I’ve been reading two apparently disparate books that seem oddly connected, as they have related ideas about unexpected topics. A book about depression and one about energy both have interesting things to say about relationships and needs.
“Creating Optimism” by Bob Murray and Alicia Fortinberry is a seven step program for overcoming depression with a 94 percent success rate based on follow-up questionnaires. Step 1 is: Identify & defeat the inner saboteur, Step 2: Reconnect to your body, Step 3: Create Healing Relationships, Step 4: Elevate your self-esteem, Step 5: Uncover your competence, Step 6: Access the power of shared purpose, and Step 7: Deepen your relationship to the divine.
The book describes eight fundamentals of happiness: connection to others, autonomy, self-esteem, competence, purpose, connection to your body, connection to nature, and spirituality. As human beings are relationship-forming creatures, a large portion of the book is devoted to connection to others. The authors contend that a relationship is the mutual satisfaction of need.
Six actions for creating healing relationships are: 1. Discover your functional relationship needs in all areas of your life. 2. Prioritize needs and define your bottom line. 3. Give your needs to others. Find out their needs of you. 4. Negotiate needs and set consequences. 5. Create rules, roles, and rituals. 6. Expand your network of lasting, strong, and supportive friendships.
Functional needs are: 1. Action oriented: about doing, not about thinking or feeling. 2. Concrete and specific. 3. Appropriate: fitting and realistic. 4. Doable: possible to be met.
To communicate different priority levels of needs, think of a stoplight. Red means essential to survival, yellow needs are important but negotiable, and green are wants that would be nice to have.
In “The Energy Prescription,” Connie Grauds says fear and loss of self lead to disconnection from the limitless sea of energy we live in. We renew energy when we reconnect with eight gateways: mind/soul, breath, water, food, exercise, nature, relationship, and altruism or contribution. The final chapter has checklists to evaluate each gateway, along with prescriptions for increasing energy.
A shift in consciousness occurs when we pause, disconnect from fear and reconnect with the energy of life. Fear is a normal response to threat that can become a chronic habit even when threat is not present. When we bring awareness to our life experience, we can respond without unconsciously reacting from fear. We can choose thoughts that generate rather than deplete energy.
Fear only produces more fear. It distorts our perceptions, beliefs and behaviors, and complicates our relationships. It is the cause of all painful struggles, conflicts and misunderstandings. When we operate from fear, we struggle to get our own needs met, often with the opposite effect. As we shift awareness, love and energy overflows in kindness or helpful acts for others, and flows back to us. Intentions that come from love are of a higher level than those that do not.
Healthy relationships contribute to our happiness but are not the main source of happiness. When relationships are presumed to be the primary source of spirit energy, they are burdened with impossible demands to fulfill a need that only Spirit can fill. Love is giving and receiving spirit energy as kindness and presence without expectation, possessiveness, jealousy or attachment. Relationships are opportunities to magnify spirit energy through spiritual contact with others. When we connect with love, we are better able to meet the needs of others and ourselves.
See also: Do a Needs Analysis
Read more: MarriageBuilders