If I asked you right now to stop and say aloud all the things you wanted, what would you list? A new home, a new car, more money, set up your own business, a relationship or a new job? Sound familiar? It’s really easy to list off wants and desires. We often make plans to reach our desires. Getting something you’ve wanted for a while is an exciting feeling. There’s no wonder that we want the things we want.
Now consider if you get everything you want right now (magic!), is the need to have it still compelling? Under most circumstances, fulfilling our wants and desires is a short term satisfaction.
Can you think of times when you have got what you want only to feel unfulfilled days later?
As a submissive, we talk about knowing what your wants and needs are before entering into a power exchange relationship, but wants and needs are a part of the human experience, so they aren’t all related to BDSM or your submission. Knowing what you want and need for a fulfilling life is what makes us happy and successful and moving towards our goals.
Why We Go Through Life With Unmet Needs
Sometimes we feel that asking for what we need is rude or needy, or that we’ve learned growing up that asking for help is shameful. Sometimes we don’t ask for what we need because we don’t like to think of ourselves as needing anything from anyone. Sometimes we don’t ask because we’re afraid of being rejected or don’t want to risk the other saying no.
But in addition to all the more deep-rooted belief systems we've made up in our heads or those we’ve learned growing up, one of the biggest obstacles to us asking for what we need is that we often don't even know what we need.
Try to stop and think, “What is it I really need? Not just what action I wish would happen. What is it I’m craving and longing for?”
Many wants are driven by unmet needs. For example, being abandoned by a parent may have resulted in an unconscious need to feel love and security. Needs not met, will drive you to obtain things in life that you believe will fulfill that emptiness. You may not even know the wants are connected to an unmet need right away. Which can also lead to a sense of emptiness.
In a personal story, I’ve always wanted to be slimmer, ever since I was an overweight teen. I have worked hard over the years to be slimmer and healthier and thought that it would make me happy. I reached a goal that made me very proud of myself and I loved the way my body looked. But that happiness didn’t last as long as I thought it would. In my deeper thinking, I came to see that I needed to love myself and that was what I was trying to uncover with my weight loss. Once I started loving myself and working to embrace my body no matter its size, I was happier and it stuck. I had begun to satisfy my unmet need instead of my desire.
Focus on Your Needs
When you start doing your own self-work, or self-coaching, you may be surprised how your priorities reorganize themselves when you start focusing on your needs instead of your wants. Your needs are healthy and have a right to be met.
Needs are healthy and have a right to be met. When they are met we have a genuine sense of relief and satisfaction in our lives. Trust me, getting your needs met will allow you to be the best you that you can be.
Most of us don’t value what we have, instead, we focus on what we lack. But knowing how to focus on our needs is an important and essential skill to learn. Here are a few considerations for determining what is important in your life and what isn’t.
- What things do you value most about your life? These things represent the backbone of your life and are a basic model of the type of life you wish to create or are already living. They shape us and mold us into the people we are and want to become.
- What commitments are most important to you? Commitments are obligations that represent a promise to see a relationship/project/plan to its end. Keep your essential commitments. Are you overburdening yourself with commitments? Accept only the ones that feel absolutely essential to you.
- How well do you use your time? If you’re like me, you have a daily routine and many fixed activities or chores. When you evaluate what things are necessary and add the most value to your life you can focus more on your needs. Access who much time you spend on social media, the internet or texting. People have become afraid they will miss out on something if they aren’t constantly in touch, but that’s just not the case.
When you’ve worked out what your wants and needs are, the next step is to identify what your values are. We’ll be doing that in the next Solo-Coaching lesson. I hope to see you then.