What Are You Hungry For?

Yesterday I looked through the pictures of our last year trip to Hong Kong. Among other things to get your attention, there was the food, of course.

Exotic, colourful, screaming at you from every corner, on almost every street. There were no tags and the sellers didn’t speak English either, so if you wanted to try the food, you were really taking a (wild) jump into the unknown.


And this got me thinking about the various things that are feeding us. Because when it comes to our more subtle levels, food is not the only thing that we’re hungry for.


We can be hungry for images and colours – that’s why we spend so much time watching photographs, visiting art galleries or merely colouring themed patterns.


We can be hungry for music, especially if we are sensitive to sounds, we can detect something’s wrong just by hearing the slightest variation in tone or pitch.


We can crave touching, especially if we’ve spent too much time alone, with no close relationships. That’s one more reason we get pets – to have somebody to hug and snuggle with.


But this isn’t news, because for hundreds of years people enjoyed the pleasure of senses.


There are other things we can be hungry for, even though they might not be so obvious.


Like change. I remember a time in my life when things were so monotonous, so predictable and my schedule was so restrictive, I was re-arranging the furniture or decorations every month just to feel something was different in my life.


… Or excitement. We need adventure in our lives, even if the degree varies from person to person (-for some, it can take the form of skydiving, whereas for others playing video games will do).


We can be hungry for information. If you are an avid reader, if you like to learn new things, a period when you don’t have time to get lost in a book can feel like quite a punishment.


And last but not least, we are hungry for feelings. Somebody told me last month that her social life was so bland and uneventful with her friends away with work or on holidays, that she chose to binge watch TV series every day. She said it gave her a feeling of being alive, which her real life failed to do.


Like many of our needs, hunger can go unnoticed, ignored, or repressed.


We tend to notice the hunger for food more than the others because it has noticeable results that are easy to trace back to their root cause.


But when it comes to the other types of hunger, quite often we do not recognise the thing that we really need or tend to substitute it with something else.


The most common example that comes to mind is what we often see in the movies when women stuff themselves with vast amounts of ice cream when they have sentimental problems. (Others prefer chocolate or drinking or work – what’s your drug of choice? )


The complex creatures that we are find joy, nourishment and satisfaction in various things, at different times.


Just keep in mind two things, though.


–  First, it’s important to become aware of what is it that you actually need – because then you can go get it, if not precisely in the form that you’d like, at least in something close to it, that really fulfils your need.


–  Second, just as you are selective about what you’re eating, you need to be selective about the quality of images, music, emotions, etc. that you’re consuming. Because at the end of the day, rotten food will make you feel bad, whether it’s your body or your mental and emotional well being.



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