Belonging is an innate need. It is how we know where we fit, what is expected of us, what areas we can safely push the boundaries, and somewhere to retreat to.
Home should be a place where we feel all these things – unfortunately that is not always the case.
So many families have been affected by the choices and actions of those around them. Being a system, like a mobile, one aspect cannot avoid being affected. This is incredibly dangerous for children growing up within families. Sometimes when parents and those around them make mistakes, it can be used as helpful for the children – in ways of demonstrating that even adults make mistakes and have the courage to apologise. For others, it can have harsh consequences.
Children can grow up in life searching for that safe area to retreat to, using only their internal resources that have often been neglected and malnourished. Adults who have had childhoods like this can certainly turn things around and make different choices – though this becomes very difficult when the healthy values have not been instilled in the first place.
So how can one fulfill that need of belonging and safety?
The key tool is self-awareness.
We cannot challenge our thoughts and ideas to see if they are healthy or know where they came from, if we do not have self-awareness.
How does one develop self-awareness?
This is a lengthy, ongoing, empowering journey that we all need to embark on throughout our life.
This involves taking on different tasks such as:
- Taking a step back
Sometimes we need to just stop of a moment and analyse the situation. What is happening? What am I feeling? Who is involved?
- Playing the devil’s advocate
The best way to challenge whether your thoughts and actions are healthy and true is to argue against them. If you argue different angles, you get a better picture of what is actually happening without well-intended emotions clouding the image.
Taking time to explore and investigate the “whys”. Why is this happening? Why am I feeling this way? Why am I involved? Identifying these “whys” can help us to put context around what is happening.
Through these activities, we can develop our self-awareness which allows us to tend to our true needs. Those needs which may have been neglected throughout our lives – whether intentional or unintentional.
The first step is a question – let’s see where the journey takes us!