You’re at a party. You’ve been here for three hours. Bob was there when you arrived. So he’s been here the whole time too.

Yet he’s not spoken a word to you.

You’ve watched him mingle around the others, and he seems to have spoken to everyone else.

But not to you.

How do you feel?

Angry? Hurt? Sad?

Maybe.

But perhaps you’re feeling relieved.

You may not want to speak with Bob. You may find him a total bore. You’re glad he’s not speaking to you.

So there’s Bob, doing the exact same thing. Yet your feelings can be hurt or happy?

It seems that your feelings aren’t about what Bob is doing.

Your feelings are about whether your needs are being met.

If you need some connection with Bob, you feel miserable.

If you need some space from Bob, you feel fine.

People often want to know why they feel down. At its most simple, you feel down because there is a need in you that is not being met.

My guess is that we evolved these feelings for a reason.

Physical pain is useful so that you don’t stand there all night with your hand in the fire.

Emotional pain can be a siren too. When you’re down, it is often a signal to check out your needs.

Here’s a list of needs (PDF).

What is the unmet need (or needs) that jumps out at you.

Now ask yourself – supposing this need was being met, how would you know? What would you see happening? What would you notice yourself doing?

You now have the blueprint for meeting that need. Once met, your feelings will likely follow.

 

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