We’d each spent a large part of our lives focused upon meeting other people’s needs, being of service to others, with the unconscious assumption that if we could fill other people up enough, that they would then eventually reciprocate and meet our needs back.
But, it doesn’t work that way.
When we self-abandon, self-silence, self-negate in order to keep the peace with others – often in the name of “love” – we unintentionally enable and legitimize systems of inequity in which some people carry an undue share of the emotional labor, and others are shielded from opportunities to grow up and mature into their fullest potential.
Subservience and obedience do not earn anyone more equality, choice or freedom.
Joyful, healthy relationships are built on mutuality, reciprocity, self-empowerment and self-responsibility. They honor the innate needs of all people, wishing wellness and well-being on all humans.
Whenever a relationship starts getting glitchy and sticky, I remind myself of these 4 things.
- All behavior is merely an attempt to meet universal human needs that we all have.
- Our needs are often unconscious; we aren’t always aware of what need we or others are trying to meet.
- The strategies we default to habitually are often misaligned and ineffective at actually meeting the needs that are “up,” and worse, they often repeat a cycle of harm instead of transforming it.
- The most life-enhancing, enriching solutions come from caring about everyone’s needs equally – not from choosing strategies that only work for privileged parties who see themselves as the normative standard.
When I focus on connecting consciously with human needs, questioning the default, reactive strategies at play, while staying committed to the equal mattering and value of every human, everything changes.
- Instead of seeing my needs as problematic, or other people as “needy” and “selfish,” I experiment with new possibilities. What if I simply attended to, cared for and attempted to meet the needs that were “up” in any given situation?
- Instead of seeing my daughter’s desire for attention as problematic or dependent, I pay more attention to her and spend quality time together.
- Instead of seeing my need for rest as “laziness,” I slow down the pace of my life and create more ease and space for myself.
- Instead of seeing other people as “self-focused” I watch for ways to meet their needs to be seen, heard, and valued.
Meaningful change and growth happens when we expand our sense of identity and reach for our fullest potential as human beings.
It comes from transforming patterns of fear, judgment and hatred.
It comes from ending cycles of oppression and violence on our planet.
It comes from speaking up against injustices, protecting the vulnerable and using the protective use of force to keep all people safe from harm.
If you’re in the United States today, please vote.
- For my part, I will be voting for people who are trying (imperfectly, I know) to create a world that works for all people.
- I will be voting for leaders who seek to address and alleviate fear, not those who weaponize it for selfish gains.
- I will be voting for leaders who support each human’s sovereignty over their own bodies.
- I will be voting for leaders who are more interested in regulating businesses and corporations, than those who want to regulate people and individuals.
Our November’s membership focus is all about our needs, our intrinsic motivations, our desires and our drives, and we kicked off our first Monday last night. It’s not too late to join! If you’ve been thinking about trying out a month of membership, you can sign up at any time here!
How is your relationship to your needs and the needs of others shifting and growing? I’d love to know! Please leave a comment below.