Life isn’t a straightforward path. It’s a series of undulating rhythms, a dance between happiness and dissatisfaction, echoing through our days, months, and years. These fluctuations are windows into our internal wellbeing, silent indicators that speak volumes about our needs and desires. Regardless of where we stand, there’s this unspoken yearning for something more, something better.
We often confine discussions about 'quality of life' to the diseased and dying, overlooking its relevance to us all. Yet, our individual wellbeing ripples through our relationships. Sometimes, in our dedication to others, we neglect ourselves. What happens when this altruism starts draining our emotional reserves, leaving us drained, fatigued and unable to support those we love in the way they need? Prioritizing our own wellbeing isn’t selfish; it's essential for the very fabric of our interconnected world.
At the Holistic Healing Fair I asked, “What does your heart hunger for?” and the community wrote in—a wall of desires for connection, identity, confidence, love, and countless aspirations. But underneath those broad terms lie deeper, more personal cravings. How many recognize the nuance of their yearnings? In this piece, I’d like to share with you a process that we may use to bridge the gap between aspiration and fulfillment.
Recognizing these needs is just the beginning. This sort of healing is about diving deeper, understanding our unique yearnings, and decoding the essence of our desires. Our journey leads us to rewrite the stories of our lives, to reshape our health and redefine our identities. It’s about crafting narratives that fill our lives with what we truly need for fulfillment.
Once we acknowledge our unmet needs, we step into the realm of owning our emotions and insecurities, allowing ourselves to experience them without letting them dictate our path. As we grow more mindful and attuned to our limiting thought patterns and beliefs, we pave the way to embark on a transformative journey, gaining sovereignty over our narratives, health, and identities.
Occasionally, the persona we project doesn't quite match the person we feel ourselves to be inside, creating a sense of dysphoria. Imagine possessing a magic mirror revealing the best version of yourself—the embodiment of your dreams. How would that reflection appear?
In my Health Coaching sessions, imagining an ideal day is a go-to practice. Picture waking up into a day that feels perfect, embracing the sensations of the morning—feeling refreshed, cocooned in warmth, and immersing yourself in your room's ambiance. Go through your day scene by scene and note the differences between the ideal and reality. It is in these differences we can begin to explore making changes to better reflect an improved quality of life. This exercise taps into the power of visualization, a technique revered in various fields, including professional sports. The ability to hold space for these visions, free from expectations or skepticism, shows that what you envision for yourself is closer than you might believe. Recognizing these genuine desires and aligning your reality to them and your values catalyzes the synchronizing of daily routines and habits with these aspirations. Progress often emerges subtly, noticeable only upon reflection of how far you've come.
Tapping into emotions, especially the strong negative ones, often reveals those unmet needs hiding within. Acknowledging that we're not solitary beings in fulfilling our needs is crucial—relationships and communities play a pivotal role in supporting us. Not all of us have strong community or healthy relationships, but there are opportunities to join them, such as is offered with the Hungry Hearts Society. This understanding lightens the heavy weight of self-expectation and highlights the significance of interconnectedness.
At the same time, recognizing that others have their own needs and practicing empathy and compassion fosters an environment of Unconditional Positive Regard—extending support despite actions. This is a concept popularized by psychologist Carl Rogers and you can learn more here. While it is a term used in the mental health world, it is a useful tool for us to have in approaching any relationship, regardless of its depth
Envision extending support to yourself despite slipping up on something you are trying to change. Apply this same compassion inward; How could this shift transform your internal dialogue? Could it have a profound ripple effect on your health? Granting yourself permission to experience emotions and discerning whether their root patterns truly serve your wellbeing is an important aspect of this journey. As we navigate through these patterns, letting go might require patience and space akin to a grieving process. In these times, meditation and visualization serve as stabilizers and guides, preserving motivation amidst the turbulence of change and grief.
Ultimately, staying present and navigating through these emotions and patterns is the path to growth. It's a process of shedding what no longer serves us to pave the way for personal evolution. It's about honoring the path of self-discovery, allowing ourselves to become the architects of our narratives, weaving a story that aligns with our deepest desires and aspirations.
Once we've delved into recognizing our internal patterns and dialogues, the next stride is taking ownership of them. Many of these patterns trace their roots back to experiences from our past, even if those experiences weren't always positive. They've contributed to shaping the people we are today. While I don't intend to diminish the challenges or traumas that have molded us, I choose to operate from a standpoint of agency and presence. We can't rewrite our pasts, but we can claim ownership of our present habits, patterns, behaviors, and emotions for agency over our futures...