I’m passionate about authenticity. I love helping a person strip away the non-essential, what no longer serves, and the programmed recordings to reveal an authentic expression of themselves in the moment. To get to that point of clarity, it helps to back up a few steps and take an objective look at ourselves. We assume that since we are adults, we’ve lived long enough to know what we need to about getting along in life and in this vehicle of a human body. But when we stop to consider the amazing things that our body does for us every moment of every day, without us even thinking about it, we begin to see that there is so much more going on here, below our conscious awareness.
Human Needs Psychology
One approach to see ourselves more clearly and peek under our conscious awareness is through the lens of Human Needs Psychology. This is the body of work and approach that Tony Robbins has developed by working with millions of people over the course of his career. While the needs are universal to humans, the ways we get those needs met can vary significantly depending on the individual, the environment they were raised in, the habits and behaviors that they observed growing up, and the level of awareness they bring to their current life.
The one constant is that we have these basic human needs and we will get them met. Whether or not we are doing that in constructive or destructive ways, is open for consideration.
Needs of the Personality
Certainty (Comfort) – Stability, predictability, control
Uncertainty (Variety) – Stimulus, novelty, change of scene or state
Significance – Feel important, recognized, you matter
Connection (Love) – Connection to someone or something
Needs of the Spirit
Growth – Satisfaction in expanding our capacities
Contribution – Contribute beyond ourselves
Awareness of the Need
In the Self-Full Living class, we learn how to listen and tune into ourselves in such a way that we can more clearly discern the need beneath what is showing up on the surface. As an example, let’s say I’m sitting at the computer and I notice tension and disturbance in my chest. It feels like lots of tentacles flying around in there. I also feel heavy shoulders and I notice that my hips are aching. Checking in deeper, I realize that I’m feeling agitated. I ask myself what I’m needing right now. The answer, to get up and move. I get up, understanding that I needed variety. In this moment, the strategy I choose is bouncing on the rebounder for several minutes.
For many people, just noticing the feeling of tension or agitation would have been a major accomplishment. It’s easy to get caught up in our thoughts and lose connection with our bodies, especially for those who are highly sensitive and hyper alert to the needs of others. Sometimes it gets to the point where we are so accustomed to being tuned into the needs of others, that we have lost connection to and awareness of ourselves (we’ll discuss that in another post.)
Back to my example, using the rebounder is only one strategy that I could use to meet my need for variety and a state change. I could have chosen a variety (pun intended) of approaches such as going for a walk, making something to eat, or folding laundry. The strategy I use to meet that need is up to me. So is the responsibility for evaluating whether or not it contributed in a positive way. Since I felt more clear and energized afterward, it’s a keeper, a strategy to call on again.
Multiple Needs, Multiple Strategies
Another strategy that I could have chosen is to climb the stairs and interrupt my husband while he’s working, which I often do. Whether or not that is the healthiest and most constructive way to satisfy my need for variety is open for consideration. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve just distracted him and taken away his momentum, which seems to suck the energy out of the exchange for both of us. By looking underneath this strategy and understanding my motivation for climbing in the first place, I can better understand what need I’m attempting to meet and choose a more constructive strategy next time.
We can also use the same strategy to meet different needs. Sometimes I climb those stairs in excitement, eager to share something with him about news that I just received or meeting some milestone in my business. During these times, I’m motivated by both a need for significance and connection (to share it with him,) and I feel energized afterward.
Sometimes I climb those stairs so that I can bring him a glass of water, I want to make his day go smoother and feel I have contributed to that in some way. Many times, I climb those stairs to share something I just realized, a new perspective that will ‘change everything’, at least in my own mind. These times I’m motivated by growth and always leave with higher energy.
Leverage the Technology
The point here is that if you have a situation in your life that you are unsatisfied with, that leaves you feeling depleted and would like to change it, you can look beneath the surface to see what need you are trying to meet. Once you are aware of the need, brainstorm a number of strategies that you can choose from to meet it in a more positive and constructive way.
Your 7 Step Challenge:
1. Choose a situation in your life where there is frustration.
2. Identify the need you are trying to meet (see list above)
3. Brainstorm different strategies for meeting this need, get a friend to help if you are stuck
4. Select two of those strategies you’d like to try
5. Experiment with the strategy
6. Evaluate the strategy – did you feel more energized and positive after using it?
7. Decide if you’ll keep the strategy or try another
PS: If you’re stuck on step#3, then give us the specifics in the comments below and as a community, we can brainstorm different strategies for you.
(Photo Credits: Alosh Bennett, Marcelo Duarte and Giulia Forsythe)