“Why do I feel so tired and ready to collapse?” I wondered. I started tracing back over my day’s events, and realized I had not consumed one single glass of water, I had eaten a candy bar for breakfast in a hurry, and then for lunch a quick order of small fries to meet my need. It’s 2 o’clock, and I’m finally thinking about it all based on the condition I’m in now! Hmmmm. Maybe that’s it. (Don’t judge meeeee. ;)) I’m silly, huh? But, my friends, we might all do this in more ways than one.. Not just physically, but emotionally. And, really, there are times that it’s not so funny. It can be devastating, and a snowball that just keeps growing, it seems, before we acknowledge the realization of our “afternoon.”
Through some of my opportunities to learn, I have found a very basic, but very important concept that I have experienced, but yet really not known. Now with widened perspective it truly can impact my life with understanding my needs, and then in turn help me also to learn how to love others better! I thought I’d share a bit, and maybe it will help you as it has helped me. So, let’s talk about our basic needs! When we think of needs for our human survival, we automatically think of things such as water, nutrition, physical safety, oxygen, but seldom do we put the same emphasis on other basic human needs such as: being accepted, trusted, valued, cared about, forgiven, loved, understood, emotional safety, supported, and believed in. Yet, these are of the same level of importance for our survival, they are not wants, or desires… they are needs! And yes, when a need such as nutrition is not met in a healthy, best way, our body’s cravings will make us find anyway to meet it! Thus, we stop that stomach pang (that needs some good veggies, and smart protein) with quick junk food that isn’t actually of great benefit (don’t get mad at me… stay with me! Ha. ;)). Similarly, when one of the other listed emotional basic needs isn’t met in the best way, we naturally find some way emotionally to survive. Remember, this isn’t about want, it’s about our needs and we will find a way to survive!
As an example, our need to be understood is vital. If I’m not meeting it in a constructive way, I may find myself yelling
louder to be heard (which still isn’t understood… so, I’m malnourished), or possibly even more hurtful, I give up, thinking no one will ever “get me”, and I starve. We might misunderstand the need for acceptance, by attempting to meet it with people who accept our destructive behaviors, instead of allowing people in our lives who truly accept us (not always our behaviors), and then because of their deep care they can help us thrive, change, grow, and leave behind destructive patterns in our life.
To work at knowing ourselves and to understand these needs can be very freeing! It can help us put perspective on our pain, and then also a realization that just as we need to be mindful to eat nutritiously, drink water for hydration, and stay in safe places for a thriving life, we also need to be intentional and mindful of these human emotional basic needs, and how we are meeting them right now.
So, for the next few months, let’s hang out here and think about these basic emotional needs, and some ways we struggle to cope in a busy world of ups and downs. If you’re like me, when you eat smart, exercise, and take care to be “healthy” in your physical lifestyle, not only are you greatly benefitting your future – the present time also is more productive, energized, and overall you just feel better! The same will be when we care for our emotions with intention, and understanding. A way to begin is just by taking note of how you are feeling, and maybe why… Realize your needs, and then see how you are currently meeting them. Is it “junk food,” or unhealthy ways that will add more stress to your life? Or, are your needs being met in productive, fulfilling ways? Great topics to think about and ways to lead to some better “nutrition” for our life!
What, how, and with whom are you feeding your soul today, my friend?
References: There are several different researchers who have studied this, and have taught me so much. I have much to learn, so you are on this journey with me! I have combined, to a degree, some of their writings to share with you on this topic just some simple, practical thoughts. Writings that contributed to this post were by very intelligent, well-researched men such as Abraham Maslow, Robert Myrick, Robert McGee, and others I will add on to list as we go.