My needs – Do I know them?

In our life we set up small and big goals and sometimes we sit down and think what we would like to achieve, what our needs are. Our desires and needs urge us to act and with it determine our attitude and behaviour. How does it work? What kind of major needs we have and how they influence us. According to Henry Murray who made the motivation based identity theory, need is a kind of an internal deficiency condition, a driving force which motivate us to strive for eliminate this deficiency to maintain or achieve our well-being.

Murray defined two major groups of basic needs. The primary needs are biological origin, like water, food, air, sexual needs and these needs must be satisfied again and again. The secondary group is (psychogenic need) those desires which come from our particularity of our psychic processes. Psychogenic need is for instance the need of power and the need of accomplishment.


The strength of our needs defines the intensity of our actions, their directions, the priority, enthusiasm and the profoundness as well. The stronger a need is, the faster it will be expressed. Our needs probably exert their influences by motives. Motives represent emotionally dyed subjective experiences which also influenced by environmental effects. The environmental influence is an external condition which creates a desire to get or avoid something, like our internal needs, produces similar effects. For instance we crave for a delicious food in front of us even if we are not hungry.

Our needs change depending on time and circumstances but also our own motivation tendency. For instance somebody is strongly motivated to be surrounded by others but other people like to be alone.

Some needs can become absorbed by others, complete each other but also conflict can appear between. For instance when we have a strong desire to be free but in the meantime we feel to be connected to others.

What kind of types of need we can separate from each other and how do they affect our behaviour and identity?

Most of the researches focused on the need of accomplishment, need of power, the affiliation need (building up social relationships and maintaining them) and the need of intimacy.

Need of accomplishment

The principal of this need is the desire to accomplish task better and better and the joy to overcome obstacles. Those obstacles and tasks can be easy to solve, or more difficult or solvable very difficultly. Those people whom undertake the very easy and the most difficult tasks more willingly have a low need of accomplishment. To accomplish easy tasks the good feeling of success is easily accessible. But if they can’t accomplish a difficult task that doesn’t show them so negatively because there is a chance that other people wouldn’t have been able to accomplish or solve it as well. Those people who have high accomplishment need undertake willingly the average tasks because to solve them provides the feeling of challenge, accomplish the task is a real goal and they are able to get more information about their own capabilities.

Need of power

The need of power is expressed in the desire of prestige, have an effect on others and the desire of obtaining beneficial positions. Those people who have strong need of power feel good in situations where they are superior and powerful. They are susceptible to being surrounded by symbols of dominancy, they like those properties which shows high prestige. Social recognition is an important motivation force to them, they make a lot of effort to convince others about their own point of view and during negotiation just rarely make concessions. If the need of power is associated with high feeling of liability the effort for prestige is done honestly, the exercise of power is not contrary to the norms of society. If the feeling liability is low, the desire of have an effect on other people is often impulsive and aggressive.

Need of affiliation

This need urges us to look for other people’s company, this is the desire of building up connections and relationships, maintaining them and interacting. For those people who have high need of affiliation often take the initiative relationship and easier to get friends. Important for them being accepted and loved by others and they don’t like if someone is criticizing their social skills. They are willingly and actively participating in social events and spend more time with social activities.

Need of intimacy

The meaning of intimacy need is a desire to develop a close, warm and mutual relationship. It’s more than the affiliation need because the importance here is on the closeness and the openness towards another person. Those people who have a high need of intimacy like to participate in private talks, open up easily and often share their thoughts with friends and often talk about their feelings. They pay attention better to their companions because it’s important to them that their friends feel good. In talks often maintain eye contact, more often smile and laugh but they don’t want to dominate the social scene. Regarding to the results of researches the need of intimacy is incompatible with the need of power and if these needs are strongly present that often can cause problems in adaptability.

Other types of need according to Henry Murray’s system of needs:

Raillery to inanimate objects: appears in the need of possession, order, reservation and creation.

The need of hiding, defense and resistance furthers the need of status protection.

Dominancy, adaptation, autonomy, opposition, aggression, self-abasement and the avoidance of shame are connected to the need of power.

The need of refusal, care, finding support and play are connected to the feeling about other people.

Our needs motivate us in several appearance forms. If we got to know our personal needs and motivations that would help to understand our own behaviour.

Self – identity

The principal of internal motivation and the satisfaction with life is to define our personal mission – that goal and activity what with we are able to distribute to the world. The first step of setting up that goal is finding ourselves. Sounds platitude? Maybe but so truth. We can’t define ourselves according to those celebrities whom we follow on social media, if we do we build up a fake self which continuously can cause a great internal tense. We must find that strong base which called self – identity, like a core and we know, “This what I stand for in this world.”

Where we are from, what kind of group we belong to, which our important internal and external characteristics are, which our strengths and weaknesses are, which things are important to us, what kind of principals we follow and believe in etc. ; these are part of our self-definitions. Self – identity is the base of our self and influences our carrier, personal and social life entirely.


Who are you deep inside?

Sounds an easy question but actually it’s not and can be answered by another question; who wants to know who I am? When I meet people after few minutes clearly visible if that person knows himself/herself or not. So often I can see that if she/he knows but desperately trying to show-pretend to be someone else. Spending so much energy daily to pretend to be someone else, on that figuratively like trying to remove the face and the skin. These people also continuously complain, how they are so unhappy and unsuccessful and they wonder why but even if they don’t complain, unhappiness is so visible in their eyes and in their actions. True desperation, why? The answer is easy, their picked and pretended identity takes so much energy being maintained and doesn’t provide any satisfaction or they try to force their origin self/identity to match the desired environment, like squeezing themselves to fit. Both ways are so exhausting and the failure is guaranteed. What can we do to know ourselves batter?

“Know thyself, and thou shalt know the universe and God.” Delphi – Temple of Apollo

Immersion in ourselves

The first step to find our true self is to withdraw from the noisy world and intend time for ourselves. We turn to the internal world, finding an opportunity to get connected with our desires and emotions. In that “own time” we can assess and evaluate our reactions given to the external world and also see that if we live our life according to our beliefs or we just try to fill up others expectations or feeding our fears. Regular solitude based on free will (own time/time for myself) gives us the opportunity to get know ourselves. The whole world, especially nowadays is trying to tell us how we should live, what we should eat, how we should sleep and dress, raise our children, how we should think and how we should be happy. Actually how we should BE. If we don’t pay attention to our internal core, who we are, this demanding world easily takes it away, mills it and after giving back we just realize that, already we live someone else’s life. Just who knows herself/himself well is able to see others as they are really and not like as she/he wants.

Make clear your scale of values

What I stand for? What kind of values or beliefs I follow? We might find that we are happy by satisfying everybody around, always trying to solve problems like having a win-win outcome but something is still not okay. Or we believe to trust somebody is important and in the future we try to build up valuable, good quality relationships instead of quantity and avoiding people who with we must play games and following tactics. The clear scale of values is a leading start and without it we miss the base of comparison to the judgment of own actions. Someone who has a clear identity radiates a clear purpose. His/her own self-image and how others can see him/her is in harmony. Acting and live from inside and doesn’t go by others’ opinion like a weather, always changes basically.

Undertake who you are

Unfortunately we must consider that if we try to strengthen those part of our self which represent us better and we stand up for our beliefs people won’t like it because this decision or process usually produces resistance. (Who wants change? – Everybody; Who wants to change? – Nobody) We should not expect a different reaction since we have been acting like a thin-skinned person. We must not be afraid of conflicts, in fact we must not be afraid of undertake our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. If we walk with a “straight backbone” we will be able to look into the mirror being proud of ourselves and will be able to open up in front of those things as well what we avoided before because of fears. Critics, refusal and get the laughed of others….well, there are no recipe to ease that feeling, except one….their actions show who they are, not who we are. Do you want to feel free? Do you want to know what is possible in life? Well, to know that we must leave our comfort zone, get used to be in uncomfortable and elevating situations. “Learn to take in the miracle without being conceited and take critics without get broken.”

Knowing who we are and having a stable identity is necessary to know where we are from and where we go. If we know who we are, we are able to walk straight but not braggingly but confidently. Not over-compensating the internal suspense and feeling of defectiveness but with healthy self-esteem.

Positions – Pronouns after our given beliefs – Transaction analyses

After our childhood together with our beliefs given by our parents we set our position which includes the whole world, like ourselves and other people around.

The simplest positions are for two persons, YOU and I are the main players and this YOU and I are come from those beliefs what we have got by imbibing from infancy. The okay situation is “+” and the not okay is “-“ and comes like this I+ or I-; YOU+ or YOU-. The combinations of these “+” or “–“ give those four basic life positions which from our destiny and games come, created and played.

  1. I+; YOU+ position (success): This is the “healthy” position. The good life of Princes and Princesses. When the person is positive, open minded and towards others as well. Even if we have got different inputs from our parents we can reach this “stage” by hard work, mainly by the improvement of self-knowledge.
  2. I+, YOU- position (arrogance): I am a princess and you are a frog position. This is the “to be rid of him/her” motto. These people play “Fault finding” games, mocking their partners and those who freezes the friends out, making negative comments and believe that everybody else are the “stupid” ones. This is an arrogant life position and people around just inferiors. It is not always clearly visible. In a clinical point of view paranoid.
  3. I-; YOU+ position (depression): Psychologically a depressive life position, self-degradation. These people are whom become easily co-dependent, whom want to get rid out themselves. This position’s key words are “If only” and “Should have”.
  4. I-; YOU- position (needlessness): Why not… life position, no purpose. Clinical point of view is schizoid. People with this life position the whole life including people are so negative, they are not able to see positive things or at least do something to get it.

Our life positions are very complex and can show contradictions however we can state that mainly one position guides our decisions, our destiny and shapes the quality of our life.

People with I+; YOU+ belief become good leaders and they are able to preserve this positivity even in difficult time periods according to themselves and to others. External circumstances just rarely can change these four life position by themselves. The permanent change must come from inside which can happen spontaneously or by professional therapy. There are people who live in more position in the same time or changing them frequently. From I+; YOU+ position they change to I-; YOU- position or into other variation. According to life position these people are the unstable or irresolute personalities.

Three individuals’ positions

1/a.) I+; YOU+; THEM+ position: this is the cohesive family democratic collective position; a kind of an ideal and its motto is “We love everybody”.

1/b.) I+; YOU+; THEM- position: the demagogue, snob or gang position, its motto is “Who needs them?!”.

2/a.) I+; YOU-; THEM+ position: this is the canvassers and unsatisfied position, its mottos is “You are worse than them over there!”

2/b.) I+; YOU-; THEM- position: this is the lonely but puffed up with pride critic position, in a clear form pretty arrogant attitude. Its motto is “Everybody should surrender to me and adore me, as possible as inferiors can.”

3/a.) I-; YOU+; THEM+ position: self-mortifying saint or masochist, the clear position of melancholic. Its motto is “I’m the most worthless person in the world!”

3/b.) I-; YOU+; THEM- position: it is a servile position of that person, who works for somebody to get reward and privilege, mainly because of being snob not because of a need. Its motto is “I humiliate myself and you rewarded me generously, not like the others over there!”

4/a.) I-; YOU-; THEM+ position: servile enviousness and some political line position. “They hate us because it doesn’t go that well for us than to them.”

4/b.) I-; YOU-; THEM- position: the cynical pessimist position and those whom believe in the original destiny and the original sin. “None of us is good for anything anywhere.”

There are uncertain life positions and those which are flexible:

1: I+; YOU+; THEM? position: Evangelist position. I and you are okay but we don’t know anything about them till they show their will and take our side.”

2: I+; YOU?; Them-: arrogant aristocrat position. “Most of the people are worthless, about you….I am waiting till you show your recommendatory letters.”

Well, there are several other positions more and in various mix as well. What about your I? What about your view on YOU and THEM?

Winners and losers – Book of destiny – Transaction analyses

Already has been proved that early childhood effects are determinant elements in our life, kind of a programing on our brain. Determines the path and the connection between neurons, establishing a special wiring and most of the times we act according to it and specifies our way of living and acting later.

According to transaction analyses these early childhood effects start in the breast feeding time and can shape our destiny later, becoming a winner or loser or one of their subtypes. These effects start like short scripts and later can expand into complex dramas. These short scripts are usually between two people, the mother and the child and can get short script tittles, like: Public performance; It’s not time yet!; When you finished dear; When I’m tired of it; Hurry!; Who is biting doesn’t get nipples!; When mom is smoking; Sorry, but the phone is ringing; Again, why is she/he dawdling?; Never enough to him/her!; First from the left and after from the right; She/he seems pale; Let him/her till it’s enough; Isn’t she/he adorable?; The golden moment of peace and love; Cradle-song.

These script tittles are telling a lot about the mother and also strongly about the effect which impacts the child willy-nilly.

Later the bathroom scenes become a little bit more complex, like: Look, how she/he is so adorable!; It’s time now!, Have you finished finally?; Just sit there my dear until you finished!; Hurry!; Smelly!; While mommy is smoking; Filling funnel; Take your cathartic; You become sick if it doesn’t come out; Let him/her to do as feel like it; Good boy/girl; Goooood boy/girl; I am singing while you are doing. In this time period often in these scenes three people are involved and the scripts can be like: I told you he/she hasn’t finished yet; Don’t let him/her to leave without doing it; I’ll teach him how to do it; Try harder; You are bother him/her darling; And why not….?; Well, yes but…..; She will outgrow it!

And later comparison can appear like, Susan already can do it!

Generally can be well predicted who will become a winner or a loser. Someone who even subconsciously heard that – Isn’t she/he adorable?! – and after two years later heard that – Great boy/girl, isn’t she/he? – presumably better/feels better than who heard that – Filling funnel! Again why is she/he dawdling again!.  Here parents plant the core of feeling that I’m okay or I’m not okay. This feeling is going to separate present and future princes/princesses from the present and future “frogs/ugly duckling” and their subtypes.

The subtypes:

  1. The Everlasting Prince/Princess (Isn’t he/she adorable?!) who has a successful and meaningful book of destiny. These children when they grow up, they have a more stable self-esteem than others, have opened mindset to others and differences (not everything black or white) and they look at problems as challenges on a positive way. Usually these adults are also emotionally grown up, they are able to see others like with using empathy and free from judgments.
  2. The Conditional Prince/Princess (Look how she/he is so adorable! Hurry!) who can stay as a prince/princess if he/she is meet the requirements. These children when they grow up have a misbelief which is if the others say I’m okay and they are happy that means I’m okay. Here the being loved just because of the way she/he is (unconditional love) has mixed up with the meaning of I’m loved because what and how I do. “We love you if….!”
  3. Conditional Frog/Ugly duckling (Who is biting doesn’t get nipples! Smelly! Seems pale!) who can stop being a Frog/Ugly duckling who doesn’t do anything against the conditions which have been set up by parents or others.
  4. Hideous Frog/Ugly duckling (While mommy is smoking;) can’t be saved. They are who have low or very unstable self-esteem, they are the perfect victims or abusers. They see the world in black or white and generally they are emotionally immature.

The Everlasting Prince/Princess can become a Frog/Ugly duckling just by a catastrophe and the Frog/Ugly duckling can become a Prince/Princess by miracle. Of course there are exceptions, people who had got awful messages but they were able to overcome, with or without help or those who have got all of the support and compliments and became narcissistic like a golden child.

These “messages” given by our parents or the lack of messages can be changed. First with understanding our current situation or condition (like low self-esteem), using recognition to see how they work and overwriting them.

The persecutor and the fugitive – relationship games

Our relationships are very important in a point of view of health, like mentally, emotionally and physically being healthy. The quality of our relationships influences us very strongly, like a very good relationship can be therapeutically effective, where we can trust and rely on somebody and can get an objective feedback, like a mirror. In a good relationship we are able to change. However often happens that the relationship what we have doesn’t provide too much happiness, joy or security.

The emotional availability and response is surpassingly important in a relationship. If our search for closeness is not satisfied properly, desperation, anger and negative behaviour spiral can appear which can cause endless arguments.

The established emotional bonding in early childhood affects how we react to emotional insecurity. The adult emotional bonding can become hyperactive when we look for contact exaggeratedly, becoming clingy, questioning our partner or becoming aggressive and over-controlling. The emotional bonding can become deactivated as well. In this case we run away, stepping out from those situations when our partner would recall our needs and we try to push away our own needs. Often this two occurrences is visible on two people who are together as a couple. One of them is persecuting and the other is running away.


Unsolved conflicts (swept under the carpet) can freeze the relationship.

If we look behind this dynamic we can see how lonely these two people are and they experience the same insufficiencies but they cope with it on a different way. When a problem or insecurity appears in a relationship, fear and insecurity feeling are switched on which can freeze the relationship completely. These buttons can get activated by a real negative experience or by a real or fictive danger which is threatening our relationship. The persecutor can afraid of becoming abandoned and the fugitive can afraid of becoming refused. Behind the arguments and misunderstandings there are untold questions like – Can I trust you? Do you stand by me? Am I important to you? Do you accept and respect me?

In this persecutor-fugitive relationship the best what we can do (if we don’t ask professional help) is to call deeper emotional levels because just in this way we can see our partner on a more empathic way and can recognize our own and our partner’s emotional needs. Often not enough to improve our communication skills to dissolve these type of games (child-parent game; persecutor-fugitive; victim-savior etc.)

The first step is always recognition, like observing our relationship if it’s balanced or not. Are we on the same level or you act like a parent and I obey as a child? Am I too needy or are you unavailable always?

The key of a happy relationship is always about balance.


Complaint – When does it become destructive?

Can you recall a situation when you had to listen somebody’s complaint in the last few days? Or you just got into a negative spiral and saw everything negatively? Time by time we all tend to see negatively everything and express it. It’s a good feeling to send forth our sadness, disappointments and hurt. However there is a point where from the continuous complaint can become destructive. Absolutely an unaffected reflex that if we experienced something unpleasant we would try to share that with somebody to easy the caused tension. If we complained to somebody about our problem, that would cause a temporary relief but by itself just rarely helps to find the solution. Always nice to tell to somebody what hurts because it’s kind of a tool to process negative experiences but also has different meaning when we talk about complaint as an attitude. Complaint is mainly autotelic, nothing happens, nothing is going to change by its effect and what is worse it has a negative effect on people around and also strengthen the negative emotions in the person who is complaining.


Shades of complaint

There are different communication forms and levels of our offences.

  1. Notorious lamentation: They are the permanent malcontents, they are always able to find a negative focus or negative point, doesn’t matter who with or what they are talking about. It’s not so difficult because people are not perfect and we always can find what we don’t like in something or somebody if we make an effort looking for it. But these people actually don’t have problems with the others, generally they are unsatisfied with themselves but it’s not easy to recognize and admit it.
  2. Who look for a cover: These people are like asking something from us but not even waiting for our answer launching his/her own complaint. They try to release a strong internal tension, so they start a conversation with others just looking for a cover for ventilation. The topic of their complaints mainly are the same and the repetitive worry doesn’t give any relief rather strengthen their anxiety.
  3. Who look for confirmation: In this case the aim of the complaint is looking for confirmation from others about a planned idea or something what they have done. They try to become more confident by external feedbacks and confirmations. They use complaints to get support, understanding and confirmation by other people around. They look for the most empathic people who listen and encourage them.

The main reason of complaint often is not about the subject itself, mostly it comes from the dissatisfaction with ourselves.

In the background

The basic characteristic of destructive complaints is it has become part of the behaviour, has become a habit. The focus of our perception is on the negative sides and in the meantime our schemas of experience are becoming fixed, so we concentrate on how that particular situation is so bad. The motive behind complaint – mainly the notorious form – is exaggerated self-centrism. In this case we see the world just from our point of view and that’s why we are able to understand people’s action and happening just from our standpoint. Chronic complaints always connect with distortion of the understanding the relation between the self and the world and we are not able to interpret properly the connection between them. This improper interpretation can cause a strong internal tension and dissatisfaction. The expression of the dissatisfaction can trend towards the outside world however in the background there is the dissatisfaction with ourselves mainly. This ambivalence can cause unbalanced self-image and doubtful negative self-estimation. In this case we experience our complaints well established. We feel that the world is hostile and we are unsuccessful and tied.

If we “practice” this habit for a while and we get use to it and later we can get stuck in it. If the aim was to get other’s sympathy consciously or subconsciously till now, we would become timid and sceptic with ourselves. Our self-confidence and initiative can decrease and we can feel more and more helplessness, become depressed and less motivated. As a result our performance declines, we can become unsuccessful in real. We can invest so much energy into complaints which can pay off unfortunately. What we were complaining about can become truth. This attitude also can change our brain because it has an effect on the connection between neurons. When we are complaining the cortisol (stress hormone) level is increasing in our body, which is increasing our blood pressure and the level of blood sugar. If we wiped out complaint from our communication channels, the flow of communication would be clear and we would find solution for our problem easier.

Instead of lamentation

To avoid lamentation we don’t need anything else, just to improve our self-knowledge and effective knowledge of reality. It’s a result of long time process and deliberate work. Some tips as a first step.

  1. Change the way you are speaking! For instance Instead of saying “I hate this, that or being like this or that…” Say “Would be very nice this or that…”
  2. Analyze the situation! What is exactly happened? Critical way of thinking!
  3. Action! What can I do to change the situation? Usually chronic complainers never reach the action step, they don’t even think there are things which can be changed.

If we become a target of a chronic complainer, which can be very exhausting, use positive communication. Like “What did go well today with you?”

The center of our complaints usually are automatic negative thoughts but if we can manage to be aware of them and making an effort to rephrase and break them down, we can get close to our goal. We also can start to keep a diary with positive things, which things went well or what positive things happened with us daily. Keeping a gratitude diary can also help and change our continuous dissatisfaction mood. It doesn’t need to be a diary but at least a short daily summary what we are grateful for. When we feel that we are slipping back to the negative thought spiral, just open your diary and see, positive things happen as well.


Poisoned self-estimation – how can we get rid of stigmas?

How we define ourselves depends particularly on people around. We shape our self-image and self-confidence according to our relationships with them. However social experience is not always positive. Stigmas and labels given by others can influence our self-estimation radically. How prejudices can affect us and what can we do against?

Stigma comes from the Greek language means physical denunciation. In the middle age they used to burn it onto people’s body who lost honour and it was the indelible sign of shame. In psychology they are those characteristics which cause the feeling of shame and the person who has it is excluded (or believes being excluded) from the society.


I stigmatize so I am

Every characteristics which are different from others can be a reason for stigmatizing. The reason of exclusion can be internal or external differences like physical defect, skin colour, sexual extravagancy but also a mental illness, homosexuality or addiction as well. So the person is “different”. Why is it so difficult to accept if somebody or something is different? But nobody can be perfectly ordinary, anybody can get into a company where doesn’t fit perfectly to its norms and becoming a target of prejudice. Actually everything starts with categorization. Prejudices are in the background of the basic process which leads to stigmatization. Behind prejudices there is a stereotypical mindset which attach typical characteristics and emotions to groups. Very important to highlight that even if somebody is using stereotypes that doesn’t mean that person is malicious. Our prejudices are kind of a secondary product of how we try to understand the world. We meet a lot of people day by day and we don’t have time to get to know every each of them profoundly. Those people who seem the same we reckon them among one group to find our way in the social world and we see all of those people alike in the group. However if we put all of the people into boxes made by our stereotypes, we don’t get to know them. We create “we” and “others” categories where we believe the “we” is preferable without being aware of it. Often when we raisethe value of “we” in parallel with it we underrate the “others”. The other disadvantage of using stereotypes is they are not reliable and accurate (subjective-generalization) even if they make easier to sense the system of the world. The characteristic of a group doesn’t hint the characteristic of a person. For instance, not all of the homeless people are alcoholic and not all of the overweight people are weak etc.

The harmful effects of stigmatization can affect the self-esteem on two ways. One way is when the person experiences and recognizes those negative assessments coming from others. On the other way those negative comments appear in the person’s mind as well what with subconsciously identifying himself/herself on some level and by this means stigmatization has an active role in the development of the identity.

As an outcome of all these effects the stigmatized role become visible in the behaviour, like a self-fulfilling prophecy and the person will act more and more as the others expect to do. If somebody gets a “label” often enough, step by step starts to define himself/herself according to it. Become one with it and adjusts the own self to the attached expectation of those labels. The social exclusion connected to stigmatization can cause even more damage. If somebody experienced continuous refusal/rejection or threat from the environment, he/she would avoid social interactions. At the same time the social exclusion can cause similar course of nervous system as the physical pain. Can cause the feeling of loneliness, lost control and anxiety.

What can we do?

If the stigma became one with the identity we underrate ourselves. Often in these cases the need to belong gets activated in the excluded person and depends on the environment mainly if she/he can re-fit again successfully. Important to focus on those things in which the excluded person is talented or good and highlighting positive characteristics. With this mindset the excluded person can turn the others’ focus onto the own personality, the positive side (which everybody has) removing from the stigma. Very important here when this excluded person gets into a group continuously monitors in what she/he is different from the others and doesn’t even think, there are things (surely) in which she/he can be similar to them. If the stigmatized person could have experienced that she/he has the control on his/her own life and working on knowing better himself/herself, she/he could be less defenceless to others’ opinions.


5 elements of emotional intelligence

The duality of emotions and intellect is already has accepted as a fact nowadays and have got across on every area of our life. We understand more those emotional factors which come from our feelings and also we understand to listen to our intuitions is not a weakness but means having opened mindset and positive attitude. It seems like emotional intelligence is the same important factor as genetic characteristics and cognitive knowledge and experiences. If we were able to balance both we could have a great chance to have successful social relationships, successful carrier and deliberate completed life. Often we can see that somebody has great successes in business but the private or social life is weak and poor or the opposite. This can show the missing balance between intellect and emotional intelligence (like Steve Jobs). If the balance is missing we try to compensate but mainly on the wrong side, like working harder and pushing to have more and more success in business and this is exactly what most of the people do who are out of the balance between heart and mind. We should be aware of how our emotions are so important. Not so sure if we are always aware of what we feel and how our actual emotional condition influences our “working mode”, our mindset and our health and happiness.


I’m sure we all have experienced that there are days when we feel today everything is going to be fine, there are no problems and everybody is nice at our working place. Maybe a small experience or feeling (which didn’t seem recognizable in that moment) triggered the process to feel this “easy going mode” (feeling satisfied, happy, believing in good, kindness etc.) This mode has given us a positive feeling and we are beaming. With this mode we influence others around and that’s why they are acting positively with us but also in this mode we don’t detect significantly negative signs. We have infected our environment with a positive “virus”. If we want to find out how somebody is good or bad or what this person is thinking in that moment, we can try to adjust our facial expression to that person’s and then wait for what kind of thoughts or feelings are coming up in our mind or in our heart. This exercise comes from Edgar Allan Poe writer from the XIX. century and it’s brilliant.

Why do we need to look into someone? Why do we need to understand and care about others? Why can’t we just live as we feel like it, alone and don’t carry about others?

Actually we can but we must consider its consequences which are we are alone, we are not going to be accepted by any community and become lonely and burned out. We are social animals! We can go on with a behaviour like not considering other’s feelings and thoughts and having friends but those people around will act on the same way as we do and the outcome is the same, being lonely but surrounded by people. This is a big epidemic phenomena nowadays. Surrounded by people but being lonely.

How do we know if somebody’s emotional intelligence (EQ) is high?

It has several component and including several outward forms. If we want to know how our EQ is or just want to know how its outward forms are I suggest you to map 5 areas which are;

– Relationships, communication: How are your relationships with other people? Do you communicate easily with them, honestly without playing? Do others usually understand you easily or you need to use long time explanations?

– Empathy – NOT SYMPATHY: Can you be empathic with others? Are you able to feel what they do like putting yourself into their shoes? Are you able to attune to others even when it’s not important to you?

– Self-identity, authenticity:  How is your self-confidence? Low or too high? Are you authentic? Showing and acting like the way you are and the way you think or/and feel? Does your self work according to your scale of values consequently?

– Adaptability: How can you adopt changes? How do you handle stress? Are you able to learn from your own mistakes?

– Creativity, positive attitude, openness: How creative are you? How positive your attitude is to take challenges? How is your problem solving management?

If we need to highlight one from these 5 areas, I would choose empathy. On the one side these knowledges, sensitivities and competencies are not able to be separated from each other strictly and on the other hand empathy is the base of the others.

Researches proved that just from body posture, body language and from mimicry we are able to sense each other’s mental condition. So if we want to attune to somebody, try to take over the other’s body expression, after the feeling is coming by itself.

Interesting thing is supposedly this kind of technique works immediately with negative feelings especially with anger. If it’s true we must consider that how our negative feelings and messages are harmful. Would be very good to see ourselves from outside and being able to perceive if another person is just attaching own negative mental condition to us. Just think how is your day when your boss is coming to work in a bad mood or your partner is angry? I’m not even talking about all of those negative news from the media. We must consider those attached negative feelings can have serious consequences.

The emotional intelligence is improvable, hundreds of books have been written about it, what it is, its necessity and how to improve it.

Try to pay attention to others emotional condition, what kind of feelings do you get from them? What do you radiate from yourself? Are you understanding other people and their emotions?

Do you believe in that if everybody improved on the area of empathy our world would be a better place?


Grow up! – Being emotionally adult

Being emotionally adult doesn’t depend on the age, we can see people with the age of 35 or 50 acting like a small child or a child with the age of 11 acting like a responsible adult. What are exactly the key capacities of an adult behaviour and mature relationships?

When we are talking about being an adult the first thing which pops up in people’s mind is responsibility.

Responsibility for actions: often we can’t control our thoughts and emotions in a certain moment but when we act deliberately we control that, indeed.

Responsibility for fate: an adult is an active participant of what is happening with or around him/her. His/her own belief is being the one who is able to shape own life. If something is going wrong, knowing that he/she has part in it and not looking herself/himself as a victim who is submitted to life or others. So, if she/he doesn’t like something willing to change.

Responsibility for own words: doesn’t feed anyone with promises or make them rashly.

Responsibility for making decisions: deliberately setting up goals and go for them. An emotionally adult person can decide what is important in her/his life and makes a sacrifices for it.


Exist independently – independency

Independency is connected to reach the responsibility level. An adult is able to make decisions without waiting for others’ guiding. Able to create security and asks help just if she/he is stuck or doesn’t know something. Establishing financial independency is important for creating security.

Own reality – stable identity

Finding own personality is one of the objective of adolescence, so having a fully developed and mature identity is one of the most important part of being an adult. Knowing that who I’m and what I’m capable of. Emotionally mature people are able to see themselves from outside and make efforts to create own image by everyday experiences. They have a clear view about their negative and positive characteristics and able to see their relationships real. They make efforts to know their driving forces which are under the surface and difficult to detect them. Emotionally mature people let themselves to feel own emotions but when it’s time to act they make rational decisions. They are able to handle separately the emotional and intellectual-conceptual processes and choose by which they are going to decide. They live by their own values and guiding principles, in unity with themselves. Part of being emotionally mature also is not reacting defensively for feedbacks. They don’t deny negative critics obviously, they are happy when they get constructive critics and opened to explore new things for expanding their knowledge.

The presence of us – mature relationships

Emotionally mature people strive for equality in their relationships not like emotionally immatures. Emotionally childish people react for old, often unsolved conflicts and easily assume a character a parent or a child. Who is emotionally mature doesn’t want to see just the security provider parent in her/his partner since she/he is able to provide that without others. Wants a person who is equal and learns to give and get love.

Sometimes we don’t work in “adult mode” and completely normal to feel hurt when we get a negative critic. However we can have a fruitful and happy life if we have established the “adult mode” as a basic condition.


How can we become emotionally mature?

According to Eric Berne (transaction analyses) we work in different modes in social interactions. He separated three modes, like child mode, adult and parent mode. The child mode is the source of emotions, intuitions, needs, creativity and life energy and works mainly based on personal experiences. In adult mode a person works like a computer, based on facts and information instead of intuitions.

In adult mode a person solves problems logically and doesn’t let taking possession of the child or the parent mode. The adult mode calls out equality in relationships.

What kind of skills we need to learn to become emotionally mature if it hasn’t happened yet?

  1. Be present!

Emotionally mature people’s relationships are built on presence needs instead of the past. Here and now philosophy is very important because that’s how we learn to decide responsively. When we are present we become more aware of happenings and our own reactions and helps to avoid acting on a usual, negative old way. Being present gives us the awareness and the control. Think of an important happening! What did cause your reaction? What did you think when you experienced it? What kind of feeling did you feel? What was the outcome of the situation? If we asked this questions from ourselves we would be able to find the answer in which situations we feel good or bad. We are able to see patterns and figure out when we actually have a choice. With this kind of “outside” view we are able to get know ourselves which is the basic stone of a stable identity.

  1. Accept the reality!

A lot of people think that reality is actually subjective. However there are parts which exist independently from an opinion. Some real elements are chosen by us, like who with we get married for instance, other elements we owes or can’t be influenced, like our figure. Often is difficult to see what we can change and what we can’t. In the development of emotional maturity we are able to explore what we are able to change. If we accepted and respected our reality we would have a better chance for having happiness and effectiveness than to fight against. With denial, complaining or the refusal of thinking about uncomfortable reality elements we just run away from the reality what actually we live in. For instance if you worry about your relationship, sit down and think what is exactly bothering you. How did it become a love-less relationship? When did it start? What is your part in this change? Nobody said that these things are good to think of, but the opposite because this way of thinking is a kind of stepping out from the comfort zone. But if we became aware of this part that would give us back the control and after the supporting to find the solution how to change it.

  1. Take responsibility!

Responsibility is one of the key element of adulthood. The quality of our life depends mainly on what kind of decisions we have made or if we have set up the right goals. We believe some situations didn’t depend on us, we didn’t have a choice or it was not our fault. Are you sure? We all know things don’t happen just like that, we have influence on them. Try to break your negative patterns, see and understand them before react, we always have a choice how we act. Keep in mind your long-term goals and try to eliminate those behaviours which can hinder your achievements. We always have a choice how we act in a situation!

  1. Make our perceptions clear!

We become happier when we are able to set up a satisfying and mature goal and when we have the internal motivation to reach it. We must know what we would like/want to reach. If we knew what the most important or significant thing in our life it would be easier to think and act in important situations. With keeping in mind our goal we are able to see the optimal outcome. Without clear goals we might get easily disturbed by circumstances and impulses. Define what your desires are! Often our desires are out of our comfort zone but that doesn’t mean they are bad.

  1. Do for your goals and be authentic!

Being responsible for our own words is also an important part of being an adult, what we want is in tune with what we say. Our precepts and actions are correlated. Choosing commitment and discipline instead of easy solutions and comfort. For instance our business partner (who with we have a great relationship) is setting up a database but we don’t like its structure and we know using it is going to bring some annoyance to us. When it’s coming to talk about it we can decide not mentioning our problem with it. We are able to maintain our relationship with him/her but we become annoyed every time when we use it. Or we can decide that standing up for our opinion, even if it brings some arguments. At the first choice we don’t even give a chance to change. (Typical in very conformist or co-dependent people) but at the second after few uncomfortable minutes we may be able to set up a database system for our future success. In this example you can see that we must pay prices to reach long-term goals. We might get into an uncomfortable situation or we might don’t feel secured for a while. This is the price of our precepts and desires become real.

Becoming emotionally mature is a long term process and it doesn’t work by itself. What we can do is awaking, paying attention and taking responsibility. Paying attention to ourselves is the first step because without it all the others are impossible to be done.


The Five Levels of Intimacy

In my previous post you could read about intimacy and today I’m sharing more about it with you. Psychologists have identified 5 levels of emotional intimacy we all move through as we get to know someone. It shows how intimacy develops over time.

Level One: Safe Communication – Cliché-Conversation

Level one is the lowest level of communication. We call it safe because it involves the exchange of facts and information. There are no feelings, opinions or personal vulnerability involved, and therefore no risk of rejection. This is the kind of interaction we have with people we don’t know well. It’s the chitchat we share with the clerk at the market or a stranger at a party. People communicating at this level share minimal intimacy.

When couples remain at this level, it leaves a frustrating, unrewarding, and meaningless marriage.

Level Two: Others’ Opinions and Beliefs – Factual Communication

At level two we start sharing other people’s thoughts, beliefs and opinions. We are beginning to reveal more of ourselves through our associations. We say things like, “My father always says…” or “One of my favourite authors said…” Such statements test the other person’s reaction to what we’re sharing without offering our own opinions. This is slightly more vulnerable than level one, but because we’re not sharing our own opinions we can distance ourselves from the opinion if we feel threatened by criticism or rejection.

Factual communication are necessary to make our relationship and family life run like exchanging information about your family members or planning up on weekend. But when communication get stuck at this level, just like with cliché-conversation, it leaves a marriage unrewarding and meaningless.

Level Three: Personal Opinions and Beliefs

We start taking small risks at this level because we begin to share our own thoughts, opinions and beliefs. But like the previous level, if we begin feeling too vulnerable, we can say we’ve switched our opinions or changed our mind in order to avoid conflict or pain. Here the importance of self-esteem appears.

Level Four: My Feelings and Experiences-Sharing of Emotions and Feelings

At this level, a spouse begins to show not only what’s in his head but also what’s in his heart. Sharing feelings and experiences is the next level of vulnerability and intimacy. Verbalizing feelings of happiness, disappointment, hurts and anger. At this level we talk about our joys, pain, and failures; our mistakes in the past, our dreams, and our goals. What we like or don’t like. What makes us who we are. This level is more vulnerable because we can’t change how we feel about something, the details of our past or current experiences. If we sense we may be rejected or criticized all we can do is try to convince others that we’re no longer impacted by our past. We’re no longer that person. We’re different now but also important highlighting that, this is who we are.

It is when we share our emotions with our spouse that we feel loved, valued, seen, and cared for. Alternating between sharing of opinions and emotions is a good combination in marriage communication. Here we have a deeper understanding of our spouse, how he/she thinks and how he/she feels.

Level Five: My Needs, Emotions and Desires

Level five is the highest level of intimacy. It is the level where we are known at the deepest core of who we are. Because of that, it is the level that requires the greatest amount of trust. If I can’t trust that you won’t reject me, I’ll never be able to share my deepest self with you. Unlike the other levels, there is no escape at this level. Once I let someone see who I really am, I can no longer convince them otherwise. Communicating at this level means we offer someone the most vulnerable part of ourselves. And the greatest fear is that they could use it against us later. When we share things like, “I’m hurt when you don’t call,” I need to feel respected by you,” or “I want to spend my life with you,” we’re sharing not only our hurts but our desires and needs as well. It’s also the level where we let others see our emotional reaction to things, which if you’re like me, isn’t always a pretty sight. Maybe that’s why we save those for the ones closest to us, like our families.

Real Intimacy

It’s important to understand that true intimacy in a relationship happens over time…not in a day, week or even a month. But another important element is needed for true intimacy…both people in the relationship need to move through the levels together. If I’m sharing at level four with someone (feelings and experiences) but my partner is sharing at level three (opinions and beliefs) we’re not experiencing true intimacy. I may feel closer because I’m sharing at a higher level, but in reality what we have is a false sense of intimacy.  Intimacy is measured by the person with the lower level of vulnerability.

What can we do if we realize that, there is no intimacy in our life or having a block at one of the level and we can’t move on?


First thing what we can do is to identify at which level our relationship is blocked. The second step is to see from whose side this block is made. It’s possible we feel that we are opened but our partner doesn’t. If we can see the block is set up by us without causing by our partner, self-knowledge is our best tool to recognize, understand and change it. However to change it often requires professional help. Also numerous times people don’t have a picture about how an intimate relationship is and how it works because they have never seen or experienced it.

One of the typical intimacy blocks is fear.

Here are some common ways people distance themselves emotionally as a result of a fear of intimacy:

  • Holding back affection
  • Reacting indifferently or adversely to affection or positive acknowledgement
  • Becoming paranoid or suspicious of a partner
  • Losing interest in sexuality
  • Being overly critical of a partner
  • Feeling guarded or resistant to being close

Fear of intimacy begins to develop in our early childhood. As children, when we experience rejection and/or emotional pain, we often shut down or believe in those negative feedbacks/reactions which mean we are not worthy to be loved, we are bad or deffective. We learn not to rely on others as a coping mechanism. After being hurt in our earliest relationships, we fear being hurt again, it’s a circle where we can get trapped. We are reluctant to take another chance on being loved. Intimacy requieres bravery as I wrote in my previous post but we should not minimize the power of fear as well.

If we felt unseen, misunderstood, unloved or deffective as children, we may have difficulties believing that someone could really love and value us. The negative feelings we developed toward ourselves in our early years, became a deeply embedded part of who we think we are, as part of our self. (This embedded part of our self most of the times is deep and difficult to change.) Therefore, when someone is loving and reacts positively toward us, we experience a conflict within ourselves. We don’t know whether to believe this new person’s kind and loving point of view of us or our old, familiar sense of our identity. So, we often react with suspicion and distrust when someone loves us, because our fear of intimacy has been aroused. Also can appear here that we start to set up a mask, acting accordingly to our belief which is how our partner wants to see us. We don’t show our real self, just a development of a created perfect self which is suitable to our partner’s need and image (Co-dependency).

Even though the fear of intimacy is a largely unconscious process, we can still observe how it effects our behavior. Acting on our fears preserves our negative self-image, keeps us in an unhappy circle.

However, we can overcome fear of intimacy. We can develop ourselves to stop being afraid of love and let someone in. We can recognize the behaviors that are driven by our fear of intimacy and challenge these defensive reactions that preclude love. By taking the actions necessary to challenge our fear of intimacy we can expand our capacity for both giving and accepting love.