Honouring our needs
With the big decisions in life such as who we are going to marry and where we are going to live, most of us know that it is important to understand our needs and try to follow what feels true for us. But what about the smaller everyday decisions? How connected are we to our emotions and how aware are we of our needs?
You know the drill - you made plans to go out with friends, but its been an exhausting week and you want nothing more than to be at home in front of the TV, but somehow you find yourself out at dinner, wishing you were home.
Most of us spend so much time thinking about what we should be doing and what everyone else wants us to do that we end up never fulfilling our own needs.
This has an major effect on our lives, we end up living an inauthentic way by saying yes when we really mean no, we don’t know what we need when difficult situations arise. We compromise constantly and then wonder why we are unhappy.
So why don't we fulfil our emotional needs? Two reasons come up time and time again:
1. Most of us don't even know what our needs are, we live such busy lives that we don't stop to feel.
2. Following our needs can bring up other difficult emotions. If we cancel on dinner plans, we may fear being rejected from others, for example.
So how can we tell whether we are owning our emotions and being true to ourselves?
Here are three signals that you may find useful:
1. We use the word "should" a lot. "I should work there." "I should do this." "I shouldn't feel like that." Instead of stopping and asking ourselves what the resistance inside us is and what our needs are we railroad over our emotions.
2. We focus on the outside changing. Many want to change the outside world so that they can be happy. "If only my boss spoke to me in a different way." "If only my girlfriend could behave differently then I would be happy."
3. Compulsive need to be busy. It's almost as though if they stop then they will have to feel emotions that will be too difficult to deal with or questions will arise that they have no answers to.
It's so important to connect with ourselves and our emotions to be able to live life fully and be happy. The first step is simpler than you might imagine.
Pause, and notice physical sensations in the body, and ask yourself what your needs are. Our minds are tricky, they can convince us of something and minutes later convince us of the exact opposite. "It is a good idea for me to speak up more." "Oh no how will other people view me." But our bodies always live in the moment, they tell us how we feel if we only take a little time to listen to what they are saying.
Connecting with our bodies and emotions can have profound effects. So today I invite you to consider how much you use the word should in your life, how much you externalise your happiness, and whether you keep yourself compulsively. And I invite you to take a few moments out in your day to consider what your needs are and how you can fulfil them.