There is a set of universal needs that every human being on this planet has, whether they are aware of them or not. They are motivating every action we take. They are what makes life worthwhile, they bring richness to life. They are what help us to thrive and grow and bloom. To name just a few, they include: belonging; care; dignity; acceptance; to be heard; to matter; to be known and many more.
However, before coming to NVC I had absolutely no idea that I had these needs and this caused problems. Firstly, this underdeveloped inner awareness made me extremely externally focused so that instead of being able to ask for what I want and thus meeting my own needs, I focused on how I could maneuver the world around me in order to get what I wanted.
And given my Catholic upbringing, I tried to do what was “right”; I “gave” to others. But…I didn’t do it out of a love and purely a genuine care for the other. I did it because I was told “I should”, and I did it because at some subtle level, I thought that it was the best way to get them to like me and from there, to get what I wanted in return.
There are a number of problems with this process but at a fundamental level, it is disempowering. Why? Because when we are entirely focused on getting what we want from someone else, we deny our own needs. We have no way of asking for what we want (because we are not aware of our inner needs) and are therefore forced to continually look outside ourselves for sources of fulfillment and satisfaction.
This externally driven process is especially frustrating when you understand that not everyone is even playing your game of “pleasing others” so quite often, you don’t get what you want anyway!
In my life, learning NVC and understanding the importance of my needs was a crucial first step towards expressing myself authentically and deepening my relationships. I cannot imagine not having this awareness in my life now.
Next week I’ll be talking more about how you can own your needs (and what happens when you don’t in relationships) but until then, just being aware that you even have needs is an important first step.
If you are wanting to break the habit of pleasing people and know yourself and your inner world and power, join us at our upcoming NVC foundation training or 5 Day Embodying NVC training, Power and Purpose coming up in October.