What is your need? I don’t mean the need of what you desire that should, or could, be fulfilled by others. I mean the need you have to share a part of yourself. The need to share that piece of yourself that serves others and causes you to feel that you, as a person, have significance.
So what is your need?
Each of us, I believe, has both the need to be fulfilled and the need to fulfill others. We have physical and emotional needs that we want satisfied to achieve a sense of completeness, wholeness, and humanity. Most of us have a desire to contribute something to the larger world whether in our work or as a volunteer. As social beings, we have a need to feel connected and be part of what makes others feel happy, comforted, and connected. There is such a wide range of emotions that our actions can span.
The dilemma I have experienced is the compulsion to share part of myself in the attempt to help another person in some way, large or small. When this compulsion focuses on them, I have neglected the innate wisdom and ability to seek my own fulfillment. Early childhood messages, verbal and unspoken, formed a desire to take care of others, sometimes to the detriment of my own happiness, self-care, or independence.
“Awareness is like a big stage upon which lots of sights, sounds, tastes, touches, smells, thoughts, feelings, memories, and wants pop up for a bit and then pass away. All this is in your consciousness, but mainly in the background. The spotlight of attention bounces around the stage, lighting up one thing after another.”
“Feel Complete” from Psychology Today by Rick Hanson Ph.D.
Who Is In the Driver's Seat?
One way to look at controlling our thoughts and actions might be with an analogy. I will use driving as an analogy. Who is your internal driver? Who is it that chooses actions, or inactions, based on a particular situation I may observe? Am I in the driver’s seat? Or am I satisfied to be in the front seat, but in the passenger seat? From that passenger seat I can see almost everything the driver sees, but don’t have the ability to correct my route or avoid something potentially dangerous. I may reach the desired destination on a direct path, or it may be more indirect and that might not be as enjoyable to me, but is out of my control. I might occasionally make an outburst from the passenger seat, or make a physical movement or sound because I think the driver hasn’t seen something that might endanger both of us. The passenger seat may be the most unsatisfying seat to occupy. I feel fairly certain we have all experienced both of these positions; driver and passenger.
Now, this does not mean that we ever have control of everyone and everything, all the time, in all situations. My influence or input is mine to share, but the other person’s choice to receive it or not. Where is my level of attachment to that input and how willing am I to share and then release whatever the outcome may be for that person?
Today I felt a keen impulse to reflect and write. There was something so urgent that I could not ignore it. Have you ever felt that way about something? It may not be the urge to write it down, but something you felt compelled to share it in some way with another. When that happened to you, what was the outcome? Was what you shared heard, valued, and received openly? Or was what you shared ignored, discounted, or maybe even created a disagreement? How do I balance what I have to share in a healthy manner?
You might notice I seem to be asking a lot of questions. That is true. I find diving in and contemplating things can be a fascinating process that evokes surprising outcomes. I also admit sometimes I spend too much time overthinking, but that’s for another blog. LOL. I hope you will indulge in this blog about needs and sharing.
Often the need to share comes from our personal past experience(s). Our desire to spare others some unnecessary pain or trauma can be an honest motivation to share. The reality though is that we each have to learn our own lessons. That doesn’t exclude me from offering input to others, but I must not be driven by a self-serving desire to possess the answers for anyone else. Each person’s journey is personal, individual, and private. Can I be satisfied in the passenger seat with another as they seek answers to their own questions and challenges?
I feel like I am on a threshold at this point in my life. What is that threshold? Is it moving away from someone or something? Or is it moving towards, or is it a sense of both? Think about standing on the threshold of a doorway. Pause in that space either physically or by visualizing it, and sense what is happening in that moment or about that situation. Do I anticipate something good as I move forward or is it more a sense of dread? Have you been in friendships or relationships where you hesitate to set a date to get together because you aren’t sure if it will be enjoyable or simply something you do out of habit or a sense of obligation? Long-term relationships can carry a lot of baggage and the choice may not be simple.
I have had that happen with friends who always expect me to initiate setting a date to meet. I have often asked why that is the case. Is it simply the habit that I have perpetuated and they are perfectly happy to wait for my invitation? I ask myself if this is a mutual relationship. I often ponder if it is a one-sided relationship. What can I do to change that pattern or is it too late?
I have expressed my frustration about this and requested more of a shared role with some friends and family. With one friend my frustration was heard and the pattern has changed which makes my need for more mutuality fulfilled. In another instance, it appears to remain the same and I am in the position of choosing whether I allow time to pass without connecting and remain in a ‘wait and see’ position. This feels like being in the passenger seat, but sometimes I’m tired of doing all the driving. Do you have a relationship that falls into this pattern? What can you do to make it more satisfying and joyful? If you have your own experience with changing these types of situations, I’d love to hear some of your wisdom.
The Seasons Are Changing
Just as the seasons change, I can sense the shifting within me to be a bit more introspective about life and make some very intentional choices. What do I want in my life, my business, my friendships, and my family? What choices are open to me and am I willing to explore the different possibilities? I am apprehensive about the search. I have spent too much time contemplating and rehashing the questions and the possible benefits vs negative consequences that might result. Are any of these life-threatening? Most of the time this is not the case. There certainly can be unpleasant consequences, but we have all lived through some of those and can tell the stories of the lessons we learned, or didn’t learn.
I recently shared a meme on social media about our decisions not necessarily having to be forever decisions. One person responded that some decisions need to be forever decisions. That is true. But I also believe that many of our decisions will not be forever decisions and we put unnecessary weight on them rather than allowing ourselves to learn from whatever the outcome might be. If we embark on one choice as we cross the threshold, do we give ourselves wholeheartedly to it, or with reservations? Do we receive the joy of the successes (whatever those may be for you), or adapt and adjust to the aspects that did not produce the outcome we desired? There are so many questions that keep coming up, but I think I have shared enough of them.
Many of these types of musings are the catalyst behind the inspiration decks I have created for Be Well And Renew. It is so satisfying to hear others find value in the short and simple messages in these card decks. Simply reading the messages in these card decks can sometimes generate thoughtful and intentional changes in our thoughts and actions.
My latest deck is, There Is A Bump In the Road, which I introduced a few months ago after my fall and injury that required surgery. This created a pause in the therapeutic part of my business. The deck reflects on the lessons learned and other lessons that were reinforced during my healing journey. The 25-card deck could be something you might enjoy, or it could be a gift to someone you know that may be experiencing a challenge physically or emotionally, personally or professionally. It could be a health challenge as I experienced, but these lessons easily apply to life in general. Lessons often present themselves and offer us moments of profound expansion.
My wish is always for you to Be Well. Reach out to pre-order and secure a pre-launch price of $10.95 for this deck, There Is A Bump In the Road. The regular price will be $15.95. I invite you to reach out through the contact page on my website, or any of my social media channels, bewellandrenew, on FB or IG or LinkedIn. Of course, there are many other card decks with varying themes for you to choose from and enjoy or gift to someone.
May you find answers to your needs on the threshold of your wonderful life.