Everyone has needs. If you're alive and a human, you have needs. We all know of the basic needs for shelter, food, water, clothing and sleep but what about interpersonal needs? Needs like safety, affection, connection, play and understanding. In order for us to know what we need, we must know what we're feeling. Feelings indicate whether or not a need is getting met. If I'm scared, I need safety. If I'm joyous, my need for connection is satisfied.
The person who says they don't have needs may fear rejection. Totally understandable. But what if it wasn't the need that was being rejected, rather, the strategy used to get that need met? I have a friend who was aloof for most of his life but desperately needed connection. The strategy of being aloof wasn't working to fill his unmet need but he was fearful of intimacy and acting aloof kept him emotionally safe. It wasn't until he learned to set boundaries that he felt safe enough to connect. Changing his strategy from being aloof to assertive allowed him to connect with those around him and get his need met.
Substance abuse is another great strategy example. Maybe a person drinks because they feel anxious and need peace, but the strategy of drinking has disastrous long-term effects. There are a number of different strategies to getting peace, like, meditation, exercising or walking. With practice you can change the strategy. It's not easy, but it's possible.
The tricky thing about a strategy is the more you do it, the deeper the groove in your brain. And our brains take about 20% of our total energy so it's going to be in default mode most of the time. This default mode is what keeps us stuck in old strategies. Intentionally participating in a different strategy takes more effort. So if you're working on changing your strategies to get your needs met in a different way, give yourself the same kindness you'd bestow upon a friend.
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