Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Friday, April 25, 2014

Stepping it Up in 2014: Love and Belonging

The need for love and belonging is the strongest of the basic psychological needs, according to William Glasser's Choice Theory. Our spouses, partners, family, and friends satisfy the need for love and belonging. So do groups, clubs, organizations, sports, and workplaces. It’s about love, relationships, giving and receiving affection, social connections, and being part of a group.

Long ago, people found out that when they banded together, belonged to a tribe or group, life was easier, more satisfying, and also safer, thereby also satisfying the need for survival. When we band together, we are cared for, feel comfortable and needed, and contribute to the good of all. We satisfy the need for love and belonging by cooperating with others.

As with all basic needs, everyone has them, but the degree or the intensity varies from person to person. In the workplace, we see those who have a lower need for love and belonging may prefer to work on their own and perhaps take their lunch out under a tree and sit alone to eat. Someone with a higher need may gather friends around a table at lunch time or suggest going out with one or more co-workers. These are the folks who might talk about their personal lives and become friends outside of work.

If you have a high level of need for love and belonging and are partnered with someone who has a much lower need, you may find yourself hanging onto your loved one to a point of annoyance to them. Since one person cannot be everything to a partner, seeking friends and groups outside the couple may be the way to get both parties’ needs met and sustain their relationship.

If we think about how our lives would be without our family and friends, we see how crucial it is to fulfill our need for love and belonging.

As a level 5, with a high need, I satisfy it by meeting up with individual friends for coffee and being involved in groups such as my writing club and the American Association of University Women (AAUW). I facilitate writing classes and attend conferences that help me personally and professionally.

What’s your level of need for love and belonging? your mate’s? your close family members’? How do you and they get this vital need satisfied? Which people or groups are instrumental in getting your requirement for love and belonging met? Working to see that each person's needs are met keeps our loved ones close.

~ xoA ~

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Stepping it Up in 2014: Survival

Everyone is genetically programmed with five basic needs. Choice Theory explains these needs -- survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun -- and attempting to get them met, motivate all our behaviors and affect our relationships.

Brand new babies are born with survival methods. They cry and suck. When they cry, someone, usually their mothers, takes care of them. Besides getting comfort and nourishment, a strong bond grows between babies and their mothers. Children soon acquire additional techniques for getting their needs met.

Intensity of needs varies from person to person and can be characterized by numbers on a scale of 1-5, five being highest. Over the years, my need for survival has changed. I’ve fluctuated between 3 and 4, depending on my life stage and what became important to me. When I began riding my motorcycle, I’m sure friends and family thought I hovered at one. I figured a 4 since I took a motorcycle safety class, always wore protective gear, kept my motorcycle in top repair, and  practiced my skills. 

Survival involves physical safety, financial security, and emotional stability. Judy’s need for survival surpasses mine. She is our health watcher, organizing our annual exams. She logs the results of every blood test and examines the trends. In financial matters, she’s the one who watches the market and investigates options. We laugh together as she says, “I have a high need for safety,” while checking the doors and setting the alarm system at bedtime.

How can two people who are not at the same level of a particular need get along so well? Because I realize Judy’s a five on survival, I know when we’ve entered the house after taking a dip in the spa, she must be sure that the back patio door is secured. I step away and allow her to lock it herself. If I leave an open window, she says, “Just tell me that you’ve opened a window, and I’ll make sure it’s closed.” No drama; no making it personal. And no taking it personally.

Each partner’s behavior is about them and what they need, not about the other one. It’s essential to recognize this and not become offended or get angry at behavior that is an expression of the need. Then the couple is able to communicate, see the value in each other’s concerns, and carry on without blame or criticism.

Think about your close ones and their behaviors. Try to assess their need for survival on a scale of 1-5. Does one child save his money in a piggy bank while another spends all his or gives it away? Does a good friend choose to risk having health issues by ignoring her family history? What about a cousin who jogs and watches her diet? 

Where are you on survival? Understanding one’s own and each other’s needs, and behaving accordingly, is key in maintaining successful relationships.

~ xoA ~