A psychologist friend of mine once gave me the sentence completion exercise below. For each of the incomplete sentences she gave me, I was to complete the sentence with as many sentence endings as I wanted to.
1. Independence to me means :-
2. I feel loved, supported and connected when:-
3. I feel powerful and have a sense of achievement when:-
4. I have fun when :-
5. I know my physical needs for money, things and pleasure are fulfilled when:-
After I finished I was to assess on a scale of 0-10 what was my state of fulfillment for each, and whether I was satisfied with it. If I was not satisfied with my state of fulfillment then I should assess how much would I like it to be, and what steps could I take to bring it to my level of satisfaction.
I truly enjoyed the process of thinking it out. It was very revealing and enjoyable. And I feel all of us should do this exercise. These are very basic human needs. As a human being all of us would have these needs. We can add quite a few more – like ‘My love for contribution is fulfilled when :-‘ , ‘My need for learning and clarity is met when :-‘
And exercise like this puts us in touch with basic person who thinks ‘I need _______ to be happy’. It is very useful to recognize our own needs and learn to recognize our emotions in terms of our unfulfilled needs. Then we can also learn harmonious ways to request others to honour our legitimate needs, when it is within their power to do so. This in turn would teach us how to honour the legitimate needs of others, when it is within our power to do so. This would certainly go a long way to making us all more satisfied people.
Now the questions is what happens when our need is NOT fulfilled or cannot be fulfilled? Is it possible to be happy when ones needs are not fulfilled? I pose this question to you for the time being. And I will give the answer later in terms of what the Bhagavad-Gita reveals about managing our needs.
Om Tat Sat