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

The Power of Empathy

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


One of our fundamental needs as human beings is to be heard and to be accepted as we are. Take a moment to recall 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 or mindfully 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:

frustrated man at work

Over the next few days see if you can empathize more with those people who are closest to you, your children, a colleague, or even your boss.

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 face

 It 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.

Lets Be Genuine, Not Nice!

pleasing motherThis is a re-post to support those of you on the path to being more authentic and true to your self. Enjoy!

oooOOOooo

I am enjoying reviewing some of the Non Violent Communication work that I have done in the past. Today, I wanted to share this helpful insight from “Being Genuine” by Thomas D’Ansembourg.

As children so many of us take on the role of pleasers with our parents and teachers and other people. This is a strategy that worked somewhat well: We got attention, received praise and felt good about ourselves when the other person appreciated what we did for them. It was one way to get our needs met and to feel good.

Each time mother said “You are a sweetheart for doing that” or a teacher said “You are one of my best students” when you did well in tests,  this behavior was reinforced.

And so the belief came about that, in order to get what we want in life, we have to please others. They will give us what we need… and we will feel more in control and secure.

We focused on the external rather than building our own inner resources to get our needs met. You can find out more about what I am referring to, by reading this earlier post about our needs

However, when we are pleasers, we are never really sure if we are “doing the right thing” for the other person. We begin to distrust others reactions and doubt our own qualities or skills.

The other person becomes a judge and critic about to pass judgment on if we are doing it right. And of course, if we aren’t doing it right, then we must be wrong.

Can you see how this undermines our self esteem, confidence and sense of being…

We lose touch with our authentic selves because we are relying on the approval, validation and love from others.

Lets be genuine, not nice!

faces masks

To be genuine we must put aside our mask of accommodation and pleasing. Instead of thinking of ways to be nice we  must come from our authentic heart and soul.

This entails and change in our attention. Before we can reveal our authentic selves to others, we must pay attention to what is going on inside of us. When we shift this attention away from other people we can  discover who we are outside of the roles that we play, such  as sister, spouse, colleague, friend etc.

To be authentic we must also become open to feeling.

This can be a tough step on this journey to authenticity. When we believe our survival is dependent on pleasing others, we put other people’s wants in front of 0ur own. We start to tune into other people, and dismiss our own feeling and desires. Our own feelings get lost, and many of us end up not feeling very much at all.

Yet, to be authentic we must also open up to what we are feeling and take responsibility for it.

When we rely on others to feel good, we not only lose touch with our genuine feelings, but we also tend to blame others for “making us feel bad”. By taking responsibility for all of our emotions, we find freedom to be our genuine selves.

Take a moment to ask yourself these questions.

  • Am I expressing the truth of who I am and what I want … or am I accommodating others?
  • Am I smothering the truth in a mask of niceness?

If the answer is, “but I have no other choice!” Or “I don’t want to upset the other person!” Then you are reinforcing this deep seated belief and fear within you.

We always have a choice to take into account our own needs and the needs of others. As adults we  must acknowledge that being authentic and real, doesn’t mean we will be abandoned and unloved as we might have believed at a tender young age.

girl on her journey

It takes real courage to face the truth that we are not being truthful to ourselves or the others. The ego mind does not want to be confronted with this!

Yet, it is one of the most empowering steps we can take on the journey towards truth.

The Power of Empathy

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

oooOooo

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.

 

A Mindful Question to Bring you Home

This is a re-post worth sharing, especially if you have a few moments right now. Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As you begin to read this, choose whether you want to linger here for a mindful moment or skip by. Its up to you. Coming into the present moment and finding your Middle Ground is always a choice for you to make.

content man meditating

Welcome 💛

Make sure you are sitting comfortably with your feet on the floor. Let your hands rest. Let your body become relaxed. Let your shoulders come away from your ears. Perhaps do a slow mindful shoulder roll. Hhmm that felt good.

Check in with your jaw and make sure it isn’t clenching. Allow your face to soften  as you come into this moment. Allow your breath to be a soothing anchor.

Now ask yourself:

What is alive in me right now?

Tune in to feelings and sensations.

Listen to thoughts that come up…. without judgment.

Notice any longings. Be with any disappointments.

Allow any gratitude to blossom.

What is truly alive in you at this moment?

Can you be with it?

Give it space. Make friends with whatever comes up.

This is part of your own life energy. This is what is alive and it is you.

Let it show you what it needs today.

Perhaps not in words, but in feelings pictures and sensations.

Tune into your inner wisdom.

Sit with it for a while.

Namaste

Footnote: This question is one of the core questions in NVC. I really appreciate the work of Robert Gonzales and  Marshall Rosenberg as part of the Non Violent Communication movement. They have their own methodology based on embracing the needs that we have as human beings; becoming observers rather than judgers; identifying the feelings that come up; showing empathy to others and to ourselves when our needs are not being met.

* 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

* Being There For Yourself

This post is inspired by one earlier (Being There is Enough) where the focus was on being there for someone else. Now it is your turn. xo

open your heart
Sometimes all we can do is to be there for our selves…
Being present to our inner state, without judgment or temptation to fix.
Setting aside our urge to make things different or somehow “better”,
By evaluating the pieces and trying to mould them into solutions that make sense,
Or rushing to move past the hurt and discomfort of feelings and thoughts.

In this place of being right here, allow the strategic mind to quieten and open your heart.
Simply be with your heart and your own aching humanity.

In this vulnerable place, the life energy that flows through us all begins to expand and flow.
This knowing presence that acknowledges the sadness, loss and yearning.

Remember, within all of us is a deep longing for love and wholeness.
Trust that when you touch this tender place, the life energy will awaken and transform you.
Let it flow within you and through you.

All is well in its presence.

* Being There is Enough

being there

Sometimes all we can do is to be there for the other person …
Being present to their inner state, without judgment or temptation to fix.
Setting aside our own personal needs and urges to make things different or somehow “better”.
Attempting to evaluate the pieces and mould them into solutions that make sense.

In this place of being there, allow the strategic mind to quieten and open your heart.
Simply be with them in a shared sense of aching humanity.

In this vulnerable place, the life energy that flows through us all begins to expand and flow.
This knowing presence that acknowledges the sadness, loss and yearning.

Remember, within all of us is a deep longing for love and wholeness.
Trust that when you touch this tender place, the life energy will awaken and transform us all.
Let it flow.

All is well in its presence.

 

*Thanks to the work of Robert Gonzales and the NVC Living Compassion tribe ❤️

 

 

*Connected Once more

Here in the icy suburbs of Philadelphia, there have been major power outages with trees and limbs down. Our power came back on the first day, but my heart goes out to others who are still in the dark and cold. I’ve had 3 days without internet or being able to connect to others other than by cell phone.bird on icy branch

It has been an intriguing experiment to sit with a book instead of at my computer, and to play previously downloaded classes that I’d not got around to listening to. On the whole it’s been nourishing and relaxing…. but I have missed been able to connect with peeps around the world and to share my musings!

I’m so happy to be back 🙂

In the meantime I listened to a course on Self Compassion by Dr Kristen Neff from Sounds True and an interview with Sydney Banks on the Three Principles. I’ve dipped back into the Bhagavad Gita and practiced Non Violent Communication Beauty of Needs Energy Clearing with Robert Gonzales.

It has been pretty awesome. I continue to be amazed at the wisdom of others and the richness of learning around me. There has been a lot of spiritual and personal nurturing, especially around self compassion and how to help others be kind to themselves. As well as reflection and learning, it has also been a valuable time for self connection.

…. and now I feel my middle ground is complete with being able to connect with you and express myself once more!

virtual hug

Namaste.