I’ve been looking at the roots of my happiness, my habits, my relationships, and my emotions. Do you know what I realized? One thing binds all of these together.
*The stories we tell ourselves.*
Some stories are total lies, some stories are total truth, but most stories of somewhere in between. They were often constructed on one event.
Something happened and we made a conclusion. Then, we went on with our life supposing that our conclusion was totally accurate.
Every time we were placed in a similar situation, we remembered the story and unconsciously decided how this new event would turn out.
When it did indeed turn out the way we expected, we reinforced that story.
Again. And Again.
Until it felt like the total truth.
I’ve been making a list of all the stories I tell myself… I came across one that I thought was worth sharing.
Were you ever told you were too sensitive? Too needy?
I was told I was too sensitive my whole life. Somehow, I associated that with being needy. So I grew up being deadly afraid to be needy. As a teenager, I told myself that if I was needy, no man would ever want me. In all honestly, I already thought no man would ever want me, so if I had allowed myself to be needy, I would have clearly ruined any chances I had.
But the fact is, I was needy. I was seeking attention and approval. I needed reassurance. I had poor boundaries. What teenager doesn’t? But everything around me was reinforcing that story. Friends, jokes, family, media.
So instead of growing up confident and independent, I pretended to be those things as I negated the sensitive and needy part of my personality.
What I realize today is that by ignoring my sensitive side, I disconnected from my emotions.
By ignoring my needy side, I learned to ignore my needs too.
For a very long time, answering the question What do I need? has been truly challenging.
I am now just starting to break down that story. What it means and how it affected the course of my life.
It’s a story built on the judgment sentence: You are TOO sensitive, instate of the fact statement, You are a sensitive person. It’s a story build on the judgment sentence You are too needy, instead of the fact statement, You have needs.
And we all have needs. Very similar needs in facts.
Don’t we all need certainty? A sense of security, safety, and comfort?
Don’t we all need love and connection? A sense of accepting, belonging, and support?
Don’t we all need growth? A desire to learn and evolve?
And because too much of anything isn’t good…
How about variety? A sense of change, interest and adventure? As a way to balance certainty.
How about significance? A sense of uniqueness, individuality, and being special. As a way to balance love and connection.
How about contribution? A desire to give to those around us. As a way to balance growth.
Can you say there’s anything here you absolutely don’t need? I can’t. I need all those things.
So it seems I have a lot of needs, so technically, I guess I’m still pretty needy.
The next step for me is learning when I need what and why.
So I can meet my needs better.
So I don’t have to be needy in an exhausting way.
So I can lovingly be myself.
I think the take away for me is The more you’re able to meet your needs, the less you need other people to do it for you.
About you? How comfortable are you with your needs? How well can you meet them? What stories do you tell yourself about your needs?
PS. Little idea you want to reflect on that:
Make a list of all the ways your needs manifest in your life in these different categories:
1. Certainty (security, safety and comfort):
2. Love and connection (accepting, belonging and support) :
3. Growth (learn and evolve):
4. Variety (change, interest and adventure):
5. Significance (uniqueness, individuality and being special):
6. Contribution (desire to give to those around us):
Keep that list handy and add to it as you discover them! I’d love to hear from you. Tell me how it unfolds.
PPS. Here’s the source for the need categories