When we understand the vital connection between feelings and needs, we develop a deep understanding that can enable us to take loving care of our hearts and those around us. This approach is one of the fundamental and most profound methods we can give to ourselves. The more deeply you experience your feelings, the closer you will be shown how to discover clues to what you need. Allow yourself to investigate deeply, realizing that challenging feelings are not permanently in control; you will learn how to make it the starting point and a catalyst for you to recognize how to take care of your needs. It’s an act of self-love. This is common sense wisdom that we have yet to be taught. Understanding the connection between feelings and needs is a gift to yourself and can lead you to be your own benefactor, thereby expanding the quality of your life.
The key is understanding the link between discovering your specific challenging feelings and becoming clear on how to steer yourself toward your needs. In this episode, you will be given invaluable clues on using your fear, anxieties, anger, or difficult feelings and then connecting them with what core needs are not being met. You will be encouraged to go to awarenessthatheals.org and use the free downloadable Introspective Guides to guide you to discover specifically the 75 most difficult feelings and the 75 most core essential needs. This will be a very important journey for all of us to be able to learn how to guide ourselves when we’re challenged.
Examples of needs can include connection, trust, affection, appreciation, being understood, or whatever feels most essential for you. Going for what you need most involves listening and responding to what’s most important to your heart—and that’s only sometimes obvious. In this guided meditation, you will ask yourself what you feel at the moment, or most recently, that is most emotionally challenging. See if you can plant the intention to identify, tolerate, and explore those core difficult feelings that are the keys to guide you toward self-compassion. This practice is revolutionary since most of us feel a feeling and stay there, not realizing that learning how to move toward our needs is the key to optimizing our quality of life.
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Awareness That Heals, Episode 108.
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 (00:47):
A very warm welcome again to Awareness That Heals where we focus on bringing our heart and our wisdom to our life’s challenges. We start again and again with being aware of what is most difficult for us. Recognizing these difficulties are universal for all of us, whether we recognize them or not and how we can care for ourselves at these critical times. Today we’re going to discover the vital link between your feelings and needs that are most supportive to you. You’re going to be given a guided meditation that will help you experience how you can open to whatever you feel without being afraid and naturally inquire what is it that I most need to take care of myself? This is a merging of our wisdom that this question leads to when we’re suffering in any way. When we really get this link, we have a depth of understanding of how we can start to take really good care of our hearts. No matter what feeling state we’re in, we’ll also take better care of our close relationships and the world. This practice is perhaps the most simple, profound practice that all of us can do.
Asking yourself, what is it that you most need to support yourself while you’re in the middle of this difficult feeling. And it’s a masterful way of guiding yourself no matter what feeling you’re dealing with. It could be a need to accept what you feel, to be kinder to someone else, to communicate, to be empathic, either through giving the empathy or even receiving it, or perhaps to be understood. All of these are examples of needs. You’ll be given a chance with a guided meditation to find the specific need that would reduce and relieve your suffering. I would encourage you, if you’re not very familiar, to go to AwarenessThatHeals.org and on the top bar, click on the Introspective Guides that will give you 75 of the most challenging feelings and 75 of the most essential needs that will allow you to be more fluid and literate.
When you recognize the feeling that’s most difficult, you’re asking how do you want the people around you to be supportive, to satisfy the need that is most present for you? What quality would their energy have? How would they treat you? What would the words be that represent the satisfaction of your needs that would allow you to be cared for, empowered, and to experience greater peace? What tone would they use? This is so often overlooked, but what tone would they use? Some examples of this need could be the need for connection, trust, affection, appreciation, being understood, or what would hit the spot for you.
One of the keys is to recognize that whatever need is most difficult for you is likely to be one of your greatest needs. We need a glimpse of what need is challenging for you to satisfy. It could be one for kindness, tenderness, communication, strength, or whatever quality or need is particularly most important to you that would be received as sensitivity to your heart. Recognize that going for what you most need means you’re listening and responding to what’s most important to your heart, and that’s not always obvious. It’s an art form where you need to keep asking what’s most important to my heart, to my soul, to my body that would make me purr. No matter what you’re taught or experienced in your world, staying with a difficult feeling that is most happening and asking what your need is supports you to continue to learn how to take best care of yourself. Now, this might sound simple, but you need to be able to do two things at once. Be sensitive to your feeling and ask that critical question. What else could ever make more sense? Pause and let yourself see if this leaves you with a, “Yes, I want to do this. I want to know what my feelings are and then inquire as to what I need.”
Your feelings, when they’re recognized, especially your challenging feelings we’re talking about, can always catalyze you to ask what thought, what quality, what action will benefit me given what you’re feeling at any given time. When you don’t know what you need, let yourself remember that this means your greatest need is to discover what you need, and that will help you. This is going to happen a lot. The deeper you go, the more likely you are to encounter confusion, and that needs to be seen as a plus. I’m confused about what I need, and it’s such a valid question to ask, what is it? When you’re hurting, or you’re afraid, it’s important to be able to identify that and then to keep penetrating into what you uniquely need. This is a sign of depth to delve more deeply into an area you’re unaware of, which makes you an explorer to find wholeness or more wholeness in your heart. So now we’ll begin the guided meditation.
Guided meditation is, for so many people, the best way to truly gain benefit in your response to personal challenges. As you invest and bring your own experience to the guided meditations, you’ll give yourself the best chance to change longstanding patterns of 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. Let yourself breathe as sensitively and naturally as possible. No need to force things. It may just be a subtle tweak of going a little slower, a little more rhythmic. With the same rhythm ask, what are you feeling either in this moment or recently that is most challenging to you?
Now, notice the way the words are being spoken to you right now. There is a sense of caring about what you need. This is so important to help guide you. Take your time and keep reflecting until you’re really clear about what you feel. Remember now and see if you can plant seeds forever, that every challenging feeling has core needs that will guide you toward self-compassion. Take a moment and ask, does this make sense to you, this connection between valuing your challenging feelings and then at the same time having the sensibility to ask, what is my core needs or what are my core needs that would best help take care of me when I’m in this feeling?
Now, this is only the beginning because identifying your core need doesn’t automatically bring you there, but that’s where we’ll be going in all the future meditations. Again, every challenging feeling has core needs that will guide you toward self-caring, self-love, self-trust, self-empathy, and self-compassion. See if you can let this in because it’s a revolutionary concept. Most of us feel a feeling and we just stay there. We don’t have a voice that comes in and asks us, how do we take care of ourselves? What do I most need? And this needs to be injected not only in your conscious mind, but in your unconscious, so you know want to care for yourself no matter what you feel.
So return to your most significant challenging feeling and take a few moments to really feel it now. The more you can feel your feelings, the deeper you will go and the closer you’ll be to the clue of, what do I really need while I’m feeling this feeling? It could be starting with something like acceptance. Yes, it’s okay that I feel like this. Now, that might sound obvious, but recognize right now that it’s very likely not the way you normally go when you feel a feeling you don’t like. You’re adding a yes, it’s okay I feel this way, and this could lead you to realize, oh, I need to communicate this, or I need to be gentle with myself while I feel this, or perhaps I need to be stronger or empathic, courageous.
Sometimes it’s just trusting or being understood by someone else or perhaps even understanding yourself. Support your feeling now as you allow your body to breathe into where it’s most affected and be inspired to be curious, asking again and again, what do I need to best take care of myself? Allowing yourself to go deeply into this, you will start to enjoy the very taking care of yourself, and you’ll realize that a difficult feeling is not a monopoly. It’s the starting point. It gets to catalyze you to ask that question, how do I take care of myself? What do I need?
Notice how you respond as you hear those words. See if you can enjoy yourself as you’re curious, because when you’re in a difficult feeling, of course it’s not going to be a joy, but there can be a subtle place of I’m actually learning how to care for myself while I don’t feel good. My mind is my friend. My mind can be my wisdom guiding me to my needs with a deep, gentle breath, recognizes curiosity as to how to best take care of yourself is like being your own best friend. It is an act of self-love. Do you get that? And if you do, it’ll be very motivating and not just once in a while, not just as a hobby, but as a lifestyle, and for those that practice this more and more, you can start to see the older you get, the wiser you can be, the more you can take care of yourself, and there’s a lot to look forward to as you get older and wiser and more automatic in this way.
Do you get that? This is not a homework assignment. This is common sense that we all have not been taught. It’s a gift that you can give yourself. It is accessing your own guidance. At first, it will feel a bit contrived, but it’s being true to your nature to have great interest in your own quality of life. Let yourself end with an informal prayer. May I make this link from whatever challenges me to be drawn, to discover and dedicate myself to my needs? This is a blessing from your heart. May it be so. So notice where this leaves you.
Are you in touch, and do you have a sense of connection between your feelings and your needs? At first, it’s very likely that it will have some vagueness. Don’t be discouraged or don’t let the discouragement stop you. Hopefully, this inspires you or will soon inspire you to be captivated with curiosity as to how you feel and what need or needs will most support you with whatever you’re feeling at any given point in time. Take a moment and ask, are you curious when you have your particular difficult feeling, I wonder what it is that would help me? I wonder what it is that would soften me, or strengthen me, or move me in the direction that I need to. This sets you up perfectly to continue onto the next meditations that will guide you how to really make this link tangibly. How to move from your feelings to meet your needs.
You have the basics of the direction, and the rest of the meditations will take you step by step. Do you get this? This is just the basic understanding that’ll make the link, but then you need to learn how you can specifically guide yourself from this newly understood connection between the feeling that’s challenging for you and the needs that will most support you while you’re there. Do you feel hopeful? And if you don’t feel hopeful, it’s because you’re not committed yet or you don’t have faith in yourself. If so, recognize that this commitment or faith is your core need. Most of us will start off where, ahh, it sounds right, but I’m not sure I can do it. But then what’s needed is to dig deep and say, this will help me if I can get it, and so my need is to commit myself to go in this direction or gain more faith that I can do it, and I can make this link between my difficult feelings, and my core needs to that particular feeling. If you are ready, then your basic trust in your organic intelligence or what’s natural to you is happening, and you’ve found a gift for life, especially if it’s not just in your memory but it’s actually in your guts because it’s intuitively obvious if you take the time that when you’re not feeling good, of course, you want to find a way to move in the direction of helping yourself. This link will lead you to be a benefactor to expand your quality of life. I wish this for all of you.
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