Primary Hungers


What are you TRULY hungry for?

No, really. I know I ask this question of you a lot.

But please pause. breathe. ask it again. What is it you are TRULY hungry for?

Emphasis on the TRULY.

Here are a few things I hear from women: “weightloss.” “1,000 more readers for my blog.” “date night with my husband.”

There’s nothing wrong with these desires, but they aren’t what I call true hungers. These are secondary hungers. True hungers are primal and can be fed in many ways, not just through the single door of the secondary hunger we may have identified. In fact, this is why so many women are hungry. They go to feed the secondary hunger without addressing the core primary hunger and are often left unsatisfied because the secondary hunger isn’t what they want after all.

For example. If a woman desires for weightloss, her primary hunger may be to feel good in her body, or to feel vital, or for companionship (if she believes weightloss is a prerequisite). The primary hunger below a desire for weightloss can be a multitude of things. And, importantly, she can feed the primary hunger without, in this example, ever losing weight. Yes, you read that right. We can feel great in our bodies, feel vital, and have companionship without losing a pound.

If a woman desires 1,000 more readers for her blog, the primary hunger might be for recognition, or it might be to feel a part of a community, or it might be for approval. All of which can be fed without hitting a thousand. If a woman desires a date night with her husband, perhaps the primary hunger is connection, or physical touch, or intimacy, or play, or communion and so forth. It’s not to say she can’t lose weight, get 1,000+ readers, and have endless dates with her man, it’s to say she doesn’t need these things to satisfy the primary hungers and that’s what counts.

This practice of digging deeper is essential to being well-fed. We must look under the covers, peel back the layers, and expose what wants to be fed. Geneen Roth beautifully says, “Love is love and food is food” because love is often the primary hunger that people attempt to satisfy with food, a secondary and mismatched desire. I started this informal, certainly-not-complete, list of primary hungers to help get you thinking. These are all possible answers to the magic question “What are you TRULY hungry for?”

Abundance, Adventure, Affection, Beauty, Belonging, Carbohydrates, Change, Clarity, Cleanliness, Collaboration, Comfort, Connection to community, Connection to family, Connection to nature, Connection to one’s body, Connection to one’s Self, Connection to others, Connection to The Divine/god, Cooling, Crafting, Creativity, Dancing, Energy, To know one’s enoughness, Fat, Food, Friendship, Gathering, Intimacy, Joy, Laughter, Learning/Comprehension, Love, Meaning, Movement, Music, Nature, Permission, Play, Protein, Purpose, Quiet, Recognition/Being seen, Restoration, Ritual, Salt, Satiation, Security/Safety, Sex, Singing, Spaciousness, Speaking/Communicating, Stillness, Stimulation, Structure, To adorn, To feel good, To just be, To let go, Touch, Tradition, Truth, Vitality, Warmth, Water, White space.

Once you've narrowed in on a primary hunger (and it certainly doesn't have to come from this list), be with it.

Ask yourself - What does this hunger feel like? What images come to mind when I think of feeding this? How many different ways can I imagine there are to feed this hunger?

Just for today, consider feeding the hunger below the hunger.