The 4 A’s for Fulfillment

I hope you enjoy this inspiring re-post today.

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Photo by Philip Justin Mamelic on Pexels.com

The 4 A’s for fulfillment are some basic needs that we all have as human beings. I like to think of them as essential elements for the wellspring of life.

They are:

~ Attention ~

~ Appreciation ~

~ Affection ~

~ Acceptance ~

Take a moment to reflect on how you feel when someone offers you these things:

When someone pays attention to you, listens and is truly present with you…

When you feel appreciated for who you are, and someone thanks you…

When you are given affection and feel loved…

When you are accepted for just the way you are, despite not being perfect…

I know of a parent who intentionally punished their child by withdrawing her attention and ignoring her. She stone walled and turned her back in order to show her displeasure if the child didn’t do as she was told.
Can you imagine how this child felt, being rejected like this? Its no surprise that as an adult, her life became totally absorbed with filling the void within her. She craved attention and desperately needed to be appreciated. She was hungry for signs of affection, and yearned to be accepted by others.

Knowing the 4 A’s for fulfillment can help us understand our own motivations and support our healing from times in the past when these essential needs were not met. When we were small, we didn’t have the ability or insight to know what was happening, but we deeply felt the consequences.
Now it can be a gift to ourselves, to become more kind and compassionate to the small wounded child within us.

It can also be a powerful gift for us to give to others. It builds relationships and connection. It makes people feel good about themselves.

Notice if you find this difficult, neutral or easy.
If it’s difficult for you to give to others, then it might reflect your own need to give more to yourself. Fill your own wellspring so you can share with others.

Release the Need to Save People from their Problems

Release the Need to Save People by Sanaya Roman*

”You can dissolve obstacles to love by releasing the need to save people from their problems. You can love others as your soul does by allowing them to be responsible for their own lives.

Taking care of others, worrying about their lives, and solving their problems can occupy so much of your attention and emotions that you have no energy left to put into your own life and spiritual path.
When you stop saving others, you can release any resentment you might feel for all the time and energy you spent on them.

When you save others, you can become a victim when they do not use your help in the way you would like, when they continue to create similar problems, or when they expect and demand that you continue to save them.

Learn to recognize when you are helping others because you feel that they do not have the strength or ability to solve their own problems.
When you feel an urge to help people in a way that will “save” them or take away their lessons, stop!
You may find that your desire to help others really comes from your own need to feel better and to have less concern and worry about their problems.

Assume that people have the ability to solve their own problems, even if you can’t see how they will. While your soul is interested in assisting people, it does not interfere with their lives. It allows people to have their own ideas, to live in whatever way they choose, to learn from their mistakes and to achieve their own successes.”

“Sometimes pain and suffering are necessary. No one can grow for us.” ~ Author unknown

This has been a profound lesson for me on my spiritual journey. When we recognize that we have a need to rescue others, or need other people to need us, we don’t allow them to have their own experience and to grow as human beings. It also diminishes our ability to connect at an authentic soul to soul level with others.

The aim of Yoga is to bring the mind to a state where we can see clearly without distortion of the truth

In Yoga, aparigraha or non attachment is one if the most difficult observances on our path to enlightenment. As a practice, it is usually focused on letting go of material objects and not being greedy or grasping. However, it can also apply to our thinking and in relationship to others. With self inquiry we can start to explore the motivations and thinking behind our actions and interactions in the world. Some questions to ponder are:

Am I grasping for attention … recognition … appreciation… to make me feel better about myself?
Am I interfering or trying to fix other people in an effort to fix myself?
In preventing them from feeling pain or being challenged, am I keeping them from growing?

While we are compassionate towards others and support them on their journey, it’s important to honor them and their experience, and allow them to grow through their own self inquiry.
The need to save others can keep us attached and prevents us, and them, from becoming truly free.

*Soul to Soul (p. 114). Monkfish Book Publishing. Kindle Edition.

The Power of Empathy

Enjoy this re-post about the power of empathy, especially in difficult relationships.

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One of our fundamental needs as human beings is to be heard and to be accepted as we are. Take a moment to recall a time where you were going through a hard time and someone empathized with you. How did it feel? Pretty good I expect…

When someone empathizes with us we don’t feel judged; we no longer feel alone; we feel understood; we become calmer; we usually feel better and are more able to handle a difficult  situation.

empathy babies

Empathy is a powerful tool for connecting to another person in an open loving way.  It feels good to us, yet how often do we intentionally empathize with someone else … especially when someone is angry or frustrated?
Marshall Rosenberg writes in his book “Non Violent Communication; a Language of Life“ how it can be especially difficult to empathize with those who appear to possess more power, status or resources and those who are closest to us.
One of my favorite take aways is:

“Empathize, rather than put your “but” in the face of an angry person.”

When we want to help we tend to jump in with a “but” and a “fix” for the other person. Yet empathy is more powerful and empowering.

He writes: “I continue to be amazed by the healing power of empathy. Time and again I have witnessed people transcending psychological pain when they have contact with someone who hears them with empathy.”

Why not increase your ability to empathize with this exercise:

Over the next few days see if you can empathize more with those people who are closest to you, colleagues at work and even your boss.frustrated man at work

Really tune in to what they might be feeling and reflect back what you are sensing they are going through.

Here are some examples of reflecting feelings statements:

It sounds like you are really frustrated about this

I can see that this is tough for you

I can’t imagine all that you are going through. It must be so hard

I’m sensing that this is scary for you

I hear that you are concerned

It sounds like this is a real challenge for you

 but in your faceIt sounds so simple, yet can be hard to do in that moment. So instead of putting your “but” and point of view in the other person’s face, empathize with their situation and reflect what they might be feeling.

Give the gift of feeling heard and understood.

 

Living the Way a River Flows – or Not

river flows

“I’d love to live the way a river flows carried by the surprise of its own unfolding”

~ John O’Donohue

Me too John. Me too.

When we are healthy and whole, our mind and body is able to adapt and adjust to what daily life brings.

However, sometimes things happen in our past that really shake us up and we feel we have little or no control. For people who have experienced trauma, the body and mind are forever alert, and often keep re-living the experience.

Trauma stays with us. Our bodies becomes sensitive to potential dangers and can be triggered into a fight, flight or freeze response. Our bodies are the holder of the memories that our minds cannot face.

For trauma survivors, the river is a downright scary and dangerous place and they need to find a way to have some control again. They are being blown off course and need help to stay feeling safe.

I am not a therapist, but as a life coach and yoga teacher, I work with some wonderful people who have experienced trauma in their lives. The key is to find their middle ground and center of being. For them, life really is like a pendulum moving from one extreme to an other. Learning to slow down and breathe, pause and reflect, is a powerful and empowering practice.

Thank you to my dear clients for inspiring me to create this blog and to help others find their own middle ground. 💛

Namaste.

* Hyper critical

mother daughter conflict

Are you being hyper critical right now in relationship to one or more people?
Take a moment and consider… Are others consistently irritating you and annoying you?

When we become hyper critical it is usually because we are repressing a feeling … which is usually of resentment towards someone.

Are you resenting someone’s behavior towards you?

Has his or her behavior triggered you and touched a tender place where you don’t feel appreciated or loved? Perhaps there is an unmet need for respect and appreciation.

As human beings we all have basic needs: to feel safe, express ourselves, belong, feel loved and appreciated.

Perhaps you are playing the “martyr” game, a tactic of pretending that something is all right with you while subtly signaling that it is not, and possibly trying to make others feel guilty for their behavior.

Most of us are unconscious of this … its not something our ego is likely to acknowledge.

Taking time right now to acknowledge that this may be the case, will open up compassion for yourself.

See beyond the resentment and anger to the hurt and longing to be seen and loved for who you are. You are worthy of love and respect.

It takes courage to say what you really mean and put your feelings on the line.
Yet this is the only way to heal and move past the struggle.

 

* Needs and Kindness

“May we all recognize our own needs and have compassion for ourselves.

May we all see beyond our own needs and have compassion for the needs of others.”

isolation

These words came to me this morning.  As human beings we all need acceptance of who we are, to belong and feel loved, and to express ourselves in the world.

When these basic needs aren’t being met, we tend to become self protective, withdrawn and critical of others. It can show up as defensiveness, aggression and selfishness. We become judgers of a world that isn’t going our way.

We are so focused on ourselves that we forget that others also have needs and the same longings. In this place we are stuck in our own self centered world. We feel disconnected and separate from others.

When we pause, and bring our attention inwards, most of us will sense that something is off balance and we feel lousy. We may also recognize that we are not being kind to ourselves.

This is when we have a choice. To punish ourselves and judge ourselves for being like this. To continue to blame circumstances or other people for “making us feel this way” … or to accept that the feelings are ours, no one else’s.

It really is up to us to own our feelings. To acknowledge them and to see them for what they are. And then find compassion for the state we are in.

Behind every judgment are feelings and needs … and a longing for something that is missing.

As we resent or resist the feelings that come up, we lose connection with what is missing for us and our fundamental needs as human beings.

We lose connection with ourselves and others.

When we take time to pause and reflect on the needs that are not being met, and recognize our own longing for acceptance, connection and expression, a shift takes place inside us.

And we, and our world, become kinder once more.

needs and kindness

* Life is Like … an uprooted tree

D.H. Lawrence describes humanity as being like an uprooted tree with its roots in the air.

Uprooted tree

“We are perishing for lack of fulfillment of our greater needs.

We are cut off from the great sources of our inward nourishment and renewal.

We must plant ourselves again in the universe.”

tree for life

I think many people feel like uprooted trees in today’s world.

When we plant ourselves once more we become nourished, rooted and interconnected.

Each of us can do this for ourselves and support others in finding inner nourishment, renewal and connection to our life source and Spirit.

I call it Findng Your Middle Ground.

Namaste