There's Nothing Wrong with Needing
Updated: Oct 25, 2022
As humans, we have needs that must be met, and plenty of people to help us meet them (including ourselves).
When our needs are unmet, this can lead to dissatisfaction in life. And, depending on the need that isn’t met, mental health challenges may appear that stay with us until we find a way to satisfy that need.
A “need” is something necessary to you and your well-being. At the core of this are those things everyone requires physiologically ( i.e., food, water, clothing, shelter, and sleep).
Looking at Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can serve as a loose guide to identify what might be going unmet in your life.
Identifying your individual needs can be confusing, as they aren’t the same for everyone. Just consider all your unique preferences, experiences, and feelings you have.
It takes dedicated self-reflection to know your needs, and to figure out how to meet them.
Once we do, we’ll often unlock the ability to feel safe, healthy, happy, and able to connect with others.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help discover what your specific needs might be:
What areas in my life am I satisfied with?
Where in my life do I feel like something is not right- is there any dissatisfaction or emptiness?
What would make me feel more satisfied?
What are some things I can do for myself to make this better?
What are some things that others can do to help me?
Now it’s time for a plan of action! For needs that you can meet by yourself, creating an action plan with specific steps can be very useful.
For those needs that you may rely on others, it can be a bit more complicated.. And that’s understandably scary.
The best way of going about getting your needs met by others, is to be direct and honest, expressing your needs with clear communication.
The benefit of being direct while asking for help is that we can avoid falling into manipulative behaviors which can impact your relationships with others in a negative way.
The distinction between a need and a want can be blurry at times, but, ultimately, our needs extend beyond the essentials to stay alive.
There is so much more to living than simply breathing, and when we think about the type of life we want to lead, we see that our needs are actually quite vast.
Spend time exploring this. A big part of addressing your needs is accepting that it’s okay to need.
Often, unmet needs are the result of having been invalidated in the past. Maybe it’s because someone has told you explicitly that your needs don’t matter, that they aren’t actual needs, or behaved in more subtle ways to communicate this same point.
We might then get angry with ourselves when those needs and urges show up in the future, despite how truly valid they are.
Erik Pevernagie says ““Let us listen to the needs of our inner child that is being tamed and imprisoned by the rules of a grown-up world.”
What wonderful advice that is. When we listen to ourselves and honor our needs, we are allowing something life-changing to happen- we are giving ourselves permission to be our authentic self, to be human, to get out of the unrealistic trappings of expectation.
We simply get to be.