Christmas, Hanukkah, end / beginning of year season of festivities are about to run us over. For many of us that will mean spending time with family, be that biological family and / or our family of friends. This can be energising and supportive for some and draining and pain-provoking for others and with lots of feelings in between. As you gather with friends and family during the next weeks, I invite you to think about about yours and others ’emotional needs’ and to reflect on how you relate.
Happy Silly Season! And let me know what (f anything) you discover.
healthy families, healthy humans
Once upon a time long long a few days ago, nearly all of us grew up in some kind of family-setting.
And in that family, some of us had good-enough parenting, meaning reasonable fulfillment of our core emotional needs leading to us becoming healthy adults.
universal needs of healthy children, healthy adults
We are social beings so our self-esteem emerges from contact with others who meet these five basic needs:
- Attention ~ leads to growth in self-respect, you are important!
- Acceptance ~ makes you feel like a good person, such as genuine praise, good girl/boy!
- Appreciation ~ gives you a sense of self-worth, what you do matters, thank you!
- Affection ~ makes you feel loveable, ah, you’re sweet.
- Allowing ~ gives you a sense of freedom to pursue your deepest needs, values and wishes and to be who you are in body appearance, personal grooming and abilities, it doesn’t matter, I just love you!
And some of us had less than an ideal up-bringing, and we had to figure out self-love and self-esteem for ourselves, often with the help of our surrogate family of friends. La familia cósmica, (the cosmic family) is how I think of it. Those friends near and far and far-flung (often infrequently visited) family members who ‘help you to hold your version of life stories together’.
Weak and hurtful parenting arises oftem because the parents were probably hurt as children and may still be feeling (or denying) the pain. This sort of parenting might be described this way:
- (-) Attention ~ is in adequate or absent. The parent ignores, refuses to listen, believe, be available or is fearful, come on, you’re such a cry-baby, it’s not that bad.
- (-) Acceptance ~ tries to make someone fit into our specification, desires or fantasies, you’re not wearing that old thing again, are you?
- (-) Appreciation ~ criticises and dominates, nothing is ever good enough, you’ll never change!
- (-) Affection – acts selfishly or without consideration for the impact of behaviour on others, if you loved me, you’d …
- (-) Allowing — is controlling, demanding, or manipulative, at your age, you really should care more about your appearance.
Needs are generally viewed by society at large as childish (think of the last time you heard or said she’s needy for instance). Actually needs direct us in the ways we were meant to grow as children, and may continue (in some ways) to need as adults. We are not being selfish, but self-nurturing, and there’s no need to feel ashamed about it now.
holes and pits become tunnels
A healthy person is not perfect but perfectible. Becoming healthy does not mean ‘cleaning yourself up’ but rather it is a journey of self-awarness of what really brings you joys and pains, learning mindfulness and doing things different if that applies.
A soul full of holes and pits of pain when treated with self-awareness and mindfulness can become tunnels into something much deeper and complex, inside and out.
Relating mindfully without either all-consuming surviellence and control or crippling fear of closeness.
Mindfulness is pure attention to what is
shedding all beliefs about what I ~
* believe it is
* want it to be
* think it should be
* have to make it
* am sorry it is not
It just is.
want to know more?
How to be an adult in relationships — “Most people think of love as a feeling,” says David Richo, “but love is not so much a feeling as a way of being present.” In this book, Richo offers a fresh perspective on love and relationships—one that focuses not on finding an ideal mate, but on becoming a more loving and realistic person.