Welcome to the start of a new series of The Awareness that Heals that will be working directly with The Introspective Guides for “Challenging Feelings & Emotions,” as well as “Essential Needs & Qualities.” Both can be downloaded for free on our website awarenessthatheals.org. These guides will help identify a list of the most common needs that we all have, are often unaware of, or unable to articulate. They will also assist you in becoming more aware of challenging emotions, which can then become a lucid guide to your core needs by learning to ask what is missing or most needed. This is something that most of us do not have literacy in. It is a time we can find our way to be humble and receptive. Therefore, it is helpful to have access to these lists, even as you are listening to the podcast. These guides are an invaluable resource for teachers, therapists, clients, and anyone who wants to clearly understand what they feel and what is needed to take better care of themselves and others. Most of us understand the words, feel and need, but the depth of application, especially while we’re living it, is much more subtle and difficult to achieve.
This episode deals with the most simple yet profound linkage that each of us can make between our challenging feelings and our needs. Learning how to discover and follow our needs is a central way to break free from how others in our past, our culture, have defined for us what they think we need or the values we should hold. The most crucial part of this series is to identify the most frequent feelings that challenge you. Emotions like when you are afraid, how do you move in a direction of safety or courage, or when you’re feeling weak or inadequate? From there, it guides us to be able to pivot in a direction of taking care of yourself by breaking old patterns. Join us for this podcast and upcoming episodes to see how to implement this tried and true process to find your challenges and guide yourself to whatever will improve your quality of life.
Note: Below, you’ll find timecodes for specific sections of the podcast. To get the most value out of the podcast, I encourage you to listen to the complete episode. However, there are times when you want to skip ahead or repeat a particular section. By clicking on the timecode, you’ll be able to jump to that specific section of the podcast. Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors. For an exact quote or comment, please contact us.
Awareness That Heals, Episode 70.
Robert Strock: (00:03)
For those of you that think that I’m trying to be your teacher? No, no. I’m trying to get you to be your own teacher and to be free enough that you’re looking at it from a place where you’re not already run by your pre-programming today. We’re gonna be dealing with the most simple, yet profound linkage that each of us can make between our challenging human feelings and our needs.
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: (01:14)
Thank you so much for joining us again at Awareness That Heals, it’s truly a pleasure to have you be joining us on the program. And what we’re gonna be talking about today is something that is so central to living a fulfilling life and breaking free from where we’re trapped in conditioned reactions that each of us has. Now you might think, no, no, I have a great life. I don’t really have any conditioned reactions, but I promise you if you listen to the subtlety of what we’re gonna be going into, you’ll see that you not only have conditioned reactions, but you have very likely, unless you’re a very rare person, you have missed that your life is going for, you have desires that are really fantasies. And so, we’re gonna be drilling deeply into that. And we all really do have this conditioning, and most of us think we’re just acting normally.
Robert Strock: (02:20)
And we have this from our parents, our culture, our movies, our friends, and we just think, oh, that’s reality. But we don’t realize we’re being born into a world that’s altered, that’s prejudiced in many, many ways. And I don’t even mean traditional prejudice. I mean the very priorities that we think matter. If we really take the time to contemplate, we’re gonna see that, you know, what if I was the boss here, this is probably not the way I would’ve set up my world. So, Awareness That Heals is here to try to support you to be your own authority, to be your own boss. So in my experience, virtually none of us are really liberated from having a direction in life where we’re being pulled in directions where we aren’t really able to have a conscious selection of what we’re exposed to and what we choose to align with.
Robert Strock: (03:22)
Normally it’s like a tidal wave of feelings moving us that we need to really, to develop our capacity to think for ourselves and to question for ourselves and then to listen to what the answers are. Now, you might think that you’re an independent person and you’ve already freed yourself. And of course, part of me thinks that way too, but month-by-month-by-month, I keep realizing, oh, that was still part of my old conditioning. That’s not really who I wanna be. So that continuous inquiry is a life-long one. In my view, the guidance that we’re looking for is to be able to counter that tidal wave or more accurately coexist with a tidal wave. How many times have you heard, whether you’re thinking about money or love, work, you’re saying, well, my gut-level feeling, is as if gut-level feeling is wisdom, gut-level feeling so often is just conditioning.
Robert Strock: (04:30)
It’s just what we’ve learned from other people who frequently are part of the culture. That was a culture that was dominated by defense departments, by war, by competition, by simply living in getting ahead for yourself. That dream might have worked in the old days to some extent. From my vantage point, it never would’ve allowed us to touch the deepest places in our heart at any time. But in this century we’re dealing with a whole different reality, and this is not something that virtually any of us have been taught to do or to think about. So please, as you’re looking at this in a potentially new light, don’t be discouraged or more accurately don’t get caught up in the discouragement. It is a bit like a lobotomy, in the beginning, to follow our own inquiries into what matters most in our lives. For those of you that think that I’m trying to be your teacher,
Robert Strock: (05:40)
no, no. I’m trying to get you to be your own teacher and to be free enough that you’re looking at it from a place where you’re not already run by your pre-programming, And today we’re gonna be dealing with the most yet profound linkage that each of us can make between our challenging human feelings and our needs. Now that might sound simple, but in my experience, most people are, are not deeply aware of their feelings or their needs, or the people that are in traditional therapy usually are quite aware of their feelings, but not, they’re not very aware of their needs–let alone the subtle thoughts and attitudes and actions that could help us bring us toward a greater peace and fulfillment in our lives and also contribute to others. Learning how to discover and follow our needs is a central way to break free from how others in our past, our culture as defined for us, what they think we need or the values we should hold.
Robert Strock: (06:56)
Now, as you’re listening to this, I’m hoping that you’re going to at least, gee, this may be partially true. Maybe I need to be more of my own authority by going to awarenessthatheals.org, you can receive a free download of the Introspective Guides, which will identify for you a list of 75 of the most common needs that we all have, that we oftentimes are unaware of, or are unable to articulate, right when it’s really important. It also has another chart that identifies 75 of the most challenging feelings, that by being aware of them, they can guide you or us to our core needs by learning to ask what is missing or most needed when I feel X, Y, Z, or Q or P. It’s so simple in concept that even elementary kids are able to understand it, as they’re not as habituated into fixed emotional patterns
Robert Strock: (08:08)
as most of us as adults are. We’re talking about things like when we’re afraid, how do we move in a direction towards safety or courage, or when we’re feeling weak or inadequate, how do we support ourselves towards strength, courage, and wisdom. These lists are crucial, and I’m asking you to have them right there, and we’ve done our best to make this convenient for you to have these lists. As you’re listening to these podcasts, these lists can be the beginning and ongoing catalyst. Do you give clarity and direction in the moment or the near future that is going to really guide you that is often so elusive. This is not something that most of us have a literacy in, and it’s a time to be humble and receptive. And therefore, it is immeasurably helpful to have access to these lists, even as you’re listening to the podcast.
Robert Strock: (09:18)
Now you may very well make up your own list that’s even more your words. The point isn’t these 75 words in my list, the point is to have a comprehensive list, so you can know when you’re challenged, and you can know alternative directions as to how you can best take care of yourself and those around you. In almost 50 years as a psychotherapist, this is the best beginning, middle and end point I have found to be useful, to be grounded in what is most vital to live a fulfilling and wholesome life. It’s almost uncanny, as it seems at first, a bit like magic to know, or have a good sense of knowing the direction you need to think, act and focus on no matter what dilemma you’re facing at any given moment. So I’d like to start off by introducing Dave, my partner at the Global Bridge Foundation and dearest and closest friend for over 50 years.
Thank you, and I, I just wanna reflect upon the many, many podcasts that were related to the book Awareness That Heals and virtually, without any exception, throughout each chapter is a reference to the Introspective Guides. And they play a part at the most fundamental level, and they play a part at the most evolved and moving forward into more complicated levels. And I think they just apply at every stage. And so you can’t over emphasize enough how important and the kind of guidance you can get simply by having a look.
Robert Strock: (11:20)
To highlight that I haven’t had one session in 50 years of counseling, where penetrating into my client’s feelings, wasn’t crucial even more so than the words, although I’m listening carefully to the words. What are they feeling? They may be angry as they’re talking about being happy. They may be angry as they’re talking about their husband or wife’s problems. So dealing with these feelings and finding a way to channel them in a positive direction for you is so fundamental for you to have the best chance to live a satisfying life, to have an intimate life that is truly intimate, to develop friendships that are profound friendships to enhance your work, to enhance the way you adjust to your work, if you need it. Now, I’m gonna repeat something that may be right in front of you. If you have the list there, but just in case you don’t, take this in. These guides are an invaluable resource for teachers, therapists, clients, and anyone who wants to clearly understand what they feel and what is needed in order to take better care of themselves and others.
Robert Strock: (12:49)
Now, while this sounds obvious, many, many of us simply don’t realize that there’s a link between our feelings and our underlying needs that often go not only unmet, but completely unrecognized. This is normal. If you look back at your childhood, how many times did you hear your parents say I’m feeling X and this means, in whatever language they don’t have to use these words even, this means that I need to focus on Y. And gee, I see that you’re feeling so and so, so it might be a good idea for you to focus on how you can best take care of yourself. Now, my experience is most kids that are four or five years old, understand this. My grandkids have understood this, not completely, and not the more complicated feelings or the complicated needs, but the simple needs like wanting to be happy, like feeling sad, like feeling angry, like learning.
Robert Strock: (13:58)
Well, how are you going to be angry and still find a way to get what, and again, the word “need” “want” would be a selective choice, depending on the age. These guides are designed to help us more accurately understand what we feel and really guide us to what’s underneath. And the underlying needs and qualities lists can help us discern what our needs are. And I pause there and ask you, as you’re listening to me speak, see if you can identify, because this is the most crucial part of this whole series of podcasts is to identify your most frequent feelings that you have, that challenge you. Is it anxiety? Is it fear? Is it sadness? Is it helplessness? Is it anger? Is it competition? Is it inadequacy? And don’t get lost, which is one of the chapters in the book in rejecting yourself for being there. If anything say, ah, oh good, I can see what I feel. And validate yourself for just accepting what your original feeling is right there, and realize you then have a handle on how you may be able to move in a direction of taking care of yourself.
It’s impossible for me as I listen to you not to go to some of those very things. And I just wanna reflect on how uncomfortable I have to be willing to feel as I look at, and as I take the ride inside myself, looking at exactly what you’re talking about. It is not comfortable. I want to go the other way. I wanna run the other way as fast as I can frequently.
Robert Strock: (15:59)
And what you’re saying is really sadly, such an understatement. It’s the norm. The norm is we have a quick flash. And for those of you that have followed Awareness That Heals earlier, we have a fleeting awareness of, oh yeah, that’s right, I’m angry, I’m being an asshole towards my husband or my wife, but then, fupp, it’s gone. Or, oh my God, I’m feeling competitive, cuz I think my wife or husband is attracted to this person over here. And I’m feeling jealous and competitive, fupp it’s gone. Or I’m feeling kind of depressed today. Actually, come to think of it, I’ve been depressed for a long time, fupp it’s gone. What Dave is saying is the norm. And that’s why this is so important. Even our closest friendships usually are not talking about what we’re experiencing and we’re not talking about how we can support each other with what we’re experiencing.
Robert Strock: (17:03)
Now that’s not to say that sometimes we’re not experiencing joy and happiness and fun and adventure. Of course we are. We’re talking about the times when we’re human and in my experience, most humans are human every day. And if we’re fortunate enough to be raised in America, most of us do have things we like. And so, we also have good times everyday. But we haven’t really learned generally. And when I say “generally,” I mean a really high percentage to identify crisply, what is that feeling I’m having? You know, examples like hurt or fear or anger, aloneness, being discouraged, feeling helpless, feeling guilty, being impatient, being intolerant. How many of us have learned to pause and go, aww, this is the feeling I’m in. Maybe I need to bring in some thoughts, some actions, some needs, some qualities so I can help myself with this,
Robert Strock: (18:10)
so I’m not just frozen in this suffering. Just pause and think about it, no matter what yours is, and please stay with yours. Think about what a resource you can be unto yourself, if you have access to this crisp identification, to this literacy of what you feel and what you need. Now, most of us understand the words feel and need, but the depth application, especially while we’re alive and in us, it’s like another part of our brain is frozen and has been frozen. So it’s not even like we would’ve known it 30 minutes ago, let alone when we’re really in the heat of it or in the depths underneath the ocean of it. So I’m asking you to see this as more of an upper, more of, oh my goodness. I may have a chance to actually become not only more aware of what I feel, but how I can take care of myself.
Robert Strock: (19:19)
Now, this is probably a very good time to see that. Well, it’s understandable why I wouldn’t wanna know what I feel. Cause I don’t know what to do when I feel it. Usually what will happen is I’ll be aware I’m angry, and then I’ll feel guilty for feeling angry, and I’ll just be lost in negativity. But when we have a list of needs and actions and thoughts right next to it, it can be like a Pavlovian response where oh, I’m feeling this, oh, that’s right, I have a way where I can guide myself in a direction that’s gonna help me relate to my partner, that’s gonna help me relate to the business people I’m doing business with. It’s gonna help me relate to myself when I’m alone. I can have conversations about this with myself. So see again, as you’re in touch with whatever your most frequent recurring feelings are that most grab you. See if you can imagine yourself saying, oh, I’m afraid,
Robert Strock: (20:26)
and see if you can hear a question like, gee, I wonder how I can navigate this fear to move in a direction that will bring me more courage or safety. And you’re gonna see a process that we’re gonna identify in this podcast and the next couple to really help you not only learn what your needs are, but see how to implement them. Cause learning what your needs aren’t enough. It’s helpful, but it’s still gonna leave you in your head, if you leave it there. We all need to identify them and then learn how to actualize them. And while I’m thinking about it, I encourage you again to go to awarenessthatheals.org and go to the Guided Meditations. The Guided Meditations there are all designed for you to go into you, to identify which of these feelings are you and how to navigate from there,
Robert Strock: (21:29)
what the steps are. Ah, good, I’m aware of what I’m feeling even though I feel terrible–rather than what Dave is saying–Oh, I feel terrible, so no way I’m gonna, and not even consciously. The instinct is just push it away. That’s part of the tital wave, and it’s not even conscious for most of us most of the time. So let’s start with just a couple of examples. And let’s just say you start with recognizing, oh, you know what “I feel hurt.” And I feel hurt because my partner was just insensitive to me in a way they may not realize at all or even worse yet they realize that they don’t care. Now I believe all of us, if we really look at our relationships, can remember a time where this has happened to you.
Robert Strock: (22:27)
So let yourself flash on one of those, especially one that is the most recent, or the most poignant, and see if you can stay aware of just the first step: ah, I’m hurt, I’m feeling hurt. Dignify yourself, let yourself have a few seconds, or a couple minutes, depending on the circumstances you’re in, where you just recognize you’re hurt and it matters. This is part of your quality of life. Isn’t quality of life why we’re alive? Aren’t we here to improve our quality of life and hopefully others’ quality of life. So the chart is a pointer to deeply value first, the awareness of your feelings. Now I sometimes call this a capital “A” Awareness, which means that you’re stably aware of it, it’s not just a fleeting awareness. You’re actually aware of it and you care, which leads us to the second step, which is not in the charts themselves, but it’s why it’s so critical to listen to this podcast
Robert Strock: (23:44)
and the ones that come. Which is, that you become aware “I not only feel this, but I actually wanna find a way to care for myself.” We refer to that often as “an intention to heal” or an intention to care for yourself. So you have the awareness of your feeling first, and then you have a second step, which is the intention to care. And we’re not speaking simplistically because there are other subtleties that are in the book that we’re gonna overlook right now. But simplistically, then the next step is when you’re aware, you wanna care, you ask yourself a question which we’re calling inquiry or questioning, which is “How am I gonna help myself care, given the fact that I’m hurt? How am I going to deal with it? Do I need to deal with it internally? Am I with a person? Is my partner someone that I can actually have a chance of saying something to them to let them know what it is to hurt me,
Robert Strock: (24:51)
and can I find a way to talk to them that isn’t punishing, that isn’t negative, that’s gonna improve my chances of being heard. Can I find a tone of voice (which is another whole chapter in the book), can I find a tone of voice that’s gonna say something along the lines of sweetheart or John or Tom or Sarah or Sally, you know, when you said to me that I was not really affectionate, that that really hurts, cuz I actually believe I am affectionate and I’m happy to talk about it more. Actually my experience is I’m more affectionate with you than you are with me. So I’d like to talk to you about it and can we have a conversation?” And listen to my tone, it’s a plea, it’s not a, how dare you say that I’m not affectionate when you, you’re withholding. I’m not saying that even though a part of me might feel that again, we’re for those of you that listen to transforming anger and resistant emotions, we’re containing the angry part of us and learning how to do that and learning how to communicate with a tone
Robert Strock: (26:18)
that’s desirable, that’s an invitation, that’s a plea. So, we’re really at the very beginning of starting with your feeling. We started with an example of hurts, but more importantly, your example. See if you can identify the feeling and if you can see that you want to move it toward a caring, and what direction do you need to move? What inquiry would you ask? It may be, how do I communicate? It may be, how do I accept that my partner is not really a communicator and I love him or her so much in so many other ways, their heart is golden. And I need to come to accept this and not keep criticizing my partner when they’d have to have a lobotomy and they’ve already told me that’s not their way. Can I find, can you find a direction that is gonna be beneficial to you when you are in your challenged feeling?
Robert Strock: (27:23)
Now my wish for all of you is that this is a lifestyle. This isn’t a philosophy. This isn’t just going to a therapist. This is common sense. From my vantage point, this is what good parenting would be. This would be a class in every school. This would be a part of business that, that there would be a, a growth element in every business because everybody will get along better. So my hope is you can see the common sense of that and the benefit of using these guides and utilizing them in the best way that’s gonna serve you. Thank you so much.
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