Why Care About Your Holistic Nature?
Balanced–Physical and Mental
Let’s pretend that you are a wife, mom of 2 kids in their mid-20’s, sister to 5 siblings, and you have elderly parents. On top of all that, you have an executive position in a corporation, working 50+ hours/week. You’re busy. You’re juggling a lot of balls in the air, and you don’t want to drop one.
But if you’re like many busy women, you may be lucky to focus on two of the four legs, physical and mental health. For you, this looks like working out 3 times/week and eating healthily most days. Whatsmore, you analyze your decisions thoughtfully. You’ve always valued education, being smart, and getting promoted.
Emotions Are Messy
However, when it comes to emotions, you find them inconvenient and messy. You’ve never been religious or spiritual. You just figure when it’s your time to go, that’s it. There will be no more of you. End of story. You honestly try not to think about it much because it’s depressing.
At this point in your life, you’re doing OK. You’re not unhappy, but you’re also not happy. Your relationships feel a little rocky, truth be told. You and your husband don’t make quality time for each other. Your kids feel brushed off by you because you’re always so busy.
In a recent review at work, you learned through an anonymous HR survey that your employees perceived you as uncaring. “Those ingrates,” you muttered under your breath, “I do so much for them.”
We already know you have zero relationship with a Higher Power.
Impact of Two-Legged Physical and Emotional Table
Placing low priority on the emotional realm affects two key areas of your life: your relationships and your career life.
Having spirituality as an afterthought is impacting you in a way that you’re probably not aware of–leaving you with a felt sense of unsafety and lack of support.
Having solid emotional and spiritual legs helps you to feel supported and securely connected in life. A Harvard study showed that the key to Happiness is Healthy Relationships. Full stop. It’s vital to feel safe and supported by others and by Life (God, Higher Power, etc.) to be happy.
Balanced–Emotional and Spiritual
You’ve always been very emotional, highly sensitive, and in tune with other people’s emotions.
You like to write down your thoughts and feelings to connect to yourself. Yet when it comes to making decisions, you tend not to think things through and make compulsive choices that later bite you in the butt.
Your Body Isn’t Your Priority
Your body and physical health have never been your priority. Aside from walking your dog and gardening, you’re not interested in working out or minding your carbs/calories. You’re not into cooking, and so you tend to eat out a lot. You stay up late and don’t sleep very well.
Though you have decent relationships and people tend to love you for your generosity, you tend to over-give and feel resentful. You lack energy and find it hard to be present with others.
Do you see how you need to consider all 4 legs to have a balanced, happy life? When two legs, or even one leg, gets out of balance, it negatively impacts even the balanced leg. For instance, in the second example, because you don’t have a lot of energy physically, it impacts your relationships and your ability to be present with others.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Another way to categorize your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual selves is by looking at your needs. You have physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization needs, and they need to be met in that order of necessity.
Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist (1908 to 1970) who created Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.
Maslow stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and that some needs take precedence over others. Your most basic need is for physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates your behavior. Once that level is fulfilled the next level up is what motivates you, and so on.
I use Maslow’s heirarchy of needs to figure out where to start with a client. It’s important to get your physical safety needs met solidly (about 80%), before focusing on the emotional realm of Love, Belonging and Self-Esteem. Once your emotional needs are met, you can focus on self-actualization in the upper part of the pyramid.
- Feels safe in her skin/nervous system and lovingly parents herself the way her inner child perhaps never was.
- Stops tolerating doormat behaviors (taking over-responsibility for others, trying to be perfect, trying to gain others’ love and approval) that came about because she felt the need to please others.
- Sees her worth and receives support.
- Gives herself the benefit of the doubt, knowing “I AM Enough!”
Preview of the 9 Loving Self-Advocate Attributes
In order to become a Loving Self-Advocate, you need to be able to see yourself through clear, loving lenses.
I developed this content through my own personal experience of life, and I used Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as the foundation to organize it.
The first three attributes pertain to safety in the physical realm, the next three to trust in the emotional realm, and the last three to creativity in the spiritual realm. The mental realm is incorporated throughout as you have beliefs about all three aspects of life.
1. (Safety) Balanced Self-Discipline
2. (Safety) Enough, Not Overly Reliant
3. (Safety) Organized, not Rigid
4. (Trust) Humble, not a Doormat
I have healthy relationships because I honor MY values and I respect theirs. I know how to set loving boundaries that bless me and still keep loving connection with others even when we want and value different things.
5. (Trust) Responsible, not Righteous
I take responsibility for my choices, thoughts, and feelings without harsh self-judgment and therefore have greater impact and influence. No one is making me feel a certain way. “I’m in charge of how I perceive things, and I choose to respond in a way that honors my values.”
6. (Trust) Expressive, not Aggressive
7. (Creativity) Worthy, not Entitled
8. (Creativity) Loving, not Controlling
9. (Creativity), Creative, not Chaotic
Do you relate to these 9 attributes? Over the next 9 blogs, I will break each one down further and show you the extremes on the spectrum and how to get your needs met in a healthy, balanced, holisitic way.