How to have needs without being needy.

In Blog by Celine Redfield2 Comments

Need-want-desire“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.”
~Mick Jagger

Have you ever caught yourself stating that a person is too “needy” or someone is acting to “needy”? What exactly does it mean to be too needy? Urban defines being needy as: “Requiring attention beyond what is normative. Getting anxious when someone does not answer them with in a short amount of time.”

In the individualistic society that we live in, we tend to think that asking for help or having needs from others makes us weak or too much. This is not true. We are wired as human beings to relate, need and depend on others just like other animals do. We are the only animals that have a need to attach to our primary caregivers and then continue this pattern into adulthood with our primary partners. In our lives we all have basic needs that have to be filled on a daily basis: food, water, shelter, security, sex, breathing, excretion. But what how do you express your needs and requests to others? Here are 5 ways to learn how to state and express needs in a healthy way:

1)When your freaking out and feeling needy, learn to self- soothe.

Most of the time when we are having our most needy moments it is because we have become triggered by something and our inner child does not feel safe. At this juncture all humans, look to soothe themselves. This could be with another person, food, sex or checking out through external stimulation (like TV or video games). Currently most people have difficulty with self soothing  because they have developed a pattern of avoidance or hooking into uncomfortable feelings. The problem with this leads to a dependency on external soothing and it can lead to dependance and addiction to these external stimuli.

Learning to sit with your feelings of discomfort and the practice of a self compassion can help. Try treating your self like you would a friend that was having a difficult time. Try telling yourself that you are okay and listening to the part of you that needs love and attention. Take the time to breathe and lean into the feeling. Learning Kristen Neff’s Self compassion break is an invaluable tool to use, you can view the instructions here.

2) Take time to learn what your needs are and what is important to you.

Sometimes when we are having a hard time and we have an expectation that someone outside of us can fix the problem. We think that others can provide better then we can for ourselves. But this is not true the only person that can actually fulfill your needs is you. But how are you supposed to fulfill your needs if you are not sure what they are? It is important for every person to understand their needs and to know what they are so that they can communicate them. Here is a list of needs from the center for non-violent communication. Take a look at it, and star the one’s that are most important to you.

3) When you ask for what you need  make it a request instead of a demand.

Much of the time when we want our needs to be met we have expectations and make demands. This is not a healthy way to get our needs met. This tends to make people feel suffocated, guilty and manipulated. Making requests is a much more respectful to ask for what you need.

In order to fulfill our needs we must be clear and use measurable requests when we communicate. It is important that we begin by connecting with other person before we try to jump to solutions. An example of a connection request might be: “Would you tell me how you feel about this?” An example of a solution request might be “Would you be willing to take your shoes off when you come in the house?”

Remember it is important to realize that requests will not always get the answer you want. When you make a request you must have the willingness that you may hear a “no”. By acknowledging their denial of your request it allows you respect the needs of the other person and see where their boundaries are. This is how we build healthy and respectful relationships.

4)See the treasure that you are and learn to love yourself

Each and every one of us is special, we are the miracle of life.  Sometimes when we do no see our value and worth we can become needy hoping for others to fill up our empty bucket. This is where being kind to yourself, repeating affirmations and kind phrases can help you to learn to love yourself. Today instead of being hard on yourself, try noticing all that you do well. Try this affirmation on for size: I am worthy of love, I am loved, I am loving. See how the practice of this makes you feel. Do not judge the outcome, just take notice of your response.

5)When feeling to over extended practice self-care and set boundaries

Usually when people feel like someone is being too needy it is because they are having difficulty setting boundaries with these people. People can make requests and we can decide to fulfill them or not. When we over extend ourselves and start doing things out of obligation is when we get into trouble. Before agreeing to anything try to take 3 -5 deep breaths and ask yourself: Is this in for my highest good? Is this something that I want truly to do? If the answers is no or you are unclear, it might be time to take time for yourself to reconnect with self so that you can be available for others. When we are tapped out and have no more to give, this is when we have to learn self care by saying no so that we can recharge our batteries.

Try practicing these tools for the next week. Do you want to share about your experience of being needy? Feel free to comment below or contact me: Have a blessed week.






Image: Bruce Nauman: Human/Need/Desire  Photo By Ed Schipul 


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