Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Figurine Has Been Shattered

From  illusion – an erroneous perception of reality.

Because of my romantic ideals, I am prone to creating illusions regarding any and all relationships I build, especially when the other person or people feed into that illusion and ideal.  Reality always manages to find a way to shatter that illusion into a million tiny pieces, much like a crystal figurine meeting a concrete floor.  When I am the only one feeding the illusion, it is usually short-lived.  However, when the illusion is created and upheld between two people, that illusion can last for years.

…At least until reality worms its way in.

One of my most precious illusions has been in the process of falling to the floor, although I couldn't tell which figurine was falling until it finally shattered.  When it shattered, I wept even though I know that it is better to be without that illusion than to be dependent upon it.  This was the catalyst for my research on needs.  It turns out that I need my husband much less than I thought I did.  I still want him, and he's still here.  I mourned for the loss of the illusion because my realization means that he doesn't need me as much as I thought he did.

I now realize that wants are much more important in that regard.  I want to share my life with him, and he wants to share his life with me.  This is healthy.  This is good.  This is constructive.

This is real.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fundamental Human Needs

My ponderings today revolve around human "needs" and how those needs are interrelated.  I am trying to objectively view my true needs to see if they are being met and how to meet them if they are not.  I am also trying to clearly define my needs to help separate them from my wants.  In order to be a healthy individual, needs must be met, whereas wants do not.

 Experts mostly agree on what the fundamental human needs are, although there are varying presentations for these needs and how they're interrelated.  Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a 5-level (or 8-level) pyramid.  The first 4 levels are what Maslow calls "Defit Needs" which, except for the first level comprised of the basic physiological needs, when these needs are not met, the body gives no indication physically but a person will feel anxious and tense.

These levels are developed in stages, starting from birth.  An infant's focus is on the physiological needs, then safety, then attention, and later attention, all within the first couple of years.  Of course, all of these needs require constant attention to a certain degree.  If any of the lower needs are not being met, all needs that build upon it suffer until that need is once again satisfied.  Also, if a child is faced with significant problems during development, such as extreme hunger, loss of a family member, or significant neglect or abuse, a person may fixate on the needs in that level for the rest of their lives.  Neurosis may develop and cause the person to obsess about that need.

The first level is Physiological needs.  This level is our basic survival instincts, including maternal instinct.  These needs must be met in order to successfully meet any other needs.  The physiological needs consist of homeostatic needs such as breathing, drinking, eating, and excretion.  This need level also includes sleep, activity, and sex.  If any of these needs are not met, the needs can control a person's thoughts and behaviors and can (and will) cause a person to feel sickness, pain, and discomfort.

The second level in Maslow's hierarchy is Safety and Security.  A person must feel safe and secure from danger, to have predictability and order, and to have structure and stability.  When these needs are not met, fear, anxiety, and concern are the reactions. 

Social and Love needs make up the third level of the hierarchy.  This level consists of emotionally-based relationships such as friendship, intimacy, and family.  Ultimately, the third level is our need to love and be loved, to belong and to be accepted.  Loneliness, depression, and social anxiety are reactions to this need not being met.

The fourth and last level of the Deficit Needs is Esteem.  This can be broken into two categories – self-esteem and esteem or respect from others.    While a person needs self-esteem, self-worth, confidence, achievement, and independence, which are all internal feelings, a person also needs respect, recognition, appreciation, and attention from others.  Thwarting these needs brings out feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, low self-esteem, weakness, and helplessness.

The fifth level is comprised of Self-Actualization or Growth needs.  According to Maslow, or at least my interpretation of what he says, the fifth level is not fully reached until the needs of the lower 4 levels are satisfied.  Once a person reaches the self-actualization level, the needs on the lower levels are no longer prioritized.  The needs on the lower levels are only temporarily re-prioritized when one or more of those needs are no longer being satisfied, and attention will be focused on the unfulfilled needs while still attempting to maintain all the other needs which have already been satisfied.   If I understand correctly, once a person has reached the fifth level of needs and those needs are getting attention, they will always strive to be the best person they can be and to make the most of their abilities.  Also, people can meet certain needs from the fifth level, such as creativity, even when other basic needs are not being met.

This level is broken down into 4 separate levels in the 8-level pyramid as Cognitive, Aesthetic, Self-Actualization, and Self-Transcendence.  Cognitive is the need to know, understand, and explore.  Aesthetic is the need to be surrounded by beauty and symmetry.  Self-Actualization is the need to find self-fulfillment and realize one's own potential.  Finally, Self Transcendence is the need to connect with something beyond the ego and help others find self-fulfillment.

Clayton Alderfer took Maslow's Hierarchy and developed the ERG Theory.  He took Maslow's 5 levels and lumped them into three categories: Existence Needs, Relatedness Needs, and Growth Needs.  Existence Needs are comprised of the first two levels of Maslow's Hierarchy.  Relatedness Needs are comprised of the third level and the external esteem portion of the fourth level.  Growth Needs are comprised of the internal esteem portion of the fourth level and the fifth level.  Alderfer believes the ERG areas are not stepped in any way.  He believes that the importance of these categories may vary for each individual.

In essence, we as human beings are complex creatures and have a lot of needs.  Some of those needs can be met by outside sources, but most of them have to be recognized, realized, and fulfilled by each individual.  The people with whom we choose to share our lives influence and affect how our needs are satisfied (or not).  In order to be a healthy and whole person, one has to work to fulfill one's own needs in the most effective way possible without depending on another or others to fulfill them. 

I have a lot to ponder. 

References (ones that are not already linked above):


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chapter 27

***Okay, so I decided I had to write about some of my recent experiences.***

Chapter 27 of the book that makes up my life is coming to a close, and this has been a tough chapter to write, especially the last few months.  This is the time of my Saturn Return, and apparently I need to work on friendships, trust, security, and openness. 

I have always had difficulty making lasting friendships, partially because I have been afraid to depend on anyone to actually be by my side when all is said and done.  DTTF has really helped me learn to trust someone to be there.  He's been the most dependable person in my entire book thus far..  Even though we may not always be able to listen to each other due to emotional or mental turmoil, we eventually do make it a point to understand the other person's perspective. 

Over the past few months, he's proven to me time and time again that he really will be by my side.  I take solace in knowing that he is just stubborn enough to stick with me even if only to prove a point.  Through the ups and downs, no matter how scary or shaky things got, he has still been faithfully by my side, even when he doesn't agree with me or understand.  There were times when I felt alone because he didn't agree or understand, but ultimately he was always right there.  My emotions have been raging a war with my logical mind, and the war has been quite a struggle to endure.  I've tried to be there for him during his turmoil as well, but I'm not sure how well I succeeded in doing so. 

I have made some progress, though every time I seem to make progress, something happens that causes me to question how much progress I've really made.  Progress is a dance of two steps forward and one step back, right?  I'm getting tired of dancing.  My feet are sore.  I can't stop dancing, though, because to stop dancing would be to stop living, stop growing, stop learning, stop loving.  I don't want to stop.  I just need a break sometimes.

Discussing my emotions in a more objective and productive manner has become easier over the last couple of weeks.  I've always been able to talk to DTTF about anything and everything, however I am the type of person who processes their thoughts and emotions externally.  I used to hand him the raw emotion and the baggage that went with it, talk through it, and come to a conclusion.  During the past few months, I've discovered that when I do that, he doesn't always retain the conclusion, only the raw emotion.  I am now working on waiting until I have some sort of control over the emotion at hand and have started processing before talking to him.  While this changes our relationship some, I don't see it as changing in a negative way.  This communication technique should help us avoid heated discussions.  It doesn't always work that way because sometimes one of us gets defensive, which ends up making both of us defensive.

I'm also trying to move away from using negative language when speaking of myself, my decisions, and my emotions.  I often beat myself up for "messing things up."  I, of course, use a much more graphic term than 'messing' to describe it, but the message is still the same.  When I suddenly have to take a step back, I feel like I've failed, that I've done something wrong.  I'm trying to erase these words from my vocabulary.  This has proven to be quite difficult, especially when I'm dealing with my own raw emotion.

The look of disappointment DTTF gets on his face sometimes when I prove I'm human dealing with human issues sometimes rips my heart out and stomps it in the ground.  I find myself trying to do anything and everything to avoid that look.  I am amazed at how much that one little look can tear me up so much.  I love this man beyond words, and he inspires me to be a better person.  I expect more of myself because of him, therefore when I'm disappointed in myself, I believe he's disappointed in me, too, which seems worse.

I know that to be a healthy person, a whole and complete person, I need to not depend on his approval so much.  I also know I can't depend on him for my happiness.  While being his partner, his mate, his equal, his wife makes me very happy, it makes me happy because I want to be those things.  I am totally devoted, loyal and faithful to him, and I want him to feel the same for me.  I know he does feel this way for me, although he expresses it differently..  He also occasionally wants different things from life than I do, pivotal things, things I don't fully understand.  I will do what I can to give him what he wants while still maintaining some semblance of sanity.  The sanity has been hard to hold on to lately.

As this chapter comes to a close, decisions have been made that affect the balance of our lives.  While the decisions have caused hurt and pain, the decisions also offer hope and relief.  Maybe this rollercoaster ride really is leveling off to get ready to stop at the boarding platform.  I can't see where the track ends because the lights keep flashing on and off, and I'm almost afraid to hope for the ride to be over.  What comes next?

Happiness is not a switch that can be turned on and off at will.  While yes, someone can choose to be happy, sometimes it takes a while for the happiness to fully kick in.  We have to work at happiness.  If it was as simple as making the choice for happiness to be ON, then no one would be depressed anymore.

I leave you with thoughts of love and the different forms it takes:

6 Styles of Love

1. Eros Love – Passionate love.

2. Pragma Love – Love as logical and rational

3. Storge Love – Love as friendship

4. Agape Love – Altruistic, all-giving love

5.. Ludus Love – Love as a game

6. Mania Love – Possessive, dependant love

To read more about them, check go here and here.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Life's Rollercoaster

The rollercoaster ride that I've been riding the last 4 months is something I do not wish to discuss, hence the silence.  Because this adventure has saturated my entire being, I've had difficulty finding ways to write about the rest of my world while avoiding the main focus point.  This is something that I will probably never write about, at least not here.  Right now it's too personal, too close to home, and some things are better when they are not plastered all over the internet.
Tree Faerie is an absolute gem.  She's talking and running and mastering the art of tantrum-throwing.  As you can see in the video that I previous posted, she's absolutely beautiful.  She's so smart, too!  I'm amazed daily!  I feel a tad bit guilty for not writing her 18 month letter, since it was so pivotal.  Keep an eye out in a week or so for her 19 month letter.
I also did not wish my beautiful husband Happy Anniversary last Wednesday.  We've been married for 3 years and together for 7.  I am more in love with him now than I was even 3 years ago, and I'm definitely more secure in our relationship.  I hate the thought of life without him, because we really do seem to be the perfect match for each other.  Not only are the mental, emotional, and spiritual dynamics of our relationship awesome, our physical relationship is absolutely phenomenal.  I love DTTF so much.  He is the center of my world.  Happy 3rd Anniversary, baby. 
So, I'm working on getting back into the habit of writing every week day.  As I get more into the swing of writing again, my stories will improve.  I promise.  I've missed writing.  I've also missed reading your blogs, which I am trying to catch up on in short bursts in the evening.
I'm glad you all are still here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Can you read my posts?

I finally decided to play with the XML as well. How does this look? I know it's a little plain, however if you can read it, I'll play with other colors later. This is the only layout that leaves my info to the left instead of putting it at the bottom.

So, are the colors okay? Are my info and advertisements to the left? Are you still out there to give me feedback?

I sure have missed you all.

Laugh Out Loud

Look! I'm still alive and kicking! And to prove it:

I promise I'll start writing again soon. Don't give up on me yet.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wish Me Luck

I'm having my wisdom teeth excised (cut out) tomorrow, so hopefully relief is in sight.