How to Get Your Needs Met
Did you know that most people NEVER get their needs met and the reason is going to SHOCK you!
It’s not because other people don’t want to meet their needs. Their inability to get their needs met is, in large part, because they don’t know what they need. And even if they do kind of know what they need, they’re embarrassed to admit they have them and so they don’t ask for help. Neediness is not pretty.
So if you’re embarrassed to have needs, then you’re often too afraid to ask for them to be met by anyone, even people who are willing to meet you where you ache.
But the funny thing about needs is that they WILL find a way to be met even if we try to hide them or suppress them…usually in unhealthy ways – through manipulation, acting out, fighting, drama, blaming, self-punishment, addictions, exhibitionism, self-sabotage, etc.
As long as we suppress our needs, or pretend we don’t have any, we tend to expect others to instinctively know what our needs are. And when they don’t, we get angry or resent them for not being mind readers. At the same time, the more we deny our needs, the stronger they become and the worse we feel about who we are and what we deserve in life.
Beyond food, water, and shelter, etc., we all have physical, psychological and personal growth needs that when met, make us happy healthy individuals. You may remember from your basic high school psychology class, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. His theory suggests that we begin at the base to have our most basic needs met before we can feel motivated to meet higher-level needs.
Therefore, most of us agree that food, water, and shelter are definitely needs, but then we often treat the rest of Maslow’s pyramid as “wants.” In other words, even when our physiological needs are met, we struggle to meet our psychological needs.
But, it’s not Maslow’s “it would be nice to have” theory. He says all of these needs are essential for a fulfilled human existence. However, in our culture, it’s common to act as if having some of these needs is a sign of weakness or neediness, or that only the fortunate get to experience them.
Depending on our upbringing we may even believe that for some reason, we don’t deserve safety, intimacy, love and belonging, respect and self-esteem, empowerment and self-actualization. However, I’ve discovered that the feelings we experience when we can’t get our needs met, or worse believe that we don’t deserve to have our needs met, can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety in our lives. It can leave us feeling unworthy, unwanted, and undervalued, in essence, not good enough.
As a result, when we fail at getting our needs met we have a tendency to downgrade them into wants as if they are optional as if it would be nice to have them, but…
Maslow asserts that our needs motivate our actions and that the longer a need goes unmet, the stronger it becomes. As a society, we have to ask why so many of us feel unsafe, unsupported, left out, and alone?
Honor Your Needs
We can only get our needs met in healthy ways when we’re clear about what they are (all of them) and learn to express them to the people close to us. That doesn’t mean that the people we ask to meet our needs will always be able to, but the better we are at understanding our needs and expressing them, the more likely it is we’ll find the right people and situations that can meet them. Not only do we, YES, deserve them, but it’s also our responsibility to do all we can to get our needs met in healthy sustainable ways.
It’s up to us to sit down with pen and paper, go over the pyramid and be brutally honest with ourselves about where our needs are not being met. If you find yourself saying, I don’t know what my needs are, start with the pyramid, assuming all of them. Every need in this pyramid is hard-wired within every human. You can’t downgrade or deny your needs. You can’t arbitrarily turn them into wants, things that would be nice but aren’t essential. That’s basically one way of pretending they don’t exist. Figure out where on the path to self-actualization you’re longing to be met halfway and then consider who you can enlist to help you.
Believe me, I know it hurts to admit that you have unmet needs. It makes us feel like something’s wrong with us. It’s such a vulnerable place to inhabit, the realization that you have needs and can’t figure out how to get them met. We’ve been taught that it’s not attractive to seem so needy, that we should be able to figure it out on our own.
And that’s a bunch of B.S.
We weren’t put on this Earth together so we could live in isolation trying to meet all of our own needs. We have to find ways to reach out across the human divide for others who are also in need. I want you to know that there are millions in your shoes. There are so many people in this world who were shunned and ignored as children, told to pipe down, be quiet, sit still, behave, stay in line, and what makes you think you deserve that? As children, with no essential personal power, we may turn to negative ways to get our needs met and if that fails, we stuff them inside, leaving them there in our inner recesses to rot and ferment, men and women alike. Long-held unmet needs are like a ticking time bomb waiting to erupt.
Acknowledging and expressing your needs is the first step into self-love. And I acknowledge it’s a damn vulnerable space, but if you want better relationships with yourself and other people, you have to go there. Because if you don’t know what you need, you can’t even ask for it intelligently. You can’t take care of yourself well. You can’t set healthy guidelines with others for how to treat you and you’ll never feel safe enough to flourish and grow into your best self.
Beyond knowing your needs is the next step of learning to bravely state them out loud. This part takes practice, courage, and sometimes requires one-on-one coaching or a close friend to keep you accountable and give you encouragement. Getting your needs met appropriately is your whole LIFE. Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to come along and take care of this for you. No one is a
mind need reader. Only YOU can make it happen.
If you want to get clear on your needs and practice getting them met, check out my Kickstarter Coaching Package. I can help you!