You need to have needs!

Humans always have needs. If you think you don’t have needs, you may not be in touch with identifying them, but they are still there. Imagine your met needs as rocket boosters that propel you forward in your life. Now imagine your unmet needs as little computer programs that are running the background, drawing power and slowing down your rocket-booster speed. Managing day to day with unmet needs can be a real challenge.

Having needs in a relationship is a good thing. It doesn’t automatically make you “needy.” It actually means that you’re tuned in to your emotions and your body. Each of our human needs builds upon other needs.

In order to get our needs met in a relationship,
the first step is to identify them.

Having needs allows us to receive support from and intimacy with others. Some people struggle to have needs in their relationships because they’re not in touch with identifying and valuing their personal needs and needs in relationships. Although this disconnect can develop for a wide variety of reasons, the good news is that, with practice, you can get good at identifying and meeting your personal needs and relationship needs in healthy ways.

The dance between Asking and Expecting

You have probably already noticed that just because you expect or wish something will happen doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Asking is a proactive way to affect an outcome. A department store is one of the only places someone might walk up to you and ask, “How can I help you?” In almost all other areas of life, if you wait for someone else to offer to help without your asking, you might be waiting a very long time before your need for help is met.

It is important to let your needs be known, particularly in relationships. The practice of asking for something you need helps you to identify and take responsibility for your own needs. No matter how amazing your partner is, they’re probably not able to read your mind 100% of the time. And who’s got the time to wait around for someone to guess what’s on our minds?

Life is short! Let’s start practicing the Ask.

Navigating Needs in Relationships quote photo

In order to get our needs met in a relationship, the first step is to identify them.

What do I actually need?

You may be surprised that, when you dig into your actual needs, they may be quite different than what you thought you needed. A very independent person might discover that, in addition to needing plenty of freedom, they also have a deep desire for emotional connection and spending time together. It is important to have ways to share your needs that you can feel good about.

What about my partner’s needs?

In addition to identifying your personal needs, it’s important to learn how to hear and hold space for your partner’s needs. This includes learning how to engage with their needs in a healthy way that feels good to you and feels supportive for them. Learning how to talk about each other’s needs in loving ways can deepen intimacy between you and your partners. The practice of hearing and honoring each other’s needs and working to meet them in a relationship builds trust.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Can you rattle off a quick list of your top-ten relationship needs?
  • Were you taught how to have needs in a way that honors you AND other people?
  • Do you worry about being too “needy” in relationships?

Suggested Practice

The following practice is drawn from Deepak Chopra’s article, How to Identify and Express Your Needs in Relationships:

The key principle of conscious communication is making it as easy as possible for the other person to meet your need by asking for the specific behavior that will fulfill it. Chopra encourages us to master it by practicing the following simple method. Here are the four steps:

  1. Whenever you feel upset, realize that it is because you have an unmet need.
  2. Identify what happened that was different from what you expected.
  3. Identify what you need that you did not get.
  4. Ask for the behavior, being as specific as possible.

Recommended Resources

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