advertisement

The Basics

Self-Therapy For People Who ENJOY Learning About Themselves

Basics #1: Your Needs and Wants

What every eight-year-old should know and most adults have never been taught about the emotions that run our lives.

INTRODUCTION

This topic explains what your feelings are, how to use them to help yourself, and how to overcome the ones that get in your way.

This information applies to every second of your life and every decision you will ever make. Learning to apply the concepts in these few short pages can go a long way toward improving your life!

If you are in therapy, read these pages regularly, perhaps before or after each meeting with your therapist. Apply these concepts to what you learn in therapy.

If you are working on your changes alone, keep these pages close at hand and use them regularly. I'd like very much to hear your thoughts and experiences as you apply the information provided here.

YOUR ENERGY AND YOUR FEELINGS

We get our physical energy from taking care of our bodies well - not perfectly, and not obsessively.

We only need to eat, sleep, and exercise well enough in order for our feelings to give us all of the information we require about our needs and wants, and all the energy we'll need to address them.

Feelings are actually energy surges which tell us, very specifically, what we want or need. When our feelings are strong enough to grab our attention, we can be certain that we'll have sufficient energy to handle things.

YOUR NEEDS

Needs are about survival. We would die if we didn't get what we need.


 


An adult needs the same things an infant needs. We need: food, air, space, exercise, temperature control (avoiding being too hot or too cold), and to eliminate waste efficiently.

We also need attention or "strokes" from each other. We don't need anything else!

YOUR NEED FOR ATTENTION OR "STROKES"

A "stroke" is a unit of recognition. When we receive a stroke we are being noticed by someone.

Infants need strokes to survive. Adults want strokes so much that getting attention (just being recognized) is the strongest want we will ever experience in our lives.

FOUR KINDS OF STROKES

TYPE OF STROKES
THE ATTENTION COMES FROM:
EXAMPLE:
Conditional Positive People who like something you did. "I like how you did that."
Conditional Negative People who do not like something you did. "I don't like that about you."
Unconditional Positive People who like the whole you. "I love you!"
Unconditional Negative People who do not like the whole you. "You are worthless!"

Get good at getting and deeply absorbing the first three. And be sure to powerfully turn down and throw away all the "Unconditional Negative Strokes" you ever receive!

THE FIRST SIGN OF DISCOMFORT

Some people ignore their needs. They live in pain and may die from it.

Most of us don't ignore our needs. We notice our need but then we wait while the discomfort turns to pain. Don't wait!

Get good at noticing the very first feeling of discomfort!

Avoid emotional problems by taking care of your physical needs at the first sign of discomfort!


TRIGGERS FOR FEELINGS

Feelings are triggered by reality or fantasy. (It's always one or the other, never both.)

REALITY comes to us through our senses. If we can see it, hear it, taste it, smell it, or feel it on our skin, then it is real.

FANTASY is all mental activity - including thoughts, memories, dreams, ideas, etc.

Fantasy doesn't come TO us, it comes FROM us - from our own brains.

If we only think it, it might be true or it might be false - but it is not real!

FEELINGS WE CREATE

Feelings that start in our brains rather than in our senses are unnecessary and optional, because they are not real.

If we create painful feelings we will need to change how we think in order to feel better.

If we create pleasurable feelings, that's great - as long as we remember we are only imagining.

Sometimes we create feelings which are so strong that they hide our real feelings from our senses. When we do this we are out of touch with reality, and in real danger of making serious mistakes.

Enjoy Your Changes!

Everything here is designed to help you do just that!

Basics #2: Your Natural Feelings

What every eight-year-old should know and most adults have never been taught about the emotions that run our lives.


 


THE NATURAL, REAL FEELINGS

Feelings that start in our senses are natural responses to the real world.

When we notice real anger, or sadness, or scare, we notice that something is wrong in our lives.

When we notice real joy or excitement we notice that something is right in our lives.

Natural feelings are always trustable. Learn what they are saying to you. Use them well.

TYPES OF FEELINGS

There are five natural and necessary feelings: Sad, Mad, Glad, Scared and Excited.

There are many other unnatural and unnecessary feelings - and all of them cause problems. Guilt, shame, and imagined fear are by far the most common and troublesome of these. ("The Basics #3" is about these.)

THREE HUGE QUESTIONS THAT AFFECT OUR FEELINGS

When any feeling starts we are immediately faced with three huge questions - and we tend to automatically answer them in less than a second:

1) Will you admit to yourself what you are feeling? If you don't, you'll feel "out of touch" or "crazy" or uncentered.

2) Will you express the feeling either alone or with someone else? If you don't, you are giving up the chance for relief.

3) Will you take action to improve things? If you don't, you are giving up the chance to improve your future.

When we are having problems, we need to slow down this automatic process so that it takes longer than a second or two. This will allow us to think through each step instead of relying on old habits.

THE FIVE NATURAL FEELINGS

Use this information so you will always know what you want and feel.

THE FEELING: WHEN YOU FEEL IT: WHAT TO DO FIRST: WHAT TO DO NEXT:
SADNESS When you've LOST something, or when something important is MISSING from your life. Feel it through thoroughly, to notice how important the loss was. Work to replace what you've lost or what is missing.
ANGER When there is a BLOCK between you and what you want. Feel it through thoroughly, to notice how powerful you are. Work toward getting past the block powerfully, wisely, and safely.
FEAR When your EXISTENCE is threatened. Feel it immediately - in a second or less - and notice the danger. Tune into your senses (what you see, hear, smell, taste or feel in your body) and protect yourself!
EXCITEMENT When you are
ON YOUR WAY to something you want.
Feel it through thoroughly, to notice how good you feel about what's coming. Enjoy it for the fun of it!
JOY When You've GOT What You Want. Feel it through thoroughly, so you notice how happy you are and how good you are at getting what you want. Enjoy it for the fun of it!

HOW TO FIND EACH FEELING IN YOUR BODY

1st Remember a time when you felt each feeling very strongly.
2nd Recall what was going on when you felt the feeling so strongly. Remember it in enough detail so that you actually start to feel the feeling again.
3rd Notice where, in your body, you feel each emotion. (Find your "sad spot," your "angry spot," etc.)
4th Describe what you feel in your body. Use adjectives like tight, weak, empty, heavy, light, etc.
5th REMEMBER what you learn by doing this. Do this exercise over a few times if needed.

You will need this information to know who you are and what you want and to make every decision you will ever make.

Enjoy Your Changes!

Everything here is designed to help you do just that!

Basics #3: Unnatural Feelings

What every eight-year-old should know and most adults have never been taught about the emotions that run our lives.

ABOUT GUILT

Since guilt is not a natural, necessary emotion, it blocks and wastes our energy.

GUILT IS A COVER-UP FOR ANGER WHICH LEAVES US FEELING SAD.

We wonder: "Why am I so sluggish and irritable?"

On the surface we feel: SAD or DEPRESSED


 


We've been telling ourselves things like:
"I shouldn't be angry. I should be understanding."
"That person didn't mean to hurt me."
"I'm too sensitive."
"I should just take the mistreatment."
"I don't deserve better."

Down deep we feel: ANGRY

Make A Conscious Choice: Will I admit to myself that I'm angry or will I keep feeling guilty and be depressed?

BE PROUD OF YOUR ANGER!
It's there to protect you. Let it do its job!

ABOUT SHAME

Since shame is not a natural, necessary emotion, it blocks and wastes our energy.

SHAME IS A DEEP BELIEF IN OUR OWN WORTHLESSNESS. IT COMES DIRECTLY FROM BEING SHAMED AS A CHILD.

We wonder: "Why don't I seem to care what happens to me like other people do?"

On the surface we feel: VERY SAD and "HOPELESS."

We've been telling ourselves things like:
"I'm no good. I just don't feel worthwhile."
"I wonder what's wrong with me, but most of the time I just don't care."
"I might as well have a drink (or a drug, or take a big risk)."

Down deep we feel: MOSTLY SAD, BUT FEARFUL AND ANGRY TOO.

Make A Conscious Choice:
Will I keep believing those people who shamed me or will I treat myself well and be happier?

KNOW THAT ANYONE WHO SHAMED YOU WAS WRONG!


ABOUT IMAGINED FEAR

Since imagined fear is not a natural, necessary emotion, it blocks and wastes our energy.

IMAGINED FEAR IS A FEELING WE CREATE TO COVER DEEPER FEELINGS WHICH BOTHER US MORE.

We wonder:
"Why am I so afraid?"
" Why do I always ask: 'What if?'"
"Why don't I stop scaring myself?"

On the surface we feel: FEAR

We've been telling ourselves:
"I hate being afraid."
"I wish I could do what other people do, and not be afraid."
"I wish I'd stop thinking about every single bad thing that could happen."

Down deep we feel: USUALLY SAD. SOMETIMES SHAME (See "Shame.")

Make A Conscious Choice:
Will I always feel scared or will I face and overcome my deeper bad feelings?

FACE WHAT YOU FEEL THAT BOTHERS YOU MORE!
You will get past the deeper feelings. But creating fear can last forever!

ALL OTHER CREATED FEELINGS THAT FEEL BAD

It is possible to create any feeling - and any created feeling that feels bad will block and waste our energy.

All imagined feelings are habitual feelings we create to cover deeper, real feelings that bother us more.

We wonder:
"Why do I keep feeling this same feeling all the time, even when I know it's not necessary?"


 


On the surface we feel: THE CREATED FEELING.

We've been telling ourselves:
"I hate feeling this all the time."
"I wish I'd feel and do a wider range of things like other people do."
"Why can't I stop making myself feel this way."

Down deep we feel:
REAL FEELINGS THAT SEEM TOO MUCH TO HANDLE.

Make A Conscious Choice:
Will I keep feeling this way or will I face and overcome the deeper bad feelings?

YOU CAN OVERCOME THE DEEPER FEELINGS ALONE OR WITH HELP BUT THE HABITUAL FEELING YOU ARE CREATING COULD GO ON FOREVER!

Face the feelings that bother you more! Stop covering them with your "favorite" bad feeling!

These three topics ("The Basics") contain the most important information I have for you.

I originally wrote "The Basics" around 1985 in a different format and I have given it to everyone in my family, all my clients, and many of my friends.

I refer to these concepts many times every day in my work with others and in dealing with my own dilemmas.

I sincerely hope you will keep this information readily available and use it frequently. Use it whenever you feel stuck in bad feelings, when you want to feel more joy and excitement, and when you feel the healthy urge to look inward.

I WISH YOU THE RICHEST, HEALTHIEST, HAPPIEST LIFE YOU CAN ARRANGE

Enjoy Your Changes!

Everything here is designed to help you do just that!

next: Topics everyone should eventually read.

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 12). The Basics, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, May 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/inter-dependence/the-basics

Last Updated: April 27, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

More Info