Sunday, February 7, 2010

seeing our needs

today I want to explore a very important offshoot of love: getting our emotional needs met. this post may come across as a bit unfocused because I'm still trying to work my way through a reaction I had yesterday while reading blogs. since directly addressing the topic {having and using children to meet our emotional needs} would stir up some controversy and likely lead to banishment from the good land of blog via mobs of torch-carrying angry villagers, I want to touch on it in a more sensitive and general manner. speak the truth with love.

I want to write this first: each and every one of us have tons of emotional needs. these needs form the basis of human relationship and successful (adult) relationships have an honest and loving give-and-take contract. they are the goods, services and currency of the human marketplace.

one conclusion I came to yesterday is that people may not really see who they are using and how they are going about getting their emotional needs met. this is likely due to being unconscious of the actual need or needs. we move from one person, role, activity to another, seeking connection and fulfillment. we are unclear about our needs so likely aren't communicating them fully in our lives. we leave ourselves open for disappointment. and here's the kicker: we don't know why we are disappointed because we're not conscious of the unexpressed need that wasn't met. so let's start here. how do we go about exploring, discovering, examining, defining and then meeting our needs?

here's the answer: I don't know. but I have some thoughts I'd like to throw out there. {insert I-am-not-a-licensed-therapist disclaimer here.} I'm thinking this may take more than one post, so let's just touch on exploring and discovering today.

I start by looking through my history for the hotpoints of fulfillment and disappointment and asking myself what I was trying to get, hold on to and feel. what was it exactly that gave me contentment and/or devastation? I focus on the material aspects first: the things, the words, the action. then I go deeper: what is the emotional need symbolically represented here?

here's a little example: I love to shop and buy things. this seems to be in the normal range most of the time. however, occasionally I can go hog wild and get myself in trouble. in addition, I can become sad when I can't afford or find things that I want. I've traced this tendency to my needs of having, controlling and not depriving myself. I've further discovered that these core emotional needs rear their heads in most of my human interactions.

I want to be clearer and cleaner in the way I operate in this world. I want to do my best to look at and be honest about my needs. I want to understand the needs of those I love and fully participate in the human exchange of need-meeting. I truly believe this starts with understanding what I am seeking and operating above board. it can be scary to look at our needs because what comes up first are the times they weren't met. but I would gamble that being clear and open about our needs can increase the frequency in which they are met.

what do you think?

{p.s. mothers form the foundation of all things need with their children: how needs are met, communicating need, etc. mothers have the beautiful opportunity to focus fully on meeting the physical and emotional needs of their children, forming a healthy basis of trust in the world. this usually happens instinctually. while parenting certainly teaches us a great deal about ourselves and our needs, when we put our children in the role of meeting our needs, it creates a huge responsibility in them that is not understood or warranted and can be harmful.}

you knew I couldn't let it go without some discussion, right? I attribute this to another one of my needs: having a say. ; )