Experiencing Safety, Meaning, and Self-Worth In Your Life
Cultivating A Deep Inner Sense of Well-Being
Big Love’s Existential, Heart-Centered Essentials
“Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” (image on the right, above) has become a popular model for considering “stages” of well-being in today’s world. It provides a relatively objective and stratified view, suggesting a sequential process of well-being based on “climbing the ladder of success”.
But in reality, life is nowhere as neat and tidy as Maslow’s pyramid implies. Nor is it so cut-and-dried and objective as we might think. While “the outer” (external and tangible circumstances) plays a big role, ultimately it is “the inner” (subjective, interpretative) outcomes that dominate our sense of well-being. That means being centered.
Big Love portrays this with an image (as shown at the left, above) which suggests a dynamic, interactive process holding the existential issues of Safety, Meaning, and Self-Worth around heart- and spirit- centered consciousness. With Big Love in our heart as our primary reference point, we have a solid home-base for both meaning- and decision-making on a moment-by-moment basis.
With heart-centered consciousness, we focus on what we know to be true — putting outward appearances into their proper perspectives.
We are aware of points of discomfort and, when things need to change, we act with courage to move in the direction of our
We understand the importance of being “in the right places at the right time” — where our soul feels the most welcome — and we follow the Big Love that we hold in our hearts to take us to those places and conditions.
We acknowledge that one of our primary desires is to “make a difference” — to ourselves, others, and the world as a whole.
We understand that we have unique gifts and talents that are needed in the world — we were created to contribute, whether in small or large ways.
Finding and following our life’s purpose is of paramount importance, including committing to doing what has deep heart and meaning with joy and enthusiasm.
As we act in harmony with our personal heart-center and the Heart of the Universe, we experience positive feelings of worthiness — our birthright as children of Big Love.
When we experience feelings of shame or guilt, we acknowledge them but deny their power over us by practicing self-love and self-compassion.
As we connect with others and experience the value we all bring to Life — individually and collectively — we feel the fulfillment of both what we do and who we are, in joy and celebration of all there is.
In the Flow — Secure and Purposeful With High Self-Esteem
The realization of greater fulfillment in life depends, to a large extent, on being at peace in terms of Safety, Meaning, and Self-Worth. External events and circumstances provide a frame of reference for these. But more importantly, it is our responses to these — how we process, interpret, and internalize our experience — that ultimately determine our comfort level with each of these existential issues.
Safety — When we are feeling vulnerable — physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, or spiritually — our ability to focus and function most effectively is impaired. Our autonomic nervous system kicks in, signaling us with stress hormones which put us into a “fight or flight” mode. If our discomforts are not redressed, we may lapse into denial and/or may engage in self-harming, addictive behavior. Being conscious of the state of our personal and communal Safety is important, as are developing strategies and tools to achieve the equanimity of feeling secure in all ways.
Meaning — Having a strong sense that life is purposeful — and that our lives and actions matter — is what makes living worthwhile. In their book Active Hope, Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone write, “Active Hope involves identifying the outcomes we hope for and then playing an active role in bringing them about.” The Heart of the Universe provides inspiring ideas. We are called to use our Power of Imagination to transform them into meaningful outcomes that make a difference. It’s part of our Spiritful DNA!
Self-Worth — We usually use two different yardsticks to measure our self-worth. The first is a social response. It is based on our impressions on how we “fit-in” — do others “like, respect, and accept” us? It’s not only important to have adequate social skills for our basic survival — but also because our community provides a context for our life. Our second yardstick comes from our ego. How are we measuring up to our self-expectations? In both cases, using a Big Love orientation is helpful for attaining a holistic viewpoint — healthy and balanced sense of self with neither debilitating shame and guilt nor unwarranted egotism and self-importance.
Read More — For a view on Safety, Meaning, and Self-Worth in today’s times, reading our post “From Resistance to Insistence”” by clicking here.
Overcoming Existential Anxieties
Big Love’s overview of how to engage the existential topics of Safety, Meaning, and Self-Worth is based on a down-to-earth, experiential, and hands-on approach. We examine specific issues within each of these areas, ones that are meaningful and relevant in our world and lives today.
Being Spiritual Activists
The most admired spiritual leaders are activists — people who have taken courageous, principled stands for the greater good of their constituents and all of society. Think Gandhi, MLK, Jr., Mother Theresa, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, and more. In fact, upon closer examination (as part of this study) we’ll look at both the Buddha and Jesus in this light. But spiritual activism is not just for legendary leaders. It’s for us too — especially as we seek to bring more meaning into the world. [Coming Soon!]
W.I.T.W.I.T.W. = What’s In The Way Is The Way, a recent book by Mary O’Malley. This is a wonderfully poetic and helpful work for connecting with those things inside us that often derail us from being and doing what we’re dreaming of. Big Love’s course on W.I.T.W.I.T.W invites us to take an indepth look at Mary O’Malley’s creative, gentle, holistic, and highly imaginative way of facing up to things we otherwise might prefer to avoid — bringing us to enhanced sense of Self-Worth as we do!
Ways Big Love May Partner With You
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