In the last issue we began navigating into the territory of our own personal wants. Discovering our personal wants after we release the societal conditioning that tries to tell us what we want. I find that often times, when people are used to, or conditioned to accepting what the world expects them to do based on societal norms (ie; get a house, settle down, save for the future, put your needs last) those sorts of things. There can be an interesting resistance in people.
Now societal norms in this context can really be a variety of things, it depends on your relative sphere of cultural, societal, communal, and familial influences. So for some their cultural norm is an arranged marriage, and for others their cultural norm is a marriage of love. For some a societal norm is that a male bodied person is not to wear dress like things, and for others a societal norm for a male bodied person to wear something that could be considered a skirt. An example of a communal norm could be that in my local community we prefer to hug based on one side rather than the other, in other communities it can be that handshakes are preferred greetings. Lastly familial norms can be much more variable, to families that only eat dinners at tables to other families that never think of such a thing.
So, our conditioned norms can be quite variable, which makes navigating them quite interesting. It means that others opinion of what is normal needs to be understood in the context of where that person is coming from, based on their norms. Confused yet? It sounds complicated, but it actually isn’t. In hypnotherapy we have a saying, it’s not so much about what happened; it’s about what belief you picked up from what happened. In this context, it’s not so much about what the “norm” being discussed is, it’s about our response to it and what we choose to do about it.
This is where talking about our wants and needs comes in. Which on the cultural, societal, communal, and familial can have some varying degrees of meaning attached to it. Generally, on most levels, we’re conditioned to put the bulk of our needs last. Pleasing others, or finding ways to fulfill our needs in covert ways. Also, we can be conditioned to expect others to fulfill our needs and take responsibility for them, getting mad or frustrated when others don’t follow through on fulfilling them. Needs is a broad term. Let’s take a look at what sort of things can be in the realm of needs.
There are Spiritual needs; such as feeling like we have purpose or meaning in our lives.
Emotional needs; being able to share and express our emotions and have them received.
Mental needs; being able to take time to process and learn new information.
Physical needs; food, water, shelter.
So as you can tell, those are a lot of different things,and this is by no means the whole list, there are needs beyond those, Communal, Expressive, Self Actualization….. And often time we’re pretty conditioned to not even look at some of the levels of needs. Besides the fact that often times when we as for our needs, (usually emotional or mental) to be fulfilled we are accused of being self-ish.
So I wonder, when I was talking about tuning into our wants and needs in the last article, how did that make you feel? Did you feel entitled? Self-ish? Yearning? Ashamed?
More often than not, my clients have felt guilty, ashamed, or not worthy of having their needs met. This is free of gender. I’d had folks from all over the binary express fears of voicing their emotions or needs and have fears about what would happen when they do get expressed.
I want to share something with you.
You needs tell others how to love you.
There I said it.
When your needs are not expressed and you get mad/sad/ashamed/blame yourself that they’re not getting fulfilled, you may not feel like you’re loved/important/valuable/wanted.
So. Expressing my needs, not only helps me to feel wanted/important/valued/loved…. It actually helps other people to know how to love me so that I feel loved?
Hold the phone, how does that make any sense. My needs mean other people don’t get to have what they want or need. If I’m voicing my needs, then others are not getting their needs met….
Isn’t that how it works?
How about nope.
Guess what. There’s no amount of self suffering you can put yourself through that is going to directly improve the lives of those around you.
What I mean by that is, everyone’s needs have equal value. And by putting your needs last, it’s not making the conversation more balanced. It’s tipping that scales in the other person’s power, and that only breeds frustration and resentment. Also, it may even make the other person feel awkward to share their needs. How often have you felt you were the only person asking for things (hugs, a phone call, going for a walk) and when the other person never voiced their wants or needs, it caused you to feel like you were needy, so you stopped asking….. Yeah.. That’s not a good time, for anyone.
I’d like to introduce an idea that got welcomed into my world a little while ago. Self-full.
It seems like an odd term, but hang on, I’ll explain. It comes from NVC (Non-Violent Communication) I know I know, it sounds like some touchy feely stuff, but it’s actually about being able to communicate our needs and understand where others are coming from, without getting judgments and shame all mixed up in it.
Oooohh. That sounds refreshing….
Self-full.. Here’s the breakdown…
Selfish: I only value my own needs
Selfless: I only value others’ needs
Self-full: I value my own needs and others’ needs equally
(If you have the time and want to learn more about needs and healthy expression and investigation, I highly recommend this : Source : This has seriously been restructuring my world)
So, how many times have you been flip flopping between feeling selfish and selfless? It’s amazingly common. We want to help others and meet their needs, yet, if we don’t get to express ours we end up burnt out and feeling used, so back to selfish we go. Self-full, finally a middle ground.
Take some time, check your needs and wants, and how you’re expressing them, if you even are… What levels are you comfortable expressing them to others? Emotional? Spiritual? Just because it’s how you’ve been doing things in the past does not dictate how you’ll do them in the future. You can communicate your needs and balance others into account as well. Having troubles, need someone to help you sort though this adventure with you? I’m here I would love to be a part of that process. For a small dose of exploration try the Personal growth package want to go all out? Try the Personal Overhaul Package. Take a look on the “What to expect page” of my website and scroll down to the packages for a further description of what these packages entail.
Thank you for reading and being a part of this journey with me.