by John McMullin and Leigh Randolph
Are you aware of what you need at work, in relationships, in life? Many of us are so busy making sure everyone else is OK that we not only don’t know if we’re OK, we don’t know how to ask for what we need for life to feel fulfilling. Or perhaps we don’t feel worthy of asking to have our needs met.
One way to look at this matter is whether or not we can receive a compliment. Is it easier to give a compliment than receive one? Most of us feel embarrassed or hide when someone gives us a compliment. Part of our ego attaches shame or fear to the expression because we feel unworthy of receiving acknowledgment. Compliments can also create future expectations that parts of our ego want to avoid. So the interesting paradox is: what we crave, part of us rejects. Many partnerships are dissolved because one partner feels unworthy of someone else’s affection. We can also feel the obligation of returning something greater than what was given to us. Since all humans have emotional needs, is it possible we wall off accepting the adulation of another? Then we feel empty and lonely because we don’t believe we deserve to have our needs met. How do we move beyond starving for attention that we wall off?
Let’s begin with the heart. If we open our heart we can feel the emotional needs of others and begin to find our own. Acknowledging another with a compliment based on our perceptions is a way to make connection with someone else. The connection with others is a need. Those who isolate themselves from others to avoid connection may have a trauma or wound around being vulnerable with others. Their basic human need for connection is not being met and deep within they will feel emptiness and a yearning to be seen. We have to find the connection and intimacy with ourselves before we can truly connect with another. How do we find that?
One way is to slow down the usual, reactive patterns that separate us from our other ego parts and learn to sense what we are really feeling. The concept of really liking ourselves without being self-absorbed allows us to begin to have compassion for our own humanity as well as other people in our life. When we find that, we begin to feel our needs and learn to ask for our needs to be met. We don’t need to pretend that people like us, nor are we seeking approval. It is important to learn to ask for what we need in a relationship and in life, and also know that another may not be able to fill that need. The alternative is to learn to integrate our ego parts to fulfill our needs, or from a Higher Source. Accepting what can be offered to us at the time is just as important as learning to ask for our needs.
We can move beyond using compliments as flattery or seduction (seeking approval) and take ownership of heartfelt feelings. We learn to begin compliments with, “What’s true for me” or “My opinion is” or, “In my experience” as opposed to statements projected onto other people. Once we learn to experience the gratification of delivering a compliment from our perception, then compliments can flow without necessarily being acknowledged by the recipient. We begin to notice the excellence of other people and reflect that as our experience while inviting recipients to accept or reject.
Do you know how to identify your heartfelt needs? Can you slow down and separate wants from needs and notice the feelings attached to both? Can you identify your authentic needs beyond attachment to expectations and plans? Can you identify the unmet need that lies beneath your sense of dissatisfaction? Have you learned to share your needs without attaching shame or fear? Can you make space for your partner to do the same? Have you become sensitive to noticing how your requests have been answered?
We often confuse what we need with expectations. When we expect someone else to be the only source of making us happy or complete we have placed an unrealistic burden upon them. If we can find the deep and profound longing for what we need and share that with our partner without expecting them to be responsible, then we can invite them into our life rather than need them in our life. What is given may appear to miss the mark, however it may also answer our need in an unanticipated way. For example, you may ask for a painful relationship to heal but a deeper answer is found in closing that relationship to open the door to a more blissful one. Asking for what we need and accepting what is given is a process of surrendering the need for control. As we develop the vulnerability from within to ask, we become more grateful for what is given.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
John A. McMullin Sr is the founder of Journeys of Wisdom, Inner Achievement Methods and Director of Holistic Coaching Institute. He sees clients and teaches nationally and internationally. He also publishes SelfGrowthWisdom.com. John can be reached at (614) 975-5433.
Leigh Randolph is retired from a career in dentistry and has been fascinated by the world beyond the five senses for decades. That has led her to working with clients and their dreams through Holistic Integrative Dreamwork, as well as scanning the biofield for stress patterns. She is available both locally and globally. You can reach Leigh at (614) 581-8703.