In the past blog I discussed the concept of emotional hunger. If you’re in relationships that feel disconnected or where you're left thirsty for real, steady connections, read on.
Emotional hunger is similar, yet different to physical hunger. Try to remember the last time that you were incredibly hungry. Your tummy grumbled and your digestive track got the walls ready to secrete digestive enzymes, preparing for the food you'll be eating. You digestive track knows what to do to take in the nutritional components to feed your body and release the rest. There are certain foods that are nourishing for your body and leave you feeling satiated and others that leave you craving more.
As well, your mood and state of being affects how the food settles and when your body signals that you're full. If you're calm you can "Rest and Digest", however if you're in a state of survival, feeling anxious or worried, you're in "Fight or Flight" and your digestive tract stops working until you're in a "rest and digest mode".
Here are some points between hunger and the way you feel.
Physical hunger has a few components:
On the other hand, Emotional hunger is defined by:
What are the emotional needs that we all desire in relationships with loved ones, acquaintances or friends? Gentle care, Interest, Curiosity, Love, Companionship, Affection, and to be heard, to feel seen, to be understood, to feel appreciated, to be nurtured, and to be valued.
When your relationship(s) is lacking some or all of these components, you may notice feelings of apathy, irritability, feeling tired, angry or just overall blah. Now, In order for you to get your emotional needs met, you need to feel comfortable asking for what you need. When you're confident with yourself (first), you're often able to request for what you need with ease. The second part of this is choosing to be in relationships with other healthy individuals who have the capacity, ability and interest in connecting emotionally as well.
Here's the thing, the exact opposite of closeness and connection is a feeling of isolation and abandonment. When you're feeling unseen, invalidates or disrespected you may be feeling isolated and alone. You may have a similar experience if you've recently experienced a loss of closeness or end of a relationship, as it would be normal to experience emotions similar to those of emotional abandonment.
Abandonment can feel like a deep hunger pang, a sense of emptiness and desire for something more. Emotional abandonment is the exact reason why you can feel alone and unseen even when you're around others, just as you can "eat" but still feel incredibly empty inside.
There are a few factors involved in feeling satiated in relationships.
Take a moment and ponder the following.
Maybe you're needing to choose better friends, limiting time spent with negative people, and sift out the elements that are weighting you down. On the flip side, you may need more intimacy, nurturing, deepening of connection and alone time with the loved ones in your life.
It's time to be mindful about your interactions, keeping and strengthening the ones that nourish you.
Take these tips to your relationships to help you forge deeper, stronger bonds. Your engagement is a vital component in your relationships!
For today, take a moment to notice who you are within your surroundings.
Practice presence as you lean in to the connectivity the world and others have offer in your day-to-day interactions.
Esther Goldstein LCSW is psychotherapist and trauma specialist with a private practice in Cedarhurst, NY. Esther specializes in treating anxiety, trauma, relationship issues and parenting struggles with an emphasis on developing healthy attachments. Esther currently runs Dialectical Behavioral Therapy groups in her practice, and facilitates Trauma Informed Consultation groups for therapists committed to improving their trauma-informed practice. Esther's website is esthergoldsteinpsych.com