If you ask someone what their emotional needs are, you’ll probably be met with a confused look.
People prefer not to acknowledge that they have needs, fearing to be seen as vulnerable and weak.
However, if you don’t recognise and meet your needs, they will manipulate you from the sidelines. It’s your unmet needs that cause you to overreact or suffer in silence, sabotaging you professionally and personally. Apart from undermining you, unmet needs are just loose ends that will drain your energy.
If you recognise your natural needs, understand them and embrace actions to get them met, you transform their destructive power into neutral parts of your personality that simply need to be taken care of.
Take a sheet of paper and a pen, and start by writing down all the words that occur to you as possible needs. Try to do it without thinking too much and find as many words as possible.
- To lead
- To excel
- To achieve
- To be loved
- To learn
- To have fun
- To be connected
Once you’ve made a list of 30-50 words, choose the ten that most resonate to you. Once you’ve done this, consider them more deeply and narrow them to the five needs that feel absolutely fundamental to you. You may now reflect on how and why they are important to you, how you feel when they are met and what happens when they’re not. Don’t try to be perfect, there is no science in this process. Next, ask yourself these questions:
- What small, measurable changes can I make to get each need met in the next two months?
- What are the other people doing that is currently stopping me from getting a need met?
- What am I doing that is compromising my need?
- What can I ask other people to do for me to help me get my need met?
- What can I do myself to meet each of my needs?
When people start taking steps to get their needs met they quickly feel happier, more positive and much more energised.
Adapted from Who do you want to be? How to Embrace change and Live Your Dream, Nicola Bunting, Piatkus.