In order to take care of our personal well-being, it is important for us to enter a collaborative partnership with ourselves. By examining our feelings and the unmet needs behind what we do or say, we reduce hostility towards ourselves, heal wounds and strengthen our professional and personal relationships. The skill to meet our feelings and needs invites us to expand our perception so that we see ways to bring connection amidst conflict (e.g.: when we are in disagreement with another person). It is an approach to compassionate living developed by Marshall Rosenberg beginning in the 1960s, and are skills we teach and mentor on at Now.Here.
Having said so, it is equally important to not mistake the skill of meeting our feelings and needs as self-indulgence. “I’m too sad to do anything good now. So to be kind to myself, I’ll just rest in bed and have my tub of ice cream.” - This is self-indulgence; even though it may bring a moment of pleasure, it may ironically harm our well-being. In contrast, the intrinsic care for oneself provides a powerful motivating force for growth and change (which often involves a certain amount of what may seem as displeasure), while also providing the safety needed to see the self clearly without fear of self-condemnation.
So how do we skillfully examine and meet our feelings and needs? Here are 3 steps for you!
Step 1: Make Clear and Non-Judgemental Observations
Imagine yourself as a CCTV camera. Look for facts and observe, like how a camera would … without judgement.
• Clear and non-judgemental observation: The guy is wearing a skirt.
• Judgemental observation: He is a cross-dresser.
- A camera cannot make this judgement/evaluation.
- This may be untrue because he may be a performer, a cosplayer or trendsetter, so on and so forth.
• Clear and non-judgemental observation: I dropped an egg on the floor.
• Judgemental observation: I must be clumsy and stupid. I can’t even handle an egg properly.
- A camera only sees the incident and it makes no evaluation or judgement.
- This may be untrue because it could just be an honest mistake or one is distracted in that moment.
Step 2: Identify the Closest Feeling
After making clear and non-judgemental observations, examine what you are feeling in that moment. Feelings act like a guide that points us to both our met and unmet needs. Many of us are conditioned from a young age to be more in touch with our logical mind than our emotions. As such, our vocabulary of emotions may be limited. We sometimes mistake one emotion for another. An example would be anger versus fear. So here is an inventory list of feelings to help you.
Step 3: Identify the Unmet Need
Now that you are aware of your feelings, discover the unmet need (deep motive) behind this feeling you are feeling. For instance, why are you feeling angry? Is it because you yearn for your opinions to be heard? Are you looking for connection or a sense of belonging? Here is an inventory list of needs to help you identify this unmet need.
Instead of becoming reactive to each difficult moment, this process of examining our feelings and needs allows us to dive deep and respond wisely with our next course of actions. Coupled with our inner compassionate voice, we can slowly develop our innate capacity to care for our own well-being!
This is a blog collaboration project between SOS and Now.Here to offer key insights and practical skills as preventive measures towards suicidal thoughts. This article is contributed by Now.Here., a social enterprise that empowers people with the skills of compassion to experience happiness, flourish and contribute to a better world. Visit them at www.now-here.global.
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