Had you thought that if someone cared for you, they would know what you wanted or needed? In the past, I have held on to this way of thinking. I thought they would understand what I needed, and I wouldn’t have to tell them because they cared. What a fallacy, and it put me in victim mode.
People don’t see the world as we do, so they may not pick up the subtle hints you send them.
What if you let the people who cared for you know what is essential to you? Sharing your needs helps people understand what you want or what to expect from you. For example, if you hate a particular type of food and share it with them, they won’t suggest the restaurant. If you don’t tell them, you get sullen that you are again at a restaurant you dislike to please the other person.
We all have unspoken rules on how we expect people to be, to treat us, follow the laws of the road, don’t tease us, or what you enjoy receiving as a gift from someone who cares for you.
Know the Difference
There are three different ways we live our lives in areas of importance:
- Values – are priorities we create as a foundation for living our lives. Personal fulfillment comes about when you focus your attention on your values.
- Needs – food, water, shelter, love, respect. Many words express a need. Creating boundaries for ourselves and others could be a need. When you meet your needs, you have a better chance of supporting your life values. Satisfaction comes about when we get what we need.
- Wants – preferences, desires, and wishes are all parts of us in our daily lives. Recognizing that a “want” is a variable desire, we can focus more energy on our needs. Gratification is what we feel when we get what we want.
Thoughts Around Sharing Your Wants and Needs
Read Your Mind
I don’t want someone to read my mind. Do you expect people to know what you want if you don’t tell them? It’s fair to you and others to share your thoughts on what is essential.
You are Upset
If you are upset with someone, do you share in your voice how you feel? “I” statements are good here if you want someone to hear you. Many times we are upset with others because they didn’t do what we expected them to do. Again, it’s only fair to everyone if you are clear about your expectations. You and the person can discuss it and see if it’s mutual.
Do You Know What You Expect
You have to know your wants and needs, or requirements, before sharing them with others.
Check In With Others
It’s only fair if you share your needs and wants; you also can be open to listening to the other person share their requirements. It’s helpful so both of you know what’s important. You limit conflicts because you know what’s essential in the relationship and can negotiate to meet each other’s needs. An open communication relationship is powerful for both of you.
Benefits of Sharing Your Needs
- You will become clearer about what you require and more precise in your communication.
- Others will know what’s important to you, and you can potentially reduce conflict in the relationship.
- Create stronger connections with others, allowing for a more honest relationship.
- You create stronger boundaries for yourself and others.
Areas of Boundaries
- Physical – what is our comfort level with physical connection – with friends, family, co-workers, and partners?
- Financial – being honest about how you want to use your money. How do you share finances in a relationship, or how much is comfortable for you if you donate?
- Emotional – how do you handle conflicts? Can you step back and reign in your emotions? Do you feel the other person listens to you? You know, when you react emotionally to an interaction, there is a message. Sometimes the message is to question yourself why you are reacting; other times, to be honest with the other person and share what you feel and need.
- What You Own – How do you want others to treat your belongings? Are you comfortable loaning out your stuff? Do you know how the person asking will treat your property? It would be best to share what is yours with others honestly and clearly.
- Time – Few of us are clear about the boundaries of our time. Do you have people who cross time boundaries and assume you are always available for them? You must set time boundaries for work, friends, family, or partnerships. The limits aren’t rigid, though you should be the one creating the limit. You create a time boundary depending on the relationship, the contact, and how much time you have. It would help to let others know the time boundary so they are not surprised and you keep to what you want.
How to Share What You Need
- Take the time to identify what you need or want in the different areas of your life.
- Is it a requirement or a “would like it?” We all have preferences, though these are usually negotiable. It’s something nice to have but not essential. A requirement is an absolute for you, and you don’t want to negotiate.
- Figure out who you want to share your needs with and what you want to share with them.
- Know what absolutes are the baseline for you in all relationships.
- Share your needs and check in with them to see what they need.
Create An Environment to Share
It’s essential to create space for the discussion in a comfortable environment to share your needs and the other person’s needs in a way that can be heard and understood. Let the other person know you have some things to discuss and ask them what would be the most effective for them.
Then decide how to share your requirements (needs/wants) with them.
Mistakes with Sharing
- Sharing what is essential vs. a preference. Present the essentials first, as these are absolutes. You may have time to discuss preferences, though be flexible with options.
- Share all your absolutes because honesty lets both people know what’s important and whether they can meet your needs. No one person meets all of our needs, though being open and honest allows us to get the most in the relationship that is possible. It’s also a natural time to recognize you may not get your needs met with a particular person.
- Recognize the type of relationship you have with a person and tailor your needs that are appropriate for this relationship.
List your physical, financial, communication style, and relationship needs and wants. Do you feel comfortable digging deep and owning what is essential to you? Or do you uncomfortable sharing them?
Women’s Group Topics
Women are known to expect others to understand what they need. Discuss how you have relinquished your right to share your needs, how you feel about being open and honest, and whether you share what you need or want today.
“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
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