Reflection time: reconnecting to the fundamental human need to be loved and to connect with others


Being a therapist for the past 15 years — specialising in working with relationships, not only with couples but with much of the focus on family relationships — along with working with young people on peer relationships—, time and time again I’ve seen how a lack of trust seems to keep increasing as it has become socially acceptable to walk away the moment situations get difficult rather than try to work through our problems or issues.

Of course relationships can be hard, but they are meant to be hard. Otherwise, how do we develop and grow to value our struggles and learn from them?

The current message seems to be: “If it gets too hard, then just leave.” When the right thing to do is to leave for the correct reasons then absolutely one should walk away. However, the current message seems to be that everything is replaceable, when in reality it is not.

We live in a society where everything is so disposable — be it clothes, appliances, down to even the important, fundamental human core requirements such as relationships and friendships.

With the age of social media, we are being programmed to view the world in such a superficial way, influenced to look, behave and act in ways that are far from the core truth of ourselves. It is amazing to me that intelligent people are being encouraged to act dumb to fit in to this pretense, in order to feel accepted and to ‘fit in’ to society. I often wonder how we fall into these traps—which highlight how powerful the media is—but, more importantly, I find myself asking the question: “Is this our way of ‘fitting in’ now?” By not feeling part of anything or connected to anyone?

Living in such preoccupied times, we are missing out on the real crucial elements of what we truly crave — the core fundamental needs of every human being — , which are the need to be loved and to connect with others in a real authentic way. Otherwise all we are doing is going through the motions of living, feeling empty and isolated from life and no matter what we do we never feel truly fulfilled.

I am fascinated by the illusion that we create in our minds and then live by, an illusion that is led partly by the media’s messages to us, which we instill in our psyche and come to believe. If you hear something over and over again, you start to believe it, right? What happened to believing in yourself and promoting being kind and understanding of one another? Don’t get me wrong, we are all influenced by these messages and fall into this trap.

I always start sessions with clients breaking down some of these illusions. For example:

Expectations: we all have them, none of us know what they are, yet we all know when they are not being met!

Needs: we all have them, none of us know what they truly mean, yet we know when they are not being met!

Unless we truly understand what we are wanting or needing for ourselves, how can we ask this of another person? It is a trap where we never get what we want or desire. I often hear, “I just want to be happy or supported,” by a partner, family member, or friend, but if you don’t understand what makes you happy, how is this achievable? This is not an unspoken rule that everyone can just easily pick up on, especially if you don’t know what this means yourself; it becomes just another illusion we are suffering from.

Unless we truly understand what we are wanting or needing for ourselves, how can we ask this of another person?

Let’s be logical. The idea of ‘support’ can mean different things to each of us, as we are all unique individuals. What makes me feel supported might not make the other person feel supported. We spend a lot of wasted time acting out what we think is going to make the other person feel supported, instead of just asking! This may sound like its common sense, doesn’t it? Most things are, but if we knew the right answer we would do it, surely! The truth is we do not know what makes us happy, supported, or what we really want, even though we do know when we are not feeling these things.

Isuppose the moral of this story is to start making time to connect to yourself, building a loving and trusting relationship with you first and foremost. Once we can achieve this with ourselves, we can do it with others. It is not big steps that make big differences in our lives, it’s the small steps. Life is an ongoing journey, and being able to take 10 minutes a day just to sit, do some mindfulness meditation, and understand how you are feeling instead of running away from feelings or going for a swim, will help you have a more fruitful start to your day and a better outlook on life and yourself.

Trust your own inner messages rather than the ones we are being conditioned to believe in, this will then help you believe in you. Trust your instincts, they are never wrong, and be true to yourself.