Re-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2013/03/11/knowing-my-needs/
Being out of touch with one’s needs creates challenging dynamics to any relationship. But to fully understand this we need to ask why it is that we get disconnected from our needs. There is always some lost resource.
There are several resources, building blocks for complicated skills, which are necessary for the skill of being grounded in your own needs. For a start, there’s sensing one’s authentic need, frustration tolerance, impulse control, self-confidence, and sensing when a need is met. If we have underdeveloped any of these basic resources then it will be much more difficult for us to be grounded in our needs.
In addition to us not knowing our own needs, we can sometimes also develop attachment to the needs of others. That is we become highly anxious about ensuring everyone else’s needs are met, even at the expense of our own. Ultimately though not knowing my own needs will not only increase my own suffering, but will also create suffering in the lives of those around us. When we’re unable to know our needs then we can’t directly express them. And if we can’t directly express our needs then the others in the dialogue cannot be totally sure of what our needs are; and thus, confident that our own needs are being validated.
And just because we can’t know what our needs are doesn’t mean the needs don’t exist. They still exist, and they are still being unmet. Thus, we experience states of extreme emotion with little or no stimulus. And this lack of emotional stability can also trigger distress and confusion in our partners.
To get grounded in our needs begin with this simple exercise: imagine something in your hand that you need (like food) which you need. Sense how it feels to notice your need. And then imagine something in your life you don’t need. Notice how the sensations in your feelings and body when thinking of this.
Luckily we can also relearn these basic resources. And with developing these resources we can have relationships that are more liberated from obligation and games of “guess what I’m needing?” The surest way of meeting our own relational needs is by making direct, specific, and doable requests.
KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.