How to Use Challenging Feelings to Discover Core Needs

How to Use Challenging Feelings to Discover Core Needs - Episode 110 Episode 110
In this episode, you’ll discover how to identify your core feelings and use them as a key to access your deepest needs. Simultaneously, it’s crucial to develop the capacity for self-care and self-awareness, guiding you toward your heart and intuitive wisdom, learning how to stay connected with yourself, and gaining a sense of the direction you need to pursue. Comprehending your feelings and needs marks the initial stage; the subsequent step entails engaging your mind and heart, employing both actions and contemplation.

The essence of this exploration is to discover the foundations of your mental and spiritual well-being, using challenging feelings as a stepping stone to live in harmony with your core needs. Cultivating a  lifelong practice of inquiry about what you feel and what you need can lead to a more fulfilling and nurturing life. In future episodes, this practice will form the basis for further exploration into transitioning from understanding challenging feelings to naturally and tangibly fulfilling your needs.

Resources related to this episode
Robert Strock Website
View the Podcast Video (YouTube)
Robert’s Book, “Awareness that Heals”
The Introspective Guides (Free Download)

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Announcer (00:00):

Awareness That Heals Episode, 110.

Announcer (00:02):

The Awareness That Heals podcast helps its listeners learn to develop the capacity to have a more healing response to emotions and situations rather than becoming stuck. Your host, Robert Strock, has practiced psychotherapy for more than 45 years. He wrote the book Awareness That Heals: Bringing Heart and Wisdom to Life’s Challenges to help develop self-caring and the capacity to respond in an effective way to life’s challenges, especially at times when we are most prone to be critical or to withdraw. Together, we will explore how to become aware of our challenging feelings and, at the same time, find alternative ways to live a more fulfilling and inspiring life.

Robert Strock (00:46):

I’m very pleased to welcome you again to Awareness That Heals, where we do our very, very best to bring heart and wisdom to our very real-life challenges that are universal for all of us. We start again and again with being aware of what is most difficult for us, and you’re being asked to really look at what is most difficult for you and how we can care for ourselves at these critical times. Now, it’s very important that you hear the link and the connection between those two because when we just go to what’s difficult for us, it could seem like it’s a bummer and we’re going to get stuck. But the whole point here is to see the way we can honor our challenges and not stay stuck. And today we’re going to look at the foundation of what I would consider both mental health and spiritual health in a very grounded way. We’ll explore both how we can use our most challenging feelings to discover and live more and more from our core needs.

This is one of the most profound and simple meditations that you can do. It is very subtle as it has the potential to guide you hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and even moment-to-moment. What is my core feeling? You’re asking yourself first. This is what you’ll be inquiring about that gives you the keys to find the deepest and dearest need that your sensitivity is guiding you toward. Really look at that word your sensitivity is guiding you toward. When you’re asking yourself, what is your core need? You need to access the most sensitive part of you.

How much do you get this? Just look. Do you have a sense of what your core needs are? It might be something like to be loved, to be tender, to be communicating, to be strong, to set boundaries, to know how to merge. But whatever your core need is, that’s what’s important, and your sensitivity will help bring you there. And can you see, this needs to not be philosophical. This needs to be organic and make intuitive sense to you. This is not a philosophy, and if you look closely, you’ll see for most of you that as a child, it was more easy to see, more obvious that your needs, whether it’s to be hungry, whether it’s to have another one of your kids in the sandbox, in your classroom to be nice to you. These kinds of things were intuitively obvious, but as we’ve gone more and more towards success and traditional values, we’ve lost this simple skill of recognizing our feelings and connecting them with our needs, not all of us, but most of us, and to varying degrees.

Now, as adults, the same longing, of course, exists in a more diverse way, but most of us have forgotten that it’s a golden key to guide us toward our hearts and using what can be called our wisdom or intelligence or the smartest part of ourself. Now, let’s not only take a look at this, but put you in the center. And that’s so critical in this guided meditation to follow that you put yourself in the center so you can experience what it’s like to really be where you’re most challenged and guide yourself while you’re in that state.

Guided meditation is for so many people, the best way to truly gain benefit in your response to personal challenges. As you invest in bring your own experience to the guided meditations, you’ll give yourself the best chance to change longstanding patterns from suffering toward a state of well-being, peace, and healing. It’s important to put yourself in a comfortable body position in a private space where you’re not disturbed, turn off your phone and be ready to really be alert. So as you take your next breath, ask yourself, what is it that you feel most in the present moment just for a starter, just to sense yourself. What do you feel? You’re grounding yourself as you ask that? And it doesn’t have to be something big. It’s not contrived. Just what it is, you might feel nothing. You might feel empty, but whatever you feel, maybe it’s in your body, maybe it’s in your heart. Whatever’s there, honor it by giving your awareness to it without trying to change it at all.

It’s very likely not going to be dramatic. Occasionally it will be, but the whole point is wherever you are is perfect and you’re just attempting to be with it. Have the courage to just connect with wherever you are in your inner most source, and if there’s any kind of injury, hurt, or suffering, feeling it as fully and as simply as you can. Let this be the warmup to the key question, which is, what is it that I most need that isn’t fulfilled, that this feeling is showing me? What is it that isn’t being fulfilled in my life that’s recurring? And just pause. It could be fear, it could be anxiety, it could be anger or intolerance, and you may not know what the need is, but you’re asking yourself, what do you need? And of course, you need to also be aware of feelings that are there that are not satisfied, that will give you clues.

Realize that by asking yourself this question, after a while, it becomes simply your guide back to one of the most essential parts of your real self. And by real self, I mean the part of you that cares. Doesn’t it make sense to you to want this life to have caring and for you to be a significant source of this caring? Just pause and feel. Isn’t it obvious if I bring this caring to me that I have a better chance of being fulfilled in this life and also for caring for others and recognize you are the only one that can guide you in this very intimate way and let this become a growing first nature. First nature as if it’s natural to you, and if it’s new, then you’re just starting and good for you. And if it’s familiar, recognize that you can continue to deepen it.

So when you feel sad, what is it that will make you happy? When you feel frightened, what is it that will give you a greater chance of being courageous or safe? When you feel irritable, what will allow you to have a greater chance of being more peaceful? Now, sometimes, for example, it might be that when you’re irritable, it might help just to acknowledge your irritable and that you’re trying to find a way to be more calm or patient, you’re pausing. At other times it might be better as your guidance suggests that you just lie down and put your hand on your heart and ask, what’s most important to me today?

That a golden guidance. When I say that, I mean that is one of the lifestyle choices that you can make, that when you’re unclear or you’re disturbed, that you’re going to guide yourself to either metaphorically or physically put your hand in your heart and just ask that question. The important thing is you’re interested in two things all the time, for the rest of your life. What is it that I feel and what’s my feeling state that is most impacting me now and today, and what is it that I need? Just take that in. If you can’t find it, know that you need to go back again and again and ask that question. There’s no rush.

Let this second question be honored even more than the first one. Recognize that you have the capacity to be dedicated and to increase that dedication, to be the caregiver of yourself, and that yes, being aware of your feelings, that’s going to take you part of the way and being aware of your needs is going to bring you a step further and closer. You’re looking for needs like being understood, receiving kindness and tenderness or empathy. Just being listened to, having more peace and just being interested in what you need is such an important key. Do you get that? How valuable that is to your quality of life and that the tone that this interest is being shown is very likely to have an impact on you feeling the quality that will be most nurturing and nourishing to your heart, your body and your soul.

You actually can fall in love with asking, how can I care for myself? There can be music, there can be rhythm, and just notice as you do that now, as you’re asking yourself, how can I care for myself? Is the tone supporting you? And when you don’t know what you need and it’s totally unclear, recognize that you need to discover what you need. This is going to be the most common situation, something to be proud of. You’re venturing a terrain where you don’t know what is it that I need? It’s a profound place to be, and the tendency is to exit too fast. So you may have to come back to it for hours or days, but it’s a completely worthwhile truth to discover about yourself, the direction you want to move in your life and see if you can just let yourself be at peace anticipating that this is going to be the case. You won’t know what you need and that’s really okay, and it’s a sign you need to give it more attention.

Then as another important theme, you want to develop the capacity to be humble, like an informal prayer from a kind place I’d like to be more and more interested in what I need because it’s not my well-grooved habit and just move myself toward appreciation that this wisdom, this intelligence, this self-caring, this guidance and your life has come to a place where you’re ready to hear and honor this endless discovery of what need is the most essential to your well-being. None of us are the same. This is a great beginning, middle, and end to guide you in this direction.

What else would you want to do with your inner life, but take good care of yourself and recognize that this isn’t the central way that you’ve been taught how to live and devote yourself, as much as makes sense to you to ask that question for the rest of your life, recognizing that the more you do it, the more access you’re going to have to improve your own quality of life. May this be so. So, notice where this leaves you. Are you in touch and do you have a sense of what direction you need to steer yourself?

This potentially sets you up perfectly to continue onto the next meditations that will guide you how to really make this link tangible. How to move from challenging feelings to actually meet your needs, not only to understand them, but actually the stepping stones to meet the needs. You have as you’ve listened closely the basics of the direction and the rest of the meditations will take you step-by-step. Do you get this distinction between understanding your challenging feelings and you want to move towards your needs? But then of course, there’s subtlety of how do you make those steps to make that more viable? It’s not enough just to understand the direction you need to execute it with your mind, with your heart, with your actions, and with your contemplation. If you’re really ready to go there, then your basic trust is expanding and is in a great place, and you found a gift for life and even more for expanding your quality of life and the quality of life for those around you and may you appreciate the importance in our troubled world of you giving this potential a reality and a devotion.

Announcer (20:40):

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