How do you feed the need to feel love and connected?
My experience with my family has been to feel love and connection through card games, wine and spirits, movies, and delicious food at the holiday season. Sound familiar?
And now that my family has evolved on so many levels, I am creating new rituals and ways of connecting that are nourishing for me and more fulfilling and in some ways, replacing the ways of numbing out which left me feeling very disconnected.
We all have the need to experience a variety of different emotions. Tony Robbins, John Burton, Abraham Maslow, and Paul Sites have studied this work as it has evolved over the years.
Understanding the 6 Human Needs will give you the tools to better understand how one might use food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, gambling, and even sex (just to name a few) as ways we attempt to meet our emotional needs.
We all navigate the world based on these needs and the more you understand this concept the more compassion you have for yourself and those around you.
Here are the six human needs:
- Love and Connection
When we seek to understand ourselves and how we connect, we better understand others. When we apply this concept of human needs psychology, we can become more intuitive with our food and our relationship with our body and discover what it is we really hunger for.
The six human needs are in all of us at different points in our lives. Sometimes we need more of one than another. Take note of which ones you value the most and the negative or positive ways that you get those needs met.
Need #1 CERTAINTY: The first need is our need for certainty.
Being able to increase pleasure and avoid pain involves certainty. We all desire this need to be met in different ways in our lives. As a baby, we need to be certain we will eat, sleep, and be held to feel safe. As a teenager, we need to be certain that we will be accepted and belong in a peer group.
Some of us may want certainty around what we will have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We want to feel safe and secure and often we resist change because it is unknown and could be uncomfortable.
Lifestyle change can be one of those unknowns, because we don’t know what a healthy life looks like or feels like and if we will be accepted and safe.
Food can make us feel full, safe and grounded. We use it to comfort us when we are lonely, sad, or frustrated. We can avoid our problems with food because we are certain it will relieve our discomfort, at least in the short term.
News flash…we all eat emotionally. In some way we feed, soothe, or avoid life with food, or alcohol. Some of us may tend to numb instead of nourish.
Need #2 UNCERTAINTY
Our bodies and minds need and require uncertainty and surprise to varying degrees.
Some people get variety to a small degree by watching suspenseful tv series, while others may seek high risk activities to meet their need for uncertainty and variety in their life.
This was quite an Aha for me being the thrill seeker that I am and explains so much for me…and offers awareness and opportunity to meet my need for variety without so much risk, if I choose to:)
With food, we can seek variety or even excitement when we are bored. We know that sugar tickles the dopamine center (same center tickled by high risk activities and sex) giving us that hit of pleasure.
We can avoid boredom or even procrastinate with food. I know that if I am working on a daunting project that is hard emotionally, I reach for dark chocolate even when I know I am not hungry. It’s like a little hit of pleasure to help get me through the tough experience.
Need #3 SIGNIFICANCE
We all have a need to feel significant, unique and important.
People that are harsh critics, perfectionists, bullies, are all examples of what we do or become to gain significance. And often we commiserate with each other to gain significance, the quickest way to get significant is to have a problem that can’t be solved.
Need #4 LOVE AND CONNECTION
The need for Love and Connection is one of our basic but so important human needs, and one that most of us know and can relate to.
Babies need to feel connected to their mothers while teenagers need to connect with their peers and feel loved and connected.
Adults seek romantic love and finding a soul mate to feel loved and connected. Women may feel love and connection through a ladies night out with wine, cheese and crackers. Aha! This is one of my favorite ways to connect with my girlfriends!
When it comes to food, we use food for love and connection all the time. During the holidays we gather over food. We celebrate weddings with food and even after a funeral, there is more food.
Life is plain hard sometimes and we use food and alcohol to feel connected when what we are truly feeling is pitiful, lonely, and sad. Food/alcohol helps us cope either with ourselves or others.
Is there anyone that you see over the holidays that you might think “drives you to drink”? There are other nourishing ways to love and connect that I will share.
Humans often connect with each other over food and can keep each other stuck and prevent us from evolving and changing for the better.
Need #5 GROWTH
We need to grow!
When we stop growing, we feel like we are dying and become stagnant. We can grow intellectually, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Anything that you want to cherish in your life must be nourished. So, your job, relationships, marriage, your happiness and love all need care and cultivating to grow!
Doing something you used to love as a kid, dancing, riding a bike or a horse, painting, singing, or even diving into something new are all ways we can grow. We can also enroll in a training to cultivate growth in our relationships or our work.
You can also have negative growth when you become cynical that true change can occur and become a resigned human being, stagnant, and stuck. The level of growth you experience directly affects your level of fulfillment in this world!
For example, if you find yourself thinking, I will never be able to run a marathon, never have and never will. Or I can never lose the post-baby fat, it’s always been there and that’s just how it is. Or I could never give up coffee, I just couldn’t function without it!
Need #6 CONTRIBUTION
The need to go beyond your own needs and give to others is the need for contribution.
A life is incomplete without the sense of giving back or contributing to a cause. Everyone is special and has divine gifts and has the capacity to contribute in some way.
Giving to others may mean giving time to your family and becoming a good parent, writing a book, making a donation, or doing community service.
Healthy nourishing whole foods can contribute to the well-being of your body and that is a positive contribution.
You can contribute in negative ways when it is destructive to yourself, the planet or others. Eating until you are sick or tempting others to eat or drink in unhealthy ways is negative contribution.
You don’t need to do something enormous to give yourself a false sense of significance and it is not required that you save the world, even if you feel compelled to do so.
Taking the necessary steps to care for yourself and your health is enough!
In this way you can also positively impact others and their well-being as well.
So, this holiday season, where can you find more fulfilling self-nourishing ways to meet your emotional needs?
Reaching for a puzzle to connect instead of a movie with a glass of wine, which when I really feel into movies on the couch with a glass of wine, doesn’t feel like connection at all.
Although, I would be lying if I said I don’t want to see CATS and the new Star Wars this Christmas. I just won’t be calling that connection time, that’s my unplug and escape reality time, or meeting my need for uncertainty and suspense. Let’s call it what it is!
We all contribute in one way or another, the question is, are we doing it positively or negatively?
Some different ways you could self-nourish this holiday season to meet your needs might be:
- Go for a holiday spritzer with a splash of cranberry instead of another cocktail
- Find a new and interactive game you can play with family or friends
- Get an Airbnb when you visit family if you need to have your space to do your daily rituals and care for yourself best
- Take a walk after you eat before reaching for more
- Tap into intuitive eating and ask yourself if you really want more? Pecan pie, eggnog, serving of mac and cheese, glass of wine
- If folks dive into a movie and you feel restless, grab your favorite book and nourish yourself in that way
The point is…you have options!
If you would like to learn more about what you really hunger for in life, check out my new Online Program Finally Free, finding peace with food and your body, a 7-week workshop series. Kicks off Jan 15th, 2020 with only 3 spaces available.
Please leave a comment, I would love to hear your share!
Happy Holidays and much love to you!
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