Needs: A Burgeoning Awareness
Most of us would not say that we are particularly skilled at identifying our needs; even fewer would feel comfortable asking for their needs to be met, I’m certainly no exception.
I once found myself living a life where I pretended that my needs no longer existed because they were not being met. As if they would just evaporate if no one was willing to meet them (i.e. I was unwilling to ask for them to be met by the people who could/were willing to meet them).
I also believed that we are the most equipped to meet our own needs, which I still wholeheartedly believe and also realize that in the meantime, between now and when I figure out how to meet all of my own needs, I still have needs and they are still very much alive in me.
So when I read the book Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg (see the book at Powells.com), I was confused (and relieved) to acknowledge how I had been angry, bitter, and resentful of my unmet needs. I felt hopeless and desperate to feel whole yet most of the time, I wasn’t even clear on what I needed or how to ask for it.
When I would make a request, it would come out as a demand.
If we don’t eat we don’t stop needing food, and when we have a need to feel valued, it doesn’t just go away either.
We get hangry for our needs just as we get hungry for food.
The Opportunities that Await.
Once we become aware of our needs, then we can
- Try to find a way to meet the need in ourselves.
- Ask someone else to meet the need for us.
- Realize we have not learned how to meet our need, that there is no one able/willing to meet our need, and then accept the situation with kindness and compassion.
One common need that many are missing is present and nurturing parents. If we were born without or have lost one (or both) of our caregivers, we might experience a deep sense of sadness in their absence. We still feel the need to have safe and reliable support and love.
If we deny our need for safety and security, we deny ourselves the opportunity to treat ourselves with loving kindness and compassion.
If you identified with the example from above, then I would highly recommend checking out the book Nonviolent Communication and the rest of this blog series (coming soon!). Or If you would like more personalized support, I would be honored to help you get in touch with your needs and learn how to ask for them. Get in touch.