Needs are Important…Really Important

by Jo-Ann Downey

in Relationship Communication Skills

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We all have needs.  Are you afraid to express your needs because not expressing them holds a hope inside of you that there is always a chance that you will get what you want? Are you afraid to express your needs because they may not manifest?  Do you support or assist others in fulfilling their needs? Wouldn’t it be great to support someone’s needs and put a smile on their face?

Wants, Needs, and Requirements

As shared in “Not All Upsets are Created Equal”, wants are wishes or nice-to-haves.  A need is something that is truly important to you, your well-being, and your peace of mind.  In personal and professional relationships needs are often negotiable, although we are not always conscious of this opportunity.  Requirements are deal breakers and they are not negotiable.

It can be easier to identify and fulfill requirements versus needs because needs have a negotiation factor, it’s easy to minimize your needs (and hence yourself), and there is often a human tendency to put the needs of others first.  Oh…and there is the “I don’t want to appear needy” factor as well.

Needs versus Requirements

Try to think of needs as flexible requirements.  Honor and respect your needs, and the needs of others, as if they are as important as your deal-breaking requirements.  Remember, if your needs are not met, your peace of mind is at risk.  When your peace of mind is at risk, your relationships (with yourself and others) are at risk.

Needs are important…really important.

Ways to Identify & Express your Needs

You can spot an unmet need because it often has an emotional component such as fear, anxiety or upset.  The first thing is to remember is that you have choices and that needs are worthy of being expressed, supported, and fulfilled.  You can fulfill some needs yourself.  If others are involved, you can open up a conscious dialogue and discuss possible creative solutions.  Naturally, this is best done when everyone involved is calm and centered.

Here are some conversation starters for your consideration:

∞ “Would you be willing to have a conversation about creating a deeper/better/more productive/more  harmonious relationship?”

∞ “Would you consider having a conversation with me about my heart’s desire?”

∞ “I would like to understand your needs.”

∞ “I would greatly appreciate it if we could take the time to share our needs with each other.”

It is a great practice to start conversations, especially of this nature, by stating your intention.  For example, “My intention is to gracefully express myself to you in a way that has a positive impact on our relationship.”  For more information on intentions, see “When your Relationships are Good, your Life is Good.”

What are your personal and professional needs?  Do you ask others what their needs are?  How do you support your needs and the needs of people you care about?

Very Smart Girls know, and maturely express, their needs and requirements.

photo credit: albert law

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