Archive for July 14th, 2020

July 14, 2020

Primal themes

by Rod Smith

In formal and informal settings I have listened to people talk about their lives all of my professional life. If there are frequently-recurring thematic areas of primal longings, they would be:

  • The desire for recognition from family and peers. Many times people have told me they feel, or might as well be, invisible.
  • The desire for a meaningful work – to accomplish something that counts, to be involved in work that makes a positive difference to others.
  • The desire to be understood – for another to take the time to hear and see life through their lens. 
  • The desire to be appreciated and for that appreciation to be expressed.
  • The desire to be surrounded by beautiful things – not expensive or opulent, just beautiful. 
  • The desire to be forgiven for indiscretions large and small, benign or damaging, many of which have been harbored in a tortured memory for decades. 
  • The ache for the affirmation of a father or a father figure. I have heard boys and girls and men and women repeatedly express a craving for someone who could be fully trusted, who was a non-anxious and listening presence, who offered necessary and appropriate protection and freedom, all at the same time.