How many times have you thrown up your hands in utter frustration and thought,
“I don’t get it! I have everything I want… WHY am I still so unhappy?”
Or maybe you’ve told yourself that if only you had this, that, or the other, THEN you’d be happy, fulfilled, satisfied, so on and so forth. Only to discover that once you have it, you’re not.
Turns out, most people can give you a laundry list of all the things they want, but are generally clueless when it comes to knowing what they need.
Needs are part of the human condition, we all have them. And I’m not talking about those things that we need in order to sustain life, like food, water, and shelter. I’m talking about those things that we require in order to feel good about ourselves and lead fulfilling lives. Often we don’t even know exactly why we have a particular need. We just know that we need it, end of story.
The problem is, needs that go unacknowledged and therefore unmet, are insidious little beasts.
They sap our energy and cause us to lower our standards and undermine our values at every turn. They will prompt us to form relationships that are toxic; to keep working at jobs that we can’t stand; to pursue endeavors that leave us feeling empty; to accept behavior from others, and ourselves, when we desire and deserve better.
We convince ourselves that we NEED to have that degree, or that job, or that relationship, or that lifestyle in order to be happy and if we don’t, all is lost.
In reality, we need what those things provide us, not the actual thing itself.
Once we acknowledge our unmet needs and begin to explore new possibilities for getting them met, we are able to free ourselves from our self-imposed limits.
When our needs are being met, we have more energy and are able to live in a way that is in alignment with our standards, values, passions, and aspirations.
Take a moment to consider what your needs are and if they are being met in healthy and constructive ways, or if they are even being met at all.
If you discover you have needs that are going unmet, ask yourself these questions and begin to create an action plan:
1) What is happening for me as a result of this need going unmet?
2) How much time and energy am I spending trying to meet this need, either directly or indirectly?
3) What is not meeting this need costing me?
4) What would it take to satisfy this need fully?
5) What type of system or strategy could I put in place to continually get this need met?
Identifying what your needs are and creating a strategy for getting them met can feel like a daunting task and we are often completely unaware of the options available to us because we write them off too quickly as being "impossible".
This is where working with a coach can help you not only identify what your needs are but also possible options and resources for creating a plan of action that you may not have considered.
Whichever way you choose to go about it, acknowledging your unmet needs and taking steps toward fulfilling them will put you well on your way to getting what you want by getting what you need.
Reference: ©Copyright 2005-2013 ADD Coach Academy
Natalia van Rikxoort, MSW is a social worker, therapeutic arts facilitator, and life coach with specializations in ADD/ADHD and family coaching