What is life about? At one level we are a temporary arrangement of cells, which cannot even be said to be solid at another level we are all we have. What is “real” is extremely hard to be sure of.
At an evolutionary level, life is only about sustaining our genes, at a more metaphysical level it is about evolving as a species, not just physically, but spiritually, intellectually and emotionally.
American psychologist Abraham Maslow identified five levels of needs, physiological, Safety, Love/belonging,
Esteem and Self Actualisation. He arranged these as a triangle with Safety at the bottom and Self actualisation at the top.
We cannot build the higher levels without the solid foundations below. In other words our physiological needs must be met, before we can start to deal with safety, we cannot feel love without safety, we need love and a sense of belonging to feel self esteem and we cannot self actualize to our full potential without self esteem.
In work and relationships it is all too easy to remain stuck in the lower tiers. The absolutely pivotal element is Love and belonging. Without love and a real sense of emotional security our sense of esteem is always at risk and self actualisation remains out of reach.
We cannot achieve esteem in relationships or work without love and belonging. Cannot!
Love, belonging, esteem and self actualisation are where happiness, fulfilment are to be found. If we seek happiness and fulfilment we must create loving relationships and spend time, including work time, in teams and communities where we feel we belong.
In other words if we do not experience love in our relationships or feel we belong at work, we are likely to feel there is something missing in our life.
Doing something about it means that in the very moment we realise that we are not experiencing love or belonging we must also accept and commit to our responsibility for doing something about it – if we desire happiness or fulfilment.
If we take this responsibility immediately there is less liklyhood that the discomfort will grow into a big issue. What usually holds us back from dealing with things, is that we are not confident about what we should do.
The simplest technique is to own your emotions and just to ask questions. Perhaps asking yourself and others why you might be feeling this way.
If the situation has not been delt with and has already escalated beyond the point of simple questioning, seek out expertise to help you work out what to do. Look for ways to modify your own behaviour or situation in order to change the dynamic to one where you can give and receive love, where you can experience and offer belonging.
Life is not a dress rehearsal. It is ok to settle and it is ok to compromise, it is just not ok to settle for compromise. Esteem, happiness, fulfilment and self actualisation are available to all of us. They are not free or easy, they have to be sought and worked for. No one can give them to us – we HAVE to go out and get them.
Ps I wrote this on my phone so apologise for spelling and other errors.