Love helps orient you to what is life-energizing and healing. This is true for the cells of your body, between family members, partners, as well as communication between nations. Life is an interconnecting web of connection based on needs. It is important to acknowledge that we each have needs for connection and harmony in our lives. The process of identifying and healing these needs starts at the personal level.
Your ability to love is equal to your ability to tell the truth about your feelings and needs. Love and bonding also depends on how coherently your life needs were met at the start of life. Ray Castellino and Dr. William Emerson suggest that everything that happens to you prenatally, during your birth process, and your first years contribute to how you respond to life’s challenges. It is the blueprint for your relationships. Being seen and heard for who you are, and allowed to explore and return to the safety of your caretakers impacts how you perceive life and relationship. If life needs are not met in a coherent way early on, your ability to resonate with understanding, appreciation, forgiveness and love for self and others diminishes. You can only see and experience the wholeness of another to the degree you can see and feel the wholeness of yourself. Healing internal conflicts brings peace to your body-mind system, expands your capacity for loving relationships and contributes to creating empathy for humanity and the planet.
“Everything we do is in service of our needs. When this one concept is applied to our view of others, we’ll see that we have no real enemies, that what others do to us is the best possible thing they know to do to get their needs met.” -Marshall Rosenberg
When there is coherent flow of energy between people in a relationship, there is motivation, capacity to build on differences, expression of loving and healthy boundaries and a drive to return to union or stability. How you observed your parents moving through conflict creates an imprint of what conflict means to you, and how and if conflict can be resolved. Your conflict style may, in fact, be a response or reaction to what you observed in your early experience of life.
When there is non-coherent energy flow in a relationship with unresolved conflict, this can lead to a feeling of inadequacy, of blaming another for your feelings and pain, or a diminished ability to accept the other for who and where they are. Arguments, negative habits, and behaviors deplete each person and the relationship. These are clues that unmet life needs are speaking. This can result in anger, depression, guilt or shame. These feelings are messengers that help you listen to what is needing your attention in your life.
A loving relationship is not about being free of stress or resistance. It is about growing wings to reach greater compassionate understanding of self and other. Places where personal life needs have not been resolved are opportunities for expanded awareness and healing. This means looking at non-coherent patterns, resistant issues, and the type of relationship issues you attract. Resolving them internally creates new patterns and possibilities for greater harmony.
“The fruit of self-understanding is self acceptance. The fruit of self-acceptance is self-love. The fruit of self-love is love for the world. The fruit of love for the world is service to the world. The fruit of service to the world is peace.” -Russell Rowe
Love is the universal energy of life. Empathy is an expression of love. When you can connect and truly listen to another there is greater capacity for contentment, peace of mind and understanding. It empowers you and others to reach for the best possible inside. When you appreciate what you have learned, it helps you integrate new awareness and solutions into your life so you can apply and grow from the experience. Empathy leads to greater relaxation, pleasure and bonding, and helps to support meeting challenges in your life with greater enthusiasm, success and joy. When we recognize that every human being has the same basic life needs, we have greater respect for our common humanity.
MODALITY: The first step is awareness. As a practice, start by listening more deeply to your inner needs. Write down the BASIC LIFE NEED List on a piece of paper. Check in with yourself to see if any of these are not now in your life. Use the list to help connect your feelings and needs.
BASIC LIFE NEEDS: Bonding-Closeness-Harmony-Nurturing-Security-Trust-Sleep-Protection-Boundaries-Positive Touch- Appreciation-Respect-Being Understood-Space-Light-Play-Laughter *
Carry this list with you as you go through the day. These are messengers for you that will make a difference in the quality of your wellness and sense of well-being. When you are feeling some form of stress or come to a standstill in a conflict that’s producing feelings of anger, shame, guilt or fear, look at your list. Is there something on the list that stands out for you? What need is speaking most?
Example: You are feeling overwhelmed by deadlines, too many tasks and not enough downtime. You feel angry because it feels as if there is no end to the amount you have to do, and the list continues to get bigger. You are blaming your boss, partner, family. You check your list. Are needing SPACE, SLEEP or RESPECT? Is there something you need to express? Do you need to set loving boundaries? Is there a new awareness about a need that you haven’t seen before? For instance, are you multi-tasking to get appreciation, yet it is not showing up? Is you multi-tasking creating an avoidance or keeping you from resolution of an inner conflict? How does this awareness make you feel? What actions are you drawn to take?
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RESOURCES for further research:*Basic Life Needs List from Quantum Change Made Easy by Chloe Wordsworth. Dr. Ray Castellino’s work and trainings: http://www.castellinotraining.com/products/ The Gottman Institute: http://www.gottman.com