“What’s essential for you?” I asked her. My client and I were talking about her recent breakup, a breakup that had left her heart-broken, tender and with far more questions than answers. The relationship had started at a time when she wasn’t thinking about what she needed or didn’t need. All she knew was that she loved him and it was good, really good...until it wasn’t.
And as the relationship turned “less good” she did what I, and so many people, have done and do when relationships go south. She dug deeper, loved harder, and hoped that either things would change or her love would be enough for both of them. In the end, her efforts left her exhausted and feeling like she was perpetually treading water rather than standing on solid ground.
Relationships are hard. Really hard. And as I see it there’s no way around difficult discussions, misunderstandings and hurt feelings when trying to share your life with another person. That said, if we remember what’s essential to us, what we need to function well, we can better navigate which hardships we’re willing to face and fight through and which are simply non-starters.
“What’s essential for you?” I asked again. She took a long pause and then said with conviction, “Physical touch and lots of I love you’s. I need them both and didn’t realize it until this relationship.”
Together we continued to create her essential list with the intention of her using it as a touchstone to come back to herself and her needs both in and out of a relationship.
And what I love about essential lists is we can apply them to every aspect of our lives.
What’s essential for you in your work and career? What’s essential for you to feel good in your body? What’s essential for you to feel connected with friends? What’s essential for you to feel financially stable? What’s essential for you to take exquisite care of yourself?
Our essential lists are about putting a stake in the ground and saying, “This is what I need to be my best, most present, most peaceful and powerful self.” It’s loyalty. It’s being true to our ourselves so we don’t ever have to look back and wonder where we went and how we lost us.
This week take 5 minutes and make an essential list of your own. Perhaps you already know the essential reminder you need but if not, think about where in your life you’d like to feel more connected, more grounded and free and ask, “What’s essential for me in this area of my life to feel good?”
Be honest and gentle with what comes up. It’s so easy to second guess or downplay our needs in an attempt to look strong and stoic. And yet the only thing that type of strength and stoicism bring us is a sense of loneliness, isolation and resentment.
Once you’ve made your essential list, choose one thing on the list to begin to foster. What do you need to cultivate that one essential?
Do you need to have a conversation? Do you need to take some down time? Do you need more pleasure or fun? Do you simply need to be held?
Once you know what you need, what’s the one action you can take to make that essential item more of a reality in your life?
I’m dying to hear what comes up for you so simply email me and let me know how it goes.
P.S. If pondering the essential list makes you think, “I have no idea what’s essential to me!”, let’s talk. So many of my clients don’t know what’s truly essential for them or their bodies as they’ve spent the last few decades accomplishing and doing what simply needed to get done. If you too find it hard to get close to what’s essential to feel reconnected and more present and at peace in your life, let’s set up a clarity session. I have one more left for the month of March. Simply email me and make it yours.
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