The key to happiness is meeting our needs. Not meeting our needs can be a sign of co-dependency, or it can be a sign of low self-esteem. It is not easy for us to understand what we want or what we need. When we cannot identify our needs and wants, we cannot fulfill our needs and wants. At times, co-dependent people may be very attuned to the needs and desires of other people and can even think about fulfilling and anticipating their needs and wants. When this happens, we lose the connection to our own needs and wants.
This can start in childhood when our needs were ignored or shamed. It was important that we had to adapt to the needs of our parents and other adults like teachers, older siblings, relatives or friends. In some cases, the adults and peers in our lives were physically or mentally ill, addicted, or just emotionally or physically unavailable to us. For some of us, to survive our childhood and teen years, we had to adapt to the wants and expectations of a selfish or controlling parent. Some of our friends may also have been selfish or controlling. Over time, we started to lose interest in things that were important to us because we wanted to avoid being disappointed or shamed for not getting our needs met. We put our needs on the back burner or just moved on without them.
Why Meeting Needs Matter
The reason it’s important to satisfy our needs is that we feel emotional pain when they’re not met. We may even forget what we need or what made us happy in the past. For example, I was happy when I went swimming every day. I felt safe when I was able to read mystery novels in my room.
Take some time this weekend to review your needs inventory sheet and write down five things you need. Then list what you want to do to meet those needs. Remember, we may have to stretch ourselves and put ourselves out of our comfort zone, which is okay. If you do not have a Needs Inventory please use Google to find one.