Unlike our thoughts that flash like so many fishes through our awareness, our emotions - those slow and sometimes lumbering behemoths contain precious information about our deepest needs.
As living creatures that interact with our world moment-by-moment, we all have needs. I don't just mean the now popularized version of Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, although those needs are part of it. We have more specific needs - things that are important for us in our lives that might have built up over time to cumulate in THIS current point - which are still missing or unmet.
Our emotions and the stories contained within them, help us work out what these needs are, providing information that are more than clues.
If you've been practicing Focusing/ Mindfulness++ for a while, you would by now be familiar with how to tune into the physical aspect of our emotions and feelings, and to ask the right kind of questions to elicit those emotional stories and themes contained within them. The next step is to ask questions to identify those needs.
Here are a few samples:
1) Knowing what you now know (about the emotional stories), what do you need? Why?
2) What will be a small step in the right direction towards feeling more OK, knowing these emotional themes?
3) What's missing that's important?
4) If you've identified some needs but the look pretty surfacial (e.g., anger --> I need to sock the person in the eye), look deeper - what does socking them in the eye do for you? What are you wishing to express? What is it about doing this that makes it feel right? The answers are likely your TRUE needs.
Once you've gotten a glimmer of your needs, check them against the physical aspect of your feelings. Does it fit? Is there a small "a-ha!" that goes with these identified needs? Is there a change or move in the physical feel?
You can keep going - bouncing between identifying a need and the physical feel that comes with it, going into ever broader and deeper details.
Look at the finished product. NOW, how do you feel? What action steps feel fitting to go with these identified needs, that they might translate into your daily life?
Have fun trying to identify your own needs =)