7 Ways To Responses to Unmet Emotional Needs: How To Process Your 'Negative' Emotions & Let Them Go

I am sure you have come across Abraham Maslow hierarchy or needs, but in case you are new to this concept I will elaborate.

One view is that it's difficult to achieve anything beyond (above) our most fundamental demands (the levels at the bottom of the pyramid). It's impossible to discover love and belonging if we're not fed, sheltered, and feel safe (both internally and externally). Self-esteem can be difficult to achieve without love, even self-love. It's difficult to achieve our goals without self-assurance. Each level improves on the previous one. There are however exceptional cases where this was not the case (perhaps Jesus, Buddha) but more often than not, we need to climb up the pyramid to experience the top.

In the western world, our physiological needs tend to be met. Most of us have access to food, clean water and shelter. Of course this is not the case for all communities. We feel relatively safe, unless in abusive households and are more concerned with reaching the higher levels of the pyramid such as belonging, esteem and self-actualization. I must mention that we are extremely lucky to be in this position and right now I would like to express my gratitude to the many generations of our ancestors that worked the asses off in order for us to be in the position where we can concentrate on something like self actualisation, rather than running around the savannah trying to find water.

However, that does not mean that our work stops here. Every level comes with its own challenges and difficulties. The game doesn't get easier, it's just different.

Deepak Chopra's summarised the 4 As of Emotional Wellbeing at the higher levels of the pyramid as:

1) Attention: wanting to be heard and understood

2) Affection: wanting to be loved and cared for

3) Appraisal: wanting to be praised for our unique talents and skills.

4) Acceptance: wanting to be accepted for who we are

We often want to have these needs met through external relationships as social creatures and in the world (object referral). However, when we become more self-aware and identify with our genuine selves, these demands are met inside (self-referral).

The seven emotional responses range in complexity from the most basic to the most advanced.

You're at ease when your needs are addressed. When they aren't, you feel uneasy, and it's simple to react in dread. Fear or love are the two sources of the gamut of emotions that arise from comfort and suffering. Your biological responses are also influenced by fear or love. When we are faced with a challenging scenario we tend to respond from a place of either fear or love.

Fear constricts and love expands.

We tend to have 3 major responses in situations. These called the fear response, the reactive response and the love response, which I will talk about in more detail.

1) Fear (Stress) Response: Fight-Flight-Freeze and Reactivity

This is our survival mechanism. We go into high alert, we are breathing faster and our heart rate increases.

Whilst this can be useful in some scenario-us, our bodies are not meant to function in this state chronically.

When our basic biological demands aren't addressed, we have a tendency to revert to more primitive biological responses. Fear is at the root of everything we perceive as painful, bad, or life-threatening. Fear is the source of toxic emotions, ideas, and bodily discomfort in various forms. We are constrained by fear-based emotional reactions. They limit our ability to achieve our goals.

Sometimes throughout our day we experiences these mini fight or flight moments, perhaps it could be because we forgot to submit an assignment on time or we forgot to turn on the dishwasher last night. Maybe we got a text message from our boss that isn't pleasant or we could have a nasty comment on social media. Whatever it could be, the reality is that you're not being hit by a bus or being chased by a lion.

When we recognise which emotions are caused by fear, we may change how we behave and react. We make great strides toward the idea of emotional freedom every time a limiting emotion occurs and we opt actively to adjust our perspective.

2. Reactive (or Ego) Response: Psychological Fight-or-Flight

Here there is an ego boundary that is violated. In some sense it is a fight-or-flight response in disguise, but just more in the psychological that physiological level.

The automatic and habitual reaction occurs frequently below the level of conscious awareness. You may believe that an ego boundary has been breached, which is frequently tied to an unresolved emotion or past experience.

If you see yourself controlling, manipulating, or coercing someone else to acquire what you want, your reactionary response is at work, and you're displaying the same fight-flight-freeze physiology as if you were facing a real threat. Teenagers are also great at the 'eye-rolling' thing.

The three doshas are linked to the reactive responses.

Vata: Flight—eluding danger, getting worried, and scared.

Pitta: Irritability, rage, and defensiveness are all symptoms of a Pitta Fight.

Kapha: Freeze—numbness, detachment, and a willingness to give up easily

Because you have all three doshas, you can have any of these reactions at any time.

What is amazing is that we as human beings have some level of free will or self awareness that we can exersise and hopefully train. What I am referring to here is the love response.

Faith is taking the first step, even when we can't see the entire staircase. - Martin Luther King:

Love: Calm Awareness, Intuitive, Creative and Visionary

Love is the source of everything delightful, beautiful, expansive, and life-sustaining. We expand when we experience feelings and emotions that come from a place of love. We begin to gravitate toward spirit-based identification, also known as self-referral.

The key to unlocking the love responses is restful awareness.

You gain access to your power of choice and free will once your basic necessities are addressed.

While the first two responses are survival-based, the love responses shift from an ego-based to a spirit-based reference point. From object-referral to self-referral, we make the transition.

3) The Restful Awareness Response: A More Meditative Response

The restful awareness response is the nervous system’s experience of deep peace, stillness, and going within. During this state, you expand your internal reference point from ego to spirit through the regular practice of meditation. Regular meditation allows you to access unbounded love and reconnect with your true self. You gain access to the internal joy, fulfillment, happiness, and enlightenment that you're seeking.

Restful awareness reverses the harmful effects of the chronic stress responses.

With a regular meditation practice, brain imaging shows less activity in the lower brain area associated with the fight-flight-freeze response and more in the areas of higher cognition in the prefrontal cortex. The restful awareness response activates the vagus nerve and the body shifts out of the sympathetic state into the parasympathetic state. Current research on meditation provides us with evidence of the benefits that wisdom traditions have talked about for thousands of years.

4) The Intuitive Response: Tuning into the still small voice

When your insight and understanding come from within rather than from the outside world, you have an intuitive response. Perceived borders or emotions of separation begin to fade. Ego-identity fades away, and you gradually incorporate a condition of calm awareness into your daily life.

The more you meditate, the more intuitive you become and the more able you are to live in the present moment.

You may more easily detect emotions as they arise when you are aware of the current moment. Going beyond the conditioned thinking leads to new solutions. Rather than reacting instinctively to prior events, you can reach the part of you that is conscious. This is who you are at your core.

The intuitive answer is a genuine representation of self. Language frequently switches from victim to conscious observer.

As a result of the intuitive response you get:

1) More relevant synchronicities and meaningful coincidences

2) More spontaneous right action (right action taken on the spur of the moment)

3) The ability to communicate consciously and deliberately

5) The creative reaction: everything is for the greater good

The creative response helps you to change your perspective and give things a new context or significance. It sheds new light on new ideas, insights, and inspiration.

A problem's answer is rarely found at the level of the problem. The creative reaction broadens consciousness, allowing you to face life's issues from a fresh perspective—one that isn't bound by the limitations of the past.

Even if we don't work in a creative industry, we are all creative individuals. You may have had the experience of stepping away from an issue and having the solution appear shortly after. At work, this is the creative answer.

The body calms down, the mind calms down, and solutions arise apparently out of nowhere.

It's impossible to compel a creative answer. When we calm our inner chatter and look within, new answers can arise. It's all about subliminal purpose, incubation, and ultimately embodiment of new concepts. This is also a stage of healing in which the body responds creatively to a challenge, allowing for the restoration of well-being and health.

6) The visionary response: Living from the level of the collective soul

Living from a collective consciousness level is referred to as the visionary response. It's all about connecting with archetypal energies in order to build a picture of who you can be.

The body calms down, the mind calms down, and solutions arise apparently out of nowhere.

It's impossible to compel a creative answer. When we calm our inner chatter and look within, new answers can arise. It's all about subliminal purpose, incubation, and ultimately embodiment of new concepts. This is also a stage of healing in which the body responds creatively to a challenge, allowing for the restoration of well-being and health.

7) The sacred response: There is not separation

A fully extended feeling of self is the divine response. You expand your ego-based awareness to include self-awareness not only in yourself, but also in the objects you observe. Nothing appears to be frightening since you perceive everything as an expression of yourself. You're always in contact with the source.

A wave might be a wave in its own right, but it is part of the ocean and eventually it returns to the greater sea consciousness.

The constrained perspective of "what's in it for me?" transforms into "how can I be of service?" You feel compassion, oneness, emotional calm, and unlimited love in all events and circumstances when you're in this state.

We are all one in this level of unity consciousness. There isn't any distinction. We're all made of the same stuff. This condition is characterised by pure happiness, pure wisdom, and pure being.

There are no restrictions on the variety of emotions and responses that can be expressed, and they do not have to be linear or hierarchical. You can have moments of divine response at any time in your life. Higher answers appear more frequently in your life as you continue your meditation and self-realization journey.

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