to us. We cannot see ourselves in contradiction to our beliefs and values. Its our protective ego that cannot face the possibility. It holds on strong to its belief about how we appear in the world… and what is acceptable to ourselves.

Yet, when we take time to pause and reflect, most of us do unintentionally inflict pain on others.
Consider if you have done any of these:

Not seen someone who wants to be acknowledged.
Forgetting to call.
Making judgments.
Withholding.
Getting distracted.
Being late.
Withdrawing.
Holding on to resentment.
Sticking to a particular way of doing things.
Stonewalling.
Acting out in anger.
Holding on to your beliefs.

All of these actions can cause pain for others.

We may tell ourselves its not our fault or we are protecting ourselves. After all, it may not be our intention to cause pain. However, the outcome is, that we do.

In the same way, we feel pain when others act in this way towards us.

How many times have you felt hurt by someone because of one or more of the above actions?

It is the nature of human beings to be egocentric and self protective. And when we are, we are capable of inflicting pain on others. We are all imperfectly human – no matter how hard we try to be perfectly in control.

When we accept this, we can begin to forgive ourselves and others. This is a huge step on life’s journey to finding real peace of mind.

Follow this link to a Forgiveness Meditation which will guide you towards forgiveness and peace.

After all, we are only human. Despite our failings we are also filled with love … and a capacity to forgive.

 

Be Peace

“Be peace. Don’t just talk about it.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Take a moment to consider if you are you getting annoyed and frustrated about the lack of peace in the world.
And then come back to these simple and powerful words from Which That Hanh

Peace begins with our selves.

Make peace with yourself by giving yourself permission to rest.
Be compassionate towards your own human imperfections and judgments.
Forgive yourself. This is an act of peace.
Find your Middle Ground and connect to the inner goodness within you.

Help an other person to find peace. Encourage them to rest.
Show kindness towards them. Forgive them.
Nurture peace in your children and loved ones.
Work for peace.

Become gentle.
Be tender.
Be peace.

 

Refection – Being Strong

strong woman

I have become a Strong Independent Person. Its something that others admire. I also admire in others… and in myself.
This knowledge assures me, and it feeds this part of me. We have become quite attached to each other, SIP and I.

As long as I embrace this persona, and default to it in times of difficulty, then I find it hard to be vulnerable and dependent on others.
The dependent part of me I still judge as “weak”. I am also too ready to judge others who appear dependent and “weak”.

We all have a shadow side, which can be masquerading as our “good side”.

The ego is like that. It creates a story about what we want to admire in ourselves, and therefore what we see in others.

Yet, when the ego is in charge, it blocks off the heart and our ability to empathize and be truly compassionate.

My heart tells me to not be so strong. To allow myself to open more to others and trust in them and their goodness. To let go of trying to control with strength and will. To open to the inevitable.

May we all find acceptance of the shadow and the light within us, and find inner harmony.

* Come to Our Senses

 

senses

Image from Google

“Hands grasp, but also give.

Mouth tastes, but also speaks.

Nose breathes, but also smells.

Eyes see, but also show.

Ears hear, but also balance.”

All parts of ourselves both give and receive. They function on the principle of reciprocity inherent in their very character.

If our senses are so noble, shouldn’t we be as well?

~ Deng Ming-Dao Daily Meditations

This did make me stop and think today.

Its time for us to come to our noble senses!

So much of life has become about grasping and holding on – to material things, relationships, thoughts and beliefs. In order to find a natural state of balance we must learn to let go.

This is not an easy thing to do. It takes practice to notice what we are attached to. It is also a practice to be with these observations of ourselves, and notice the thoughts that come up.

The ego-mind will reject the scrutiny, as it feels threatened to give up control. So as you pause in self inquiry, expect it to resist and find a “reasonable” way to hold on even more. Notice how clever the mind can be in distracting you from looking inwards.

May we all come to our senses and realize that reciprocity is not only noble but vital for the survival of us all.

Namaste

* Ego is Like a Block of Ice

melting ice cube

So many of us hate our ego, our inner critic and judge. We want to get rid of it so we can evolve into more spiritual beings.
This inner violence (yes it is!) only reinforces the ego’s survival instincts. It will find an other way and grow stronger faced with adversity…. and the battle continues.

Does it really have to be like this? Here is an other approach that is cool and refreshing 💙

“Think of ego as a great block of ice.

When you slug ego, you play by its hurtful and pain-inducing rules. You bruise your knuckles and grow angrier each time you slug it.

But when you hug ice, it has no choice: it must gradually disappear.

Not immediately, no; but if you persist, it will melt, will it not?

This is precisely how it works to rid yourself of ego.

Hug it and it melts away.

And what remains is the oceanic freedom that is the pinnacle of human existence—the freedom to live, to love, and to be loved.

At a personal level it is pure self-love and joy; at a collective level it is a peace that can save our beloved planet and grace all the peoples of the world.”*

Dr David Mutchler

I have read many different approaches to dealing with ego on our spiritual journey. This is one that really resonates because it comes from the heart and not just the intellect.

How easy it is to forget that ego likes to hide in our mind and our thinking …

Namaste

*Taken from https://evolutionarymystic.wordpress.com/hug-ego-dont-slug-it/

If this perspective fascinates you, and you want to explore more deeply,  I would highly recommend checking out the amazing resources at David Mutchler’s WordPress blog Evolutionary Mystic.

* Ego 101

People around me are starting to ask questions about ego, what it means and how it has an impact on our spiritual journey. I was inspired to go ahead and publish my own insights , following  Trini’s post this morning asking What is Ego?. Lets get the conversation going on this big and edgy topic.

EGO

Here goes:
The term “ego” can be confusing as it has come to have different meanings. In every day conversations it is often associated with people who have grandiose ideas. When we see someone “getting too big for his boots” we tend to think that this is what ego is about. Our ego is far more than this and is very complex.
Its no wonder it can be hard to “get” it.

First of all, we all have one. The ego is our thinking mind and beliefs, as well as our image of ourselves. Ego can sometimes be referred to as “self hood” or “persona”. If you find you have a negative reaction to the word “ego” itself, then choose an other one.

These musings are from an non expert perspective, and come from my personal experience and readings from psychology, yoga and spirituality.

I call it Ego 101 and not Ego Ph.D so please take in the spirit it is intended – to enlighten and uphold the journey that we are all on to awaken to and connect to something more than our individual self.

newborn baby

When we are born, we don’t have any knowledge or consciousness of our own self as an individual human being.  We are innocent and completely vulnerable in this world.

As babies we become aware of  ourselves as a reflection of our interactions with our mother and then others. Our ego identity is born. But this identity is a reflected one. It is not our real being. We do not yet know who we truly are; we know what others think about us.

baby in mirror

As we interact more in the world, we form our beliefs and thinking about ourselves, others and the world around us. We must have this to survive. At its core is an intelligence that responds to external circumstances. We learn what hurts and what feels good, and we adapt our behavior to fit in to the world around us.

As we grow up, the more interactions and reflections we experience, the more complex our ego becomes…. and the more we believe it to be the truth about who we are.

Our ego is an accumulated phenomenon, a by-product of living with others. As human beings we have to have an ego to survive in the world. Our ego is not our enemy, its keeps us alive.

Awakening

“Awakening” or “self realization” is when we wake up to a  sense that there is something more than our individual self. That we are all somehow connected and that we are part of an expanding consciousness, spirit or universal presence.

This is when many of us find ourselves drawn to spirituality and become seekers of the truth beyond our ego and separate self. We want to connect to the essence of who we are and embrace a new way of being in the world. This way is one of interconnectivity, compassion and loving kindness. 

I believe that we have to have a strong ego in order to get to know  the truth. We cannot know the higher Self without embracing this functional part of our mind or smaller self.

First we have to know that which is not true. We have to see the untrue nature of our ego. Some refer to it as our false self vs. our true self. At this stage we are likely to reject this ego part of ourselves and judge it as “bad”. However, it is our own thinking that is creating judgments. Our ego isn’t good or bad, it just IS.

woman looking sat self

When we are ready we begin to explore this ego part of ourselves. What do I believe is “me”?  What is “mine”? What are my needs? What image of myself do I cling to? What aspects of my self do I reject? “Who am I really”?

We can only grow beyond our ego when we accept it and love it for what it is, rather than reject it and try to overcome it and push it away. As Trini says, imagine your soul is the parent and the ego, its child.

The more we judge our ego and reject it, the more it is threatened … the more we persist in not recognizing it, the more it resists. And we create an inner battle of our own making. When we try to deny it, it will raise itself to be seen in a new way…. And it may take us a while to realize that what we thought was the Truth is actually an other image of ourselves and set of beliefs that our brilliant ego has created for our survival.

The journey is from one of “being separate” to one of “interconnectivity”.

From one of  “me” to one of “we”.

From one of “small self” to one of ” higher Self”.

From one of “judgment” to one of “acceptance”.

From one of “thinking” to one of “knowing”.

From one of “fear” to one of “love”.

I have more to share about ego and its part in our spiritual journey. Looking forward to having conversations here and over the blogosphere. 🙂

Namaste

 

* Dealing with Stress and my Inner Teenager

waves of lifeOn Tuesday I had a stressful day. A dip in the highs and lows of life day. It wasn’t surprising. I had some concerning news that took the wind out of my sails, and I developed a pressure cooker of a sinus headache. I was in a trough. I know how my mind and body are connected. My body tells me quite clearly when I have to pay attention to what is happening around me and what I am feeling. The message is clear –  take care of my well being. Pause. Connect to my Self.

In hindsight it is easy to catch, but at the time it may take a bit longer to realize that we are under stress. In this particular occasion it became very clear as I went through emails and started to read updates from fellow bloggers. As I painfully squinted at the screen. I was no longer present, but my inner judge was! “What do they want? … Why bother me with this?… How stupid! How superficial!… They are so self centered!… Don’t they get it?… This is trivial! Who has time for frivolity? Pl-ease get to the point.”

My thinking revealed that Val was not present or in balance. My defensive inner teenager had been Teenage bratunleashed.

Everyone was dumb. They didn’t get it. They didn’t see how much pain I was in. They took advantage of me. They tried to control me. All the unmet needs from the past were right there demanding attention.

Our inner teenager  is challenging and requires some kindness and understanding. Its in pain – emotionally and often physically. It has so many unmet needs and is trying to figure out how to get them met as they move from childhood into independence.  It is our ego at the height of all of its immature defensive glory.

One part of me was determined to be miserable and show the world (?) that I had every right to be. Thankfully the part of me who has learned to be a compassionate observer knew that it was time to unplug. NOW!

You are stressed. Take care of yourself  and find your middle ground. Be gentle and kind. Let things be as they are.

Stones surrounded by rushing waterIt was easier after I had taken half a Sinutab and put on my favorite restorative yoga music. I embraced everything that was coming up. I noticed resistance. I breathed and didn’t push. I found my middle ground and was able to stay there. Healing tears fell softly. I meditated and lost track of time. My husband came and went and let me be. He knows better than me sometimes ❤

I began to feel better and went to watch tv to distract myself … and found I had no appetite for it at all. ZERO. I wanted to stay in solitude. I journaled instead.

The old habits of distractions, shopping, cleaning, entertainment, drinking and eating had lost their pull in that moment. By being fully present and knowing how to ride the wave and find my middle ground helped me center myself.

So I honored the request to be alone and put my teenager to bed early. I woke up as a headache free and stress free adult once more. Ready to approach the day with a sense of curiosity.

Thank you to the makers of Sinutab, yoga and meditation, journaling, my husband and friends who support and nourish me, and to those of you who read this today!

May we all find our middle ground in the waves of life.

❤ Namaste ❤

 

* I’m Not Needy – I Just Have Needs

Every human being has needs. It is part of the human condition. We were born with them and will go through most of our lives trying to get them met.

Over the years as a life coach, I have taken several courses in Non Violent Communication. In NVC, needs are acknowledged and embraced. There is a vulnerable beauty behind our needs. The essence of who we are as human beings.

When our needs are met we can fully access our humanity. Bringing compassion and kindness to ourselves and others.

There is a beauty of being human and honoring our core needs of  well being, expressing ourselves and connection with others.

Needs get a bad wrap…. and they shouldn’t.

We often aren’t aware of our own needs, and it can be a powerful self-discovery to identify the ones that are most important to each of us. The needs below are grouped into categories of three core needs. Take a moment and identify what needs resonate with you personally.

WELL BEING
Health and Sustenanceman deep relaxed breathing
Thriving
Vitality
Safety and Security
Stability
Rest
Peace
Acceptance
Gratitude
Balance
Celebration of life

SELF EXPRESSION
Autonomy/Freedomjoyful girlChoice
Authenticity
Inspiration
Passion
Meaning
Contribution
Learning
Growth
Skill/Mastery
Self actualization

CONNECTION
Love/caringLoving Connection
Compassion
Empathy/Understanding
Communication
Respect
Acceptance
Recognition
Community
Belonging
Relationship
Trust

Here is an exercise to explore your needs more. Take a moment and ask yourself:

What am I grateful for?

Then …

What needs are being met when I feel grateful?

Now think of a time when you were upset, possibly at work.

Then …

What needs were not being met?

In all likelihood it would be about recognition, respect and a sense of belonging.

Needs drive us and are essential for our well being. When our needs are being met it opens the door to be in connection with ourselves and with others.

We come to see there is no need to judge ourselves or others any more.

We are more able to center ourselves in our Middle Ground and handle the the highs and lows of life.

Its allows us to be our authentic loving selves, instead of being guarded and defensive.

We become free to evolve into all we can be.

 

* 4 Questions to Ask When We Get Annoyed

Recently, there has been some discussion going on between myself, Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way and Don at Candid Impressions. Its about what goes on when we  are triggered and get annoyed. I thought I would share my perspective and 4 questions that can throw some light on might be going on.

Judging shadow

When we experience discomfort, our basic human response is to look outside to see who is “doing it to us”.  It is a part of being human. We react and make a judgment about the other person. We may blame them, ridicule them,  put them down or attack them. We have labeled them “wrong” in our own minds. They are the “enemy”.

I believe that this is our ego’s instinctual way to defend itself and to maintain its vision of itself. The ego thrives in making itself look good to itself… and others.

Our ego’s role is to survive. Deflection and attack preserve the way things are. Preservation drives the ego. It’s always more comfortable being “right” than vulnerable!

When we react or feel triggered it isn’t really about the other person.

The actions or words of the other person have triggered something already inside of us.

If we want to grow and evolve, then we must take responsibility for our own feelings and become curious about what is going on within us.

It is our reaction. These are our feelings to explore.

Child looking at flower

I believe that if we ask ourselves the following questions, then we can get closer to our inner truth.

Taking a moment to pause and center yourself. Finding your middle ground and being present with what is alive in you, is the door to inner transformation.

Here is an example we can use to explore the 4 questions: You are in a group of people and you get triggered when someone hijacks the conversation and makes hurtful “humorous” remarks that puts an other person down.

1. How am I that?

This is the hardest and boldest question … as it makes us look honestly at ourselves. Is there a part of yourself that does this? Is this a blind spot you are unwilling to face?

Your ego may be shouting NEVER! I have never been critical or put others down! I have never grabbed attention! I would never use humor to bully someone else! I could never be like this! I am not that kind of person!

Is this really so…. With the wisdom of your years and perspectives on life … is this so…

Rather than denying this aspect of ourselves, be prepared to meet it. In doing so it’s hold on us will diminish. There may be real transformation, acceptance and freedom here.

2. How have I been hurt by that?

Have you been at the receiving end of this type of behavior. Perhaps you weren’t able to stand up for yourself back then. But you still feel the pain and injustice. If this painful experience is still alive in you, then give yourself empathy and compassion. Imagine you are like a loving grandmother comforting the young and vulnerable part of you. There may be some healing to be done.

3. What is the unmet need behind these judgments and feelings? What is missing for me?

When you react to this person, you wouldn’t want to be a person like that … but underneath it may reveal an unmet need that you have. Perhaps a part of you that isn’t being fully expressed. What could be missing for you? For example, an inability to speak up or assert yourself. Or a need for authentic expression. Or a need to be recognized by others?… There may be a valuable need of yours that yearns for attention.

4. How does this violate a core belief of mine?

You are witnessing something you wouldn’t tolerate within yourself. It goes against your own values and beliefs.

A word of caution here …. Note that option 4 is what your ego will always prefer. It stokes it and makes it feel good. It wants to be the champion and hero. Watch out for this one as a deflection strategy to protect itself from being vulnerable.

On the other hand, if it is a belief that comes from your inner heart and soul. Coming from love rather than fear. A core value that you live by every day. Then you are indeed seeing an injustice. Recognize it and choose what to do.

How can you channel this anger in a positive way? Transform it into powerful compassion. Use this emotion to make a difference and bring about what you deeply believe in.

So be mindful with all 4 questions … and listen to your inner wisdom and heart.

Be compassionate rather than righteous.

Be open rather than closed.

Namaste