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When you wish you didn’t have a need

There are times when it seems like it would be easier to just not have particular needs or at least need less.  Perhaps you want to stay focused on a project and don't want to tend to other needs.  Or perhaps you feel some shame thinking that you have too much of a particular need.

In the first case, a simple reminder of the big picture and the fulfillment that comes when you make consistent decisions for self-care and balance in life can bring you back to equanimity.  

Feeling shame about a particular need however, is usually not as simple.  When it seems that others are fine and don't have as much of a particular need as you, shame can get triggered again and again.  Of course, no one has less or more of a particular need, it's just the relationship to needs that vary.  The more confident and clear your relationship to a particular need is, the easier it is to meet that need.  Then more tenuous and fraught with reactivity your relationship to a need is, the more difficult it is to be nourished regarding that need.

Wishing you had less of a particular need is a form of reactivity; you are pushing against your own experience.  When you find yourself wishing you didn't have a certain need, it's a sign that you may need support in turning your compassionate attention towards that need and your relationship to it.  

When you have support to compassionately turn your attention towards your relationship to a particular need, healing can begin.  Just compassionately noticing your crankiness, minimizing, or neglect of a particular need is a an important first step in the healing process.

As you continue to give compassionate attention to your relationship to a particular need, you will begin to notice little ways you prevent this need from being met.  You might find yourself making decisions that systematically prevent opportunities for being nourished.  You might see yourself pulling away in distrust when something is offered.  Or you might notice that you have a set of standards or ideas for the one and only way that need can be met.  Becoming compassionately aware of these reactive threads will help you begin to untangle the knot of reactivity around that need.  Free from the tangle, you will be able to open to new possibilities regarding how that need could be nourished.  Over time with practice being nourished around that need will happen more easily and in more subtle ways.  The need will become less prominent in your awareness as it is met consistently.  It may seem that you then have less of that particular need, but in truth the former reactivity around that particular need has been replaced with equanimity and skill.

 

Practice

Take a moment now to reflect on a need that lives large in your consciousness (to which you have a reactive relationship).  Answer the following questions regarding that need:  

  • How do you believe that need has to be or should be met?

  • What does reactivity around that need look like?

  • What are you doing, thinking, or saying that prevents that need from being nourished?

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Invalidating Other’s Feelings
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Listening & "Me too" Responses


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