Needs don't make you needy
How good are you at admitting you have needs? Better yet, how good at you at asking for your needs to be met?
Thought so. I used to be terrible at it too. In fact, I used to think of myself as the girl who needed nothing. That’s right, I decided I was need-less. Which, in my mind, made me drama-free and super easy to be around. When asked if I wanted a glass of water my response was often, "Oh, no thanks," even if I was parched. When my girlfriends wanted to have "girl-talk" I decline with, "No really, it’s fine. I’m good."
I held that "I’ve got it handled" girl up on a pedestal. I thought she was awesome and the less needs she had the closer to a superhero I would become. They’d call me NO-NEEDS GIRL and I’d have a cape and everything. The more I accomplished without needing help the stronger and more courageous I’d seem and everyone would know I had my sh*t together.
That entire superhero storyline I created for myself was a fallacy, a wall I erected to hide behind and protect myself.
Turns out, we all have needs. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. And yet sometimes we’ve been denying our needs for so long that when we even consider what we might need or like we draw a blank. I see this over and over again with my clients. After years of ignoring their needs at home, at work, in love, or creatively they begin to fill their needs with food and body-bashing. Food becomes the obsession, whether it’s overeating or undereating, because it’s the safest need to have and the easiest one to control.
Having a need makes you human. And dare I say, authentic. No one connects with need-less people. You may compete with them, be jealous of them, compare yourselves to them but you never connect with them because connection is based on shared need. So, if you don’t let yourself have needs, you are blocking yourself from the authentic connection I know you want.
Breaking out of the NO-NEEDS superhero paradigm is tough. We use it as our badge of honor and to remove it is to feel a bit naked. Truth be told, everyone in your life already knows you have needs and they are just waiting for you to come to the human experience party.
Here are helpful questions I use with my clients to get the "needs" juices going after years of denial and drought.
If you could need anything, what would it be? Perhaps compassion, flowers, a trip to the museum to see the Impressionist exhibit, someone to hold you and say, "it’s going to be OK," a new dress, permission to slow down? A need can be anything. The trick is to not judge what comes up.
Are there any needs you’ve been secretly starving for? These are the ones that when they come up you think, "Oh no, I could never ask for that." These are the ones that make you feel a touch guilty for even having them. Your needs are unique to you and not anything to experience guilt over. Take a deep breath and own them.
What is your fear around admitting your needs? Fear can be anything. Fear of being seen, judged, rejected, shunned. All fears are legitimate and taking stock of them is key to seeing your attachment to your no-needs status. The trick from here is to begin to soften around your fears and know that, most likely, they are founded in old storylines and not the present.
In thinking about your biggest need, what are three possible ways to get that need met? Ooohhhh, this is the good stuff. This is when you take action and voice your needs first to yourself and then to whoever might be able to help you with them. Big move, crazy brave and exactly what needs to happen.
When we let ourselves need and then have the courage to express those needs, the pressure is taken off our food and our bodies. We make space in our hearts for the many layers of us and begin to feeds our needs at the root rather than attempting to numb them with a can of Coke, coconut water, kale or a hearty dose of "I can’t believe you ate that again?" talk.
I’d love to hear, what is your biggest need? How have you been denying it and what is one way you are now going to voice it?
Biggest love and together let’s retire our no-needs capes together.