How to Get Your Needs Met
Getting our needs met as a form of self care
In an interview with Just Stay Curious, Kristy Jones describes an epiphany she had, while seeking empathy from a friend, who couldn’t seem to provide it. “That was a learning experience for me to realize, she gives me something else. She gives me a friendship. I get that empathy, that inner circle, that support system, elsewhere. I’m asking for the wrong things from the wrong people. Being able to find the right people to help me with that is key.”
Different people provide different things
None of us can be all things to all people. Yet, we sometimes fall into the trap of expecting our loved ones to be all things for us. It can be helpful, before we are in crisis, to step back and evaluate our relationships with friends and family. Our evaluation should focus on what we can give, and what we can reasonably and consistently expect to receive, from our friends and family. This will allow us, in times of crisis, to call the right person to meet our needs. If we don’t, we will find ourselves thinking, “I called the friend I wanted, but the friend I have answered the phone.” For example, if you are thinking of quitting your job to start your own business, your depression mindset, risk averse parents may not be the best choice for seeking support for this adventure. This is not to say your parents are of no value, only that they may not be of value for that purpose. Instead, perhaps you could call a friend who has already launched a business, or has a spirit of adventure.
Love yourself enough to select the right person to meet the immediate need
You would never grab a screwdriver to pound a nail. You wouldn’t add a cup of salt to a recipe that called for sugar. Why wouldn’t you love yourself to contact the right friend or family member to meet your needs. Some friends are best at celebrating adventures. Others are better at carefully considering risks and benefits. When you find yourself in need of an empathetic ear, take a moment to consider who you might reach out to. Remember that no one can be all things to all people. Love yourself enough to reach out to the person who can best fill your needs.
If you are not sure who the right person is before you reach out, you will likely figure it out soon enough. When you feel you are not getting your needs met, one of two things might be occurring. It is possible, as it was with Kristy Jones, that the person you are reaching out to is not capable of giving you what you need. Of course, it is also possible that the reason your friend is not being supportive because she believes you are making a bad decision – and she might be right! This is why it is helpful to know, before a crisis presents itself, the core values and beliefs of the people you rely on.
Love yourself and your friends and family enough to provide them with what they need
When friends and family call on you for assistance, of course you are going to want to do all you can. Sometimes, however, you will know, either instantly, or over the course of the conversation, that you are not best equipped to meet their needs. There’s nothing wrong with asking, “What do you need from me?” to clarify. Are they really looking for your opinion or are they actually seeking validation? Additionally, there nothing wrong with saying, “I don’t think I’m best able to help you with this,” if you are convinced that is true.
Part of loving yourself is recognizing your limits, but part of loving yourself is also stretching and growing. Each situation will require its own evaluation. For example, it may not be appropriate for you to be the “supporter” of someone who seeks to do something that is in conflict with your moral or religious views. However, even if the idea of entrepreneurship terrifies you, you can still be a cheerleader for your sister who is contemplating launching her own business.
Balloons and pins – understanding both roles
“Sometimes an idea needs a balloon, other times, an idea needs a pin.” You may have noticed that some of your friends are balloons, expanding possibilities, and some of your friends are pins, ready to pop the balloon at any moment. Ideally, your friends and family are capable of being both. Friends who are always pins should probably be avoided in times of need.
Self love and what we receive
There are reasons we maintain the friendships we have. Understanding what our friends can give us, and recognizing their limitations in giving, is critical to creating a space for ourselves that is supported by self love. We are responsible for our own space. We need to love ourselves enough to make it a safe space.