What do People Want Most? Here it is in Black and White

feel safe
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What do people really want? They want to feel safe.

If those starting counseling and life coaching businesses were to focus on this, they’d do well!

This goes back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The feeling of safety, whether it’s recognized or not, is the most important thing to anyone.

As soon as that feeling of safety is gone and you feel unsafe, the number one priority is to feel safe again. You’ll do what it takes to feel safe again and your social needs, your social status, your lofty goals – they all take a back seat.

The Big Hiccup

The problem is that most of the time we don’t feel our feelings and so we don’t know when we’re feeling unsafe. We might call ourselves stressed. We might just be on autopilot, going through the day and living in a chronic fight or flight situation where we’re striving almost continually to feel safe.

If we would just acknowledge that we don’t feel safe and make it conscious, I think we’d be a lot better off. Maybe we can think of some ways to do that. Some examples would be really, really helpful.

So you walk into the house after being gone and it’s a mess and your partner was supposed to do some tidying up.

And the first thing you may experience consciously is anger. But if you dig under the surface of that a little bit, maybe you’re also hurt or maybe you’re also worried that if your partner is not doing his or her part, then maybe he or she is not as committed as you thought. And if they’re not as committed to the relationship, then where does that leave you?

Probably feeling uncertain, which is not a safe place to be, and so you’re motivated into action to try to put out that fire as quickly as possible and in that state of we could call it fight or flight. You’re very likely to get into an argument. Encourage your partner to be defensive. That leads to a fight which can only result in you feeling less safe. And so if you walked into the door and it’s a mess, and you felt that anger and you went, am I feeling safe right now? And you were able to acknowledge that you don’t feel safe, even though it sounds so hokey, it sounds so woo psychological. Oh, I don’t feel safe, but if but that’s what’s going on, then that’s what’s going on!

Deal with it Consciously

So if you were to acknowledge that you don’t feel safe and process that and then have a conversation with your partner… you might tell your partner what it means to you to walk in and he or she didn’t do what was agreed upon. You don’t feel safe and that makes you doubt the commitment and the relationship and brings on a sense of uncertainty.

That conversation, which is about you and the way you’re feeling is less confronting and more likely to evoke a compassionate response from your partner.

Another reason we don’t really deal with feeling unsafe very well is that a lot of our goals in life, making more money, having the perfect relationship, being recognized by our peers, having this wonderful lifestyle and so forth.

A lot of the motivation for those goals is safety oriented. In other words, we dream of making a lot of money because we think it will solve our financial problems and indeed, if we manage it well, a lot of money would solve a lot of problems. The end result? We’ll feel safer.

The problem with this goal is that trying to make a lot of money from a fight or flight place is more difficult. Why not first move toward feeling safe with money and build from there rather than think you have to have all this money in order to feel safe. Cause that’s not necessarily true.

So when we consciously confront our safety issue, it can be dealt with directly rather than indirectly me. Anytime we know what we’re dealing with, we understand what we’re dealing with, we’re more likely to solve it in the best way possible.


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