Hugh Willard, LCMHC, writes an interesting piece on needs.
Abraham Maslow was a seminal figure in psychology. He created his Hierarchy of Needs, which details the upward movement for individuals from the most basic requisite need of the essentials for survival, through safety and security, to emotional connection, esteem and respect, and finally the pinnacle of self-actualization. One will always default to the lowest level of unmet need, Maslow posits. With great respect for Dr. Maslow, while I agree with his idea that we will orient to the most primary unmet needs first, I disagree with his order.
Time and again, we see the behavior of others, or ourselves, being driven by the need for true connection. We may even settle for tenuous or superficial belonging and work really hard to make ourselves believe it to be authentic. We will forgo the more traditional basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter if it entails a relationship for which we assign the value of real connection. The starkest demonstration of this I have witnessed personally is a terminally ill person moving through the process of dying. Subjectively, there is a distinct difference for the dying person who feels truly connected to others. There is greater peace and acceptance. Because of the mercurial nature of humankind, we often make choices in the pursuit of securing or maintaining a bond, that produce disastrous results. Co-dependency is the oft cited word used to describe such behaviors.
If it is true that belonging is more essential than safety, then realistically, we are all somewhere on the continuum of co-dependency. It’s when we tilt over in the direction of being too defined by forces outside of us that we get into trouble. We would do well to be vigilant in our relationships to ensure we are nurturing healthy connections. We cannot live well without them.
Hugh Willard LPC
Here is a post by Hugh Willard, LPC, on anger...
Many, many of us in our society today have an anger problem. Our problem is that we have absolutely no idea of how to use and work with it. Healthy anger gives us proportionate energy to communicate our boundaries, usually when these boundaries have been violated. We tend to be over shooters (too much) and under shooters (too little) with our anger. Regrettably, many of us did not have healthy models in our families growing up; nor have we had enough healthy models in our local communities (ever go to a child’s sporting event and listen to the shouts from the stands?), or on the national stage (pick any number of TV programs, fictitious or reality).
Anger, in any form, is a secondary emotion. The primary emotion that always under girds and fuels our anger, is fear. While we won’t turn off years of mental programming overnight, it is never too late to start learning how to become allies and partners with our anger, so that it will ultimately serve us in the pursuit of health and healthier relationships. As we pay greater attention to our anger responses across experiences, through the dispassionate lens of hindsight, hopefully we can begin to critically judge our reactions.
We can ask ourselves, “what am/was I afraid of?” Exploring the underlying drivers can help us to better use and manage our anger. Where we chronically undershoot, we can work with techniques toward becoming more assertive and active in making choices. Where we overshoot, we can employ strategies to help us relax and slough off excess anger and stress not fitting for the experience at hand.
Read more about Hugh at willowwaycounseling.org
Hugh Willard, LPC shared a great post this week. Let's get to it...insightful.
“Sometimes my masks are insufficient and light breaks in” When I hear someone exclaim “boundaries!”, it is without exception in the context of saying that another person’s boundaries are too loose, or non-existent. That is, the other individual shares too much personal information and/or requests the same from others.
These unsafe dynamics are usually quite easy to spot. But what about the other end of this relational continuum? What happens when a person’s boundaries are too impenetrable? In the world of psychology, one of the more widely accepted basic tenets is that of defenses.
Defenses include such experiences as denial, repression, and rationalization, among many others. Defenses serve a very important and protective role in our emotional health. All too often, however, our defenses outlast the specific circumstances for which they were originally employed.
When this occurs, the protection becomes the poison, cutting us off from the life giving sources of connection with other people and experiences. It can be an act of courage to open ourselves up after painful experiences. Of course, we need to proceed with care, but proceed we must, if we are to heal and grow.
See more of Hugh's work at www.willowwaycounseling.org
This post is by Hugh Willard, LCMHC. Hugh is now practicing at Carolina Counseling Wellness Associates, and we are excited to have his expertise and knowledge on hand. This post came at such an appropriate time, as so much courage is needed for many of us as changes unfold. Check back soon for more!!
"Choose to see me as I choose to see you” Marianne Williamson penned an often cited phrase, “Our greatest fear is not the fear of failure. Rather, it is the fear of success”. It is an act of courage to expose ourselves to the scrutiny of our peers, or to the larger society. Standards can be unrealistic and often only elevate with early success.
We can unwittingly bear the hopes and dreams of others who can remain anonymous while they vicariously rise and fall with our performance. When in this dynamic, we need to remain cognizant that we are ultimately responsible for ourselves. Success, in the eyes of the general public, can be fickle.
Champions are beloved, but not as much as the underdogs, and also-ran . . . well, what have you done for me lately. Envy and resentment can build into the equation. I believe the degree to which we have tolerance for our own successes and failures, will reflect the level of acceptance we also shall have for those around us.
Hugh Willard, LPC
See more of Hugh's work at http://www.willowwaycounseling.org/