2020 has asked us to re-evaluate what is important, and for many of us the answer has been clear: family, friendship, health, home, nature, and God. As I contemplate those words, I see one thing they all have in common: connection, to each other, ourselves, our roots, the earth, and our Higher Power. If we were to focus on one goal that would nurture our quality of life in 2021, it would be to strengthen our connections.
But how do we do that?
First and foremost, we give ourselves permission to feel, think, need, want, and dream. We give ourselves permission to experience pleasure, desire, joy and rest. We give ourselves permission to make ourselves seen, heard and known. We give ourselves permission to exist.
Then we take responsibility and action.
We say what we feel, we speak and write our emotions. We share our emotions with someone with whom we feel safe. We do the Core Emotion Wheel* every day for as long as it takes to learn the art of vulnerability, authenticity, integrity and emotional honesty.
Also, we learn what our needs are and we ask for them to be met. We take responsibility for having our needs met. We practice saying three of the most important sentences we will ever say: I feel ______. I need ______. Will you help me? It is appropriate to say these sentences to ourselves, our spouses, our children, our parents, our siblings, our friends, and anyone else with whom we are in a close relationship.
When we give ourselves permission to exist, to speak our emotions and prioritize having our needs met, we become energized. We can then use that energy to creatively and intentionally connect with our spouses, children, families, friends and communities without burnout and resentment. In this way our connections become healthier and we all win.
Processing our emotion and getting our needs met is the holy grail of boundless energy. Children have boundless energy because they have an entire army working to meet their needs. The trick is, and where we have all failed to act accordingly, deep down, we are still the same little kids we always were, with needs, dreams, wants, and feelings. We carry so much responsibility, and we think that is what drains us and makes us grumpy, tired and resentful. But in actuality, it is not the responsibility that does this, it is the not processing emotion and not getting our needs met. Process the emotions and meet the needs and we can show up for the responsibilities without burnout.
I see now that I have lived many of my years with that pyramid turned upside down. I try so hard to be there for everyone else at the expense of myself. I try to always do the things I “should” be doing, to need little or, even better, nothing. I do the wrong things for the right reasons, forgetting that few situations in life are improved by not taking care of ourselves.
But I see this new way of living on the horizon. Or maybe it is already here and we are seeing the first fruits of that harvest. I see it as not easy, but simple and straightforward. I see it as us becoming experts at saying what we feel, asking for what we need, taking responsibility for ourselves and in so doing only becoming better with time- better parents, better spouses, better friends, better lovers, better humans.
We have work to do, friends. There is healing, repairing, growing, learning, and evolving to do. But if we focus on our one goal of strengthening our connections in 2021, I believe next year will be our best year yet. The best really is yet to come.
Happy New Year!
*We are doing a 30 Day Core Emotion Wheel Challenge in January! For more details check your inbox for our newsletter or check out our post on Instagram or Facebook. Every participant will have their name entered into a drawing for a FREE session with Dr. Glenn and Phyllis!