Learning to Listen to your needs

What is an emotional need?

To be able to answer that question, here is another question.

What do you require to feel happy and fulfilled?

When something important lacks in your life, you may feel it by experiencing jealousy, sadness, even hatred. Those feelings might never go away until you fulfill the void that you feel inside.

Different people will have different needs, different priorities, but overall, it boils down to the basics.

Some Human basic needs are:

A need is not to be confused with what gives you pleasure.

What is the difference between happiness and pleasure and why does it matter?

Happiness is a necessity. Without it, we can’t function.

Pleasure is centered around our sensitivities. Pleasure is a momentary feeling of happiness. A cigarette, a glass of wine, sex, a furry blanket. But this feeling does not last long because it is external. As soon as you remove the external object or person that gives you pleasure, the feeling is gone. When we are not aware of what makes us truly happy, we chase after pleasure. More food, more sex, more drugs, more control over other people.

Happiness comes from within.

But one can only achieve happiness if they become aware of what their core issue is, what is the need that they are lacking.

For example:

John is the big boss of a major company. He has been running it for ten years, and over the years he has become very judgmental and harsh with his workers. Their performance was never enough, the hours they put into work were never long enough, and the work they did was never long enough.

Last Tuesday he called in an employer and gave him a speech about his very poor performance. He was very harsh with him and this gave him a high, a feeling of momentary pleasure. He then had a meeting where he enjoyed seeing how nervous his employers were around him. Yet, after the day, when he came home at night, and there was nobody to control, he felt empty and turned to drinking.

What John didn’t realize was that he judged himself just as harshly as he judged his coworkers which left him suppressing his feelings heavily. He felt of himself as a loser who could never make a friend. It was only when he realized that he did not take care of his primary needs, such as the need to have friends, and started taking care of himself, that he became kinder with his workers. When he took care of himself and felt happier, then happiness transformed him into a different person.

Need Awareness

Becoming aware of our needs also means fulfilling them ourselves.

“The only person responsible for your happiness is yourself. It’s not someone else’s job to do it for you.


Suzie loves to go hiking every day. She loves everything about it. The smell of the forest, the wild animals, the plants and trees, the waterfalls and rivers. Every day, she will nag on her boyfriend to come with her because she would like to share the experience with someone. When he says that he doesn’t want to go, Suzie takes it as a rejection. She is not accepting his differences and even caught herself thinking that she should be with someone who satisfies all her needs.

Suzie has a need to share the hiking experience with another person. Once Suzie realized this, she decided to invite a friend instead. She had a great time and the two friends became hicking buddies. Suzie’s need for having company while hiking was fulfilled and by doing so she also respected the person that she was with. Over time, her boyfriend started coming along on his own, not because she forced him but because he wanted to. This made a whole difference in the relationship.

Nobody will ever satisfy all your needs in one shot.

This is an illusion. We are all different people and you cannot expect one person alone to be the bearer of all your needs. This is what will create tension, fighting, and an eventual breakup.

Express Your Need in a Clear and Precise Way

A need could be something as simple as asking the spouse to help with house chores, as well as being kissed every day. A need could also be social, such as the need to see friends or to quit a job that doesn’t satisfy our needs and aim for something that we truly want to do.

Understanding Limits

When you express a need, this is also taking the risk that someone will say no, I do not want to satisfy this need.

It is understanding that our needs have limits with other people, and other people have limited needs with us.

It is also giving the person the freedom to make their own choices.

When somebody doesn’t fulfill our needs, viewing this as a rejection will only cause a trigger that will evolve into a fight.

This happens because we give responsibility to the other person for our needs.

Respecting the other persons need is respecting our own. Giving freedom for the other person to satisfy their needs gives us freedom to satisfy our own.

Being the only person responsible for your needs ask yourself:

It is important to understand that a need can be met in many ways without forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do, and taking away their freedom.

There are many ways that one’s needs can be satisfied.

The need for satisfaction is crucial to your well-being, and it should be one of your biggest priorities.

What is your most important need that is not being met? What can you do to fulfill this need?

Why do bad things always happen to me?

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