Self-righteousness is a real thing. It’s something I struggle with. We get stuck thinking our way is best and wavering from our way can be a challenge – for us and those around us. We choose to plant our feet, draw a line, and stand tall in our stance. Sometimes we easily begin to play the blame game and label – right / wrong, good / bad, better / worse – because, well, our way is best. This drives disconnection across all settings.
The first step to moving away from self-righteousness is self-awareness. Once we are aware that our superior, one-sided thinking has kicked into gear, try slowing down. Pause. Breathe. Acknowledge. Soothe. And consider other perspectives. Try reeling in the rigid convictions and lean into curiosity and possibility. Consideration for our own feelings and needs, as well as others, will help with building connection. Keep in mind that there are MANY ways to meet one need. A win / win outcome is ideal!
I recently re-watched the movie Rocket Man about Elton John’s life, and I am reminded of this quote above. I never looked at addiction quite this way until I read Lost Connections by Johann Hari, and I haven’t looked at addiction the same since. We become addicted to things as a way to cope with a disconnection that has occurred in our life. Read that last sentence a few times. Human connection is vital to understanding addiction, as well as our well-being and healing.
This is a big one! Often times when we are feeling insecure, unregulated, and/or “needy,” we “behave” in ways that push us further from what we want and need. Sometimes that need is reassurance. SALT can help with learning to clearly, calmly, and kindly communicate what we need.
Instead of instigating fights, acting like everything is “fine,” playing the waiting game of text responses, or bottling everything up then exploding, how about simply owning our “stuff” and asking for what we need? Remember, human needs are universal, therefore to some degree we can all relate to them, including the need for reassurance.
I will never forget the first time I tried asking for reassurance. I was feeling insecure about something before I left for work. I noticed my heart racing and I had a pit in my stomach (my main somatic signals of an unmet need). Instead of ignoring these signs, and leaving the house like this, I chose to use them as my guide. I knew reassurance would help bring me relief. I said to my partner at the time something to the effect of, “So I’m noticing that I’m feeling insecure this morning about (situation). Do you think today you could give me bit more verbal reassurance about us?” His response was a quick and casual, “Yah, sure!” (so simple, as if I asked for a drink refill) with a good-bye kiss. What a response! What a relief! And what a better day we both had! No drama. No stress. Just taking care of my needs, myself.
SALT practices are one strategy to improved connection to self and others. Have you ever asked someone directly for reassurance? Might this be helpful to you?
STAY SALTY LOCAL GIVEAWAY!!! Hey CT/RI summer-lovin’ friends! Here’s your chance to win a few fun items as we dive into the last full month of the memorable summer of 2020! The giveaway includes a bottle of Bon Jovi’s Hampton Water Rosé ; a compact, portable, waterproof Bose speaker ; my favorite candle by Madewell ; and a copy of my next summer read, a story by Richard Russo, that takes place in Martha’s Vineyard. Let’s admit it, chances are … we could use a little more lightness in our lives right now! When we dive deep, it’s important to balance out life with some fun and joy! (Plus, you get to reap the benefits of giveaways helping to meet my personal need for contribution!)
The giveaway starts today and closes on Saturday, August 15th at 11:59pm EST! The winner will be randomly selected and will receive a DM notification on Sunday, August 16th. You must be at least 21 years of age and live in Connecticut (where I live) or Rhode Island (where i work) to win. I cannot ship wine, therefore delivery / drop off will need to be arranged. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Instagram or the products involved. Stay well, STAY SALTY!
Sometimes we think there are only one or two ways to meet a need. In reality, there are countless ways (reminder from my therapist : journaling is always a good idea)! Try taking a break and writing down different ways to reach a desired outcome. For example, if we want more time with our partner (because perhaps our love language is quality time) we might :
ask for and schedule a time to talk about wanting to make more time for connection
plan a date
make a request for carved out time each day to connect
take a vacation
talk on the phone
book a day spa
go for nightly walks together
Get the idea? Once we know our need (connection) and possible strategies, we can more effectively communicate and connect. It is easy to complain or make comments such as, “Everyone else is more important than me,” or “You never make time for me.” Instead, we can say something like,
We are so busy! I so appreciate how hard you work. I feel disappointed when we don’t have 1:1 time during the week because of work and the kids. Connection between us is really important to me. Are you able to (insert request) so that we can get that quality time in that I’m craving? I miss you, us.
When we get stuck in how to meet a need, especially if we only focus on limited viewpoints, we might miss out on opportunities for connection. It can really help us to stay open-minded and hearted by making and taking time to sketch out strategies. Further communicating our feelings and needs in a different way can really help with others truly hearing us.
Last weekend while enjoying a seaside cocktail just before sunset I witnessed an argument between a couple. The flames of the fight flickered, then became engulfed – swearing, blaming, raising of voices, shaming, punishing, and eventually abandoning occurred. It was sad to observe, and I was reminded of my younger self.
We all have a choice in how we react to triggers and how willing we are to participate in the process of being scorched. Encounters like this, whether observed or experienced, afford learning opportunities for self-awareness. Imagine that fire inside burns stronger and hotter with every trigger, with every infuriation. Without tending to that fire within, momentum builds and simmers like soot ready to reignite when provoked and prodded at, when triggered.
This situation reminded me of what happens when we get lost in feelings and aren’t sure what we need. It’s easy to become reactive. The hard truth is, much of our emotional reactivity – our flames, our rage, are cries of unmet needs, often stemming from inner child or adult wounding (or both) that have not been acknowledged, soothed, and validated. SALT practices work to help tame our inner rage and better regulate our emotions.
I must admit, I am so fortunate to have a wonderful circle of supportive and inspiring women around me, and each woman adds something special to my life in their own way. In honor of the #womensupportingwomen campaign, I would like to honor and challenge one of the women who I am proud of and grateful for in my life, Donna Rustigian Mac!
Years ago when I was struggling with my worth, impacting my presentation abilities, this woman helped me find my voice. Fast forward years later, and I am now on her iVoice Communications Board of Advisors, along with a few other leading ladies. Donna is a fellow communication coach who, too, has a heart-centered focus. Donna Rustigian Mac, Founder and Chief Talent and Development Officer, focuses on “healthy human connections” through high level effective communication. She has an extensive background in media and communications, and has authored a book, Guide to a Richer Life : Know Your Worth, Find Your Voice, Speak Your Truth. I was even fortunate enough to have my experience working with Donna included in the book.
Donna has something for everyone – including professional and interpersonal supports, and free mindfulness sessions online this summer! Please check her out at iVoice Communication or on ig : @donnamacvoice.
Who are the special women in your life? When is the last time you let them know how much they mean to you?
Reality – This happens. The more clear we become about our own feelings and needs, the more tolerant (or not) we also become of the people and things around us. As clarity surfaces, we notice more of how we feel in the presence of others. This is great insight!
Sometimes we find our needs are no longer compatible with the people or things around us. Sometimes our needs change, and that’s okay. This doesn’t mean we need to cut off a relationship or abandon anything, or (big one here for me) label others as “bad” or “wrong” – they are simply different. It’s an opportunity to get curious and assess if someone or something is or isn’t in alignment with our values, and where to go from here with as much compassion as possible.
Perhaps remaining in connection is possible despite the differences, but with more open communication, healthy boundaries, and a whole lot of self-love. Or, perhaps it means ending a connection. When these practices become the default lens in which to experience the world, we surely may see the relationships in our lives through a new view. And sometimes, this results in choosing to not all move forward together – an honest reality without judgement.