How Full is Your Tank?
When I am asked to speak with couples, parents, educators, health providers, and business leaders, one of the concepts that I repeatedly find myself teaching is the principle of the two tanks. The video above discusses the first of the two tanks - the Love and Belonging Tank. Often times, when parents are struggling with their children's acting out behaviors - the first thing that I review with the parents is just how full their child's love and belonging tank is. If it is empty, it is likely that the acting out behavior is the child's effort to cope with the feelings of pain associated with the attachment wounds of loss, rejection, abandonment, neglect, or the other wounds that I lay out in my book, Finding Peace.
Adults do the same thing. When our love and belonging tank starts to drain, we will engage in behaviors in an effort to cope. We may pull away and isolate. We may become angry and demonstrative. We may engage in numbing behaviors hoping that we won't have to feel the pain of an empty tank. The problem is that none of those behaviors really end up getting our tank filled in an effective manner. Often times, these behaviors leave us more drained, more isolated, and in more pain.
In order to get the tank filled, we are going to need connection - connection with our loved ones, friends, co-workers, our Higher Power - someone with whom we can love and be loved, care about and by whom we can be care for. It requires us to be vulnerable. We may even have to ask for help in getting our tank full. That is a daunting thing to ask, at times, because it makes us vulnerable. We maybe be afraid that in the asking, our tank will drain further rather than be filled. But without vulnerability, there is no possibility that our tank will be filled at all.
If we want to be at our highest and most optimal level of performance, this tank has to be full. It is essential to our level of happiness, peace, and in our ability to show love to others. If our tank is empty, we will have a difficult, if not impossible, time of filling anyone else's tank with love and acceptance.
It becomes a mutual effort to help fill each other's tanks. It can be one of the most fulfilling experiences to have our love tank filled by another person and then to be able to fill theirs.
What are some ways you get your love and belonging tank filled? What are some ways that you show others that they are also worthy of love and belonging?