Tag: connection to people

The Total Self

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In the post, Life Balance, I discussed the most prevalent areas of our lives that need balance and why each is important. The life area called Self is composed of our emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual needs and desires. Due to the complex nature of Self, I’d like to explore each component separately.

Emotional

The emotional aspect of Self determines how we feel about our inner and outer world. What do you need for a full emotional life that serves and supports you? Do you want to be more focused and grounded? Approach life with a more can-do attitude? Radiate more love and joy? React to challenges calmly and confidently? Once you decide the emotions that are important to you, ask yourself what actions to take or habits to adopt in order to bring them into your everyday life.

Intellectual

This is the part of us that needs mental stimulation and growth, and goes well beyond the classroom. It could be learning a new skill or hobby; increasing knowledge about a topic that interests you; challenging your brain with intellectual games or philosophical discussions. Consider what you need to keep your mind alert, interested, and challenged. What do you want to learn, discover, and explore?

Physical

The physical aspect deals with what it takes for you to look and feel your best. What does it take to be strong, healthy, and confident? How do you need to physically care for yourself and others? How would you want to be physically cared for by others? This includes nutrition and exercise; sexual needs; physical contact (a hug, pat on the shoulder or arm, etc). Some people crave a great deal of physical connection—giving and/or receiving—and some people not so much. Either end of the spectrum or anywhere in between is perfectly valid…it depends on what feels right to you.

Spiritual

This is the part that yearns to connect to something bigger than us. While connection to a higher power certainly occurs in religion, it is also possible to achieve through meditation, being in nature, and by practicing the arts…however you can come to a place of reflection, contemplation, and inspiration. Some questions to ask are: What fills your spirit and soul? Gives you comfort, guidance, and support? How do you want to grow spiritually?

Everyone is unique in his or her needs and desires. Awareness of what you require and desire will help you achieve those qualities that bring you balance within the life area of Self.


The Richness of Relationship

Sunburst clouds over ocean

Typically, we think of relationships in terms of our connection to the people we see every day, our friends, our families and ourselves, and perhaps to our immediate environment.

I think relationship goes much deeper than this.

Carl Jung coined the term collective unconscious, which is the idea that we are all connected on an ethereal plane because we share memories from our ancestral and evolutionary past. In this way, we have a relationship with everyone in the world and everyone who came before us.

However, I believe the scope of relationship is even larger than this. Not only are we all connected, but we are also all connected to the things around us.

Think about vegetation for a minute. Plants have an enormous relationship to sustaining life. Yet how often do we think of the relationship of non-human forms as being significant to our lives and well-being? We step on a plant and it dies. But what if you had not stepped on it and it had not died? Perhaps it would have grown into a beautiful peach tree that could have provided sustenance for a hungry person.

I noticed a beautiful Oriole in my yard today. For a moment, I was clearly aware of my relationship to this beautiful bird. I saw its connection to the tree, the sky, and how its song filled the air around me. I wondered how different my life would be if I did not realize that I was in relationship to this Oriole.

It is truly impossible to know the network of interconnectedness that exists and affects all living things. There is simply nothing that is not in relationship to each and every one of us. The secret to seeing the connectivity is a matter of feeling it, allowing ourselves to be aware that we are in relationship to all things.

Here is a short meditation you can practice to expand your awareness of relationship in the world:

  • Take several deep, slow breaths to quiet your mind. Tune in to your environment for a few minutes, while you continue to breathe fully. Notice what you feel and see yourself in relationship with.
  • Now consider what you may have missed. Try widening and narrowing the focus of your senses, and see if your perception changes.
  • Think of how you believe these discoveries affect you and how you affect them. How could you and the things you have relationship to affect others and vice versa? The world?

I would like to end with a quote by Carl Jung that speaks to the power of relationship:

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.


How to Resolve Conflict Through Communication

_807Disagreement is a natural occurrence in life—we all have different opinions, ways of doing things, personalities, and communication styles. However, if one or more of the persons involved don’t communicate openly, or let emotions take over, a disagreement can easily turn into conflict.

Here are some suggestions for resolving conflicts in a respectful and productive way:

  1. Acknowledge the points the other person has made with which you agree; if you don’t agree, acknowledge you’ve heard their point of view. Simply knowing their viewpoint has been heard can go a long way in diffusing conflict. It is also helpful to reiterate in your own words what they said, which not only gives them an opportunity to elaborate on a point, but also to correct any misinterpretations.
  1. When you speak, it is best to keep what you say to your own point of view rather than telling someone how they feel, think, or act. Those are your interpretations of what you experience. Frame your point in a way that lets them know you are only speaking from what you see and feel, which allows them the opportunity to clarify the same situation from their point of view. It is also a chance for them to clear up any misunderstanding.

Look at the subtle but meaningful differences in these examples:

Example 1

“You make me feel unappreciated all the time.” vs. “I feel unappreciated when I hear you say _____.”

Example 2

“Can’t you see I was trying to help you?!” vs. “My intention was to help you. I understand now that is not how you experienced it.”

In both examples, the first response places blame on the other person, whereas the second response communicates your experience in the situation. Which would you rather hear said to you? Blame puts the other person immediately on the defensive and they will in turn block out anything you say, or worse, interpret any further messages as attacks.

  1. Be aware of extreme or emotion-full words (also known as nominalizations). Using words like “every time,” “never,” and “always” may result in the other person going on the offensive to prove you incorrect, thereby allowing them to ignore the point of your message. Also, take care that any emotion-full or more vivid forms of a word are true (e.g., sad versus devastated); if you’re exaggerating for emphasis, your message may lose credibility. Emotional language may trigger the other person to react on your emotion rather than on your message.
  1. Allow the possibility that people can surprise you. We all have the ability to learn, grow, evolve, and change. The longer or more closely you know someone, the harder it is not to jump to conclusions based on past experiences. As Eckhart Tolle said, “The moment you put a mental label on another human being, you can no longer truly relate to that person.” Although you can take note of someone’s patterns, try not to let your awareness keep you from having an open mind.

Express Your Feelings Today

I have invited Yaz Headley of http://thecompletelife.com from the UK to guest blog on my blog for your pleasure:

We can have so many joys and regrets in our lives.

Bronnie Ware wrote a book on “The top five regrets of the dying”. One of the regrets she found was that they often wished they had the courage to express their feelings. So often we bottle up our feelings and think we can maybe, fully express ourselves another day. Will that day ever arise or are we meant to seize the day today, everyday.

Expressing a feeling does not have to be hurtful or painful to another. Expressing feelings can be kind, generous and simply practical. Expressing a feeling helps us to understand how we ourselves feel, something we so often forget to do.

If you do anything today, express at least one feeling not just to yourself but to another. Expressing your feelings is about living and savouring your interpretation of the life you are living. The other four regrets she found were wishing they had chosen to be happier, work less, being more authentic and stayed in touch with friends.

Ware, B., 2012. The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, Hay House UK.

©2012 Yaz.