Society Taught Us Not to Have NeedsSo, what have we gotten as a result of society teaching us we shouldn’t have needs? A society that is disconnected, too busy, and exhausted from us trying to meet all of our needs on our own. The majority of people struggle with asking for help. Again, that’s because we are taught that we shouldn’t need help, a.k.a. have needs from others. That makes me cringe just thinking about it! Are you sitting there nodding your head because you know it’s hard for you to ask for help? If so, don’t stop reading because you really need to understand that it’s ok to have needs.
“I Don’t Need a Man Syndrome”
For many years, I prided myself on being “independent.” I didn’t “need” a man for anything! Oh, how wrong I was!
Think about how many times you have heard women say or you have said, “I pay my own bills,” “I’m independent,” or “I don’t need a man (partner) for anything.” If you haven’t heard any of those, you need to move that big ol’ rock you’ve been living under.
I subscribed to that belief for many years thinking that was how I was “supposed” to be because I shouldn’t “need” a man. Guess what that brought me? Relationships with men who didn’t meet my needs.
There was no way they could meet needs that I never even acknowledged I had. So, instead, I’d find a million different reasons the relationship wouldn’t work. That left me lonely and frustrated.
Needs in a Romantic Relationship
Throughout my healing journey, I began noticing that I did in fact have needs from a man. Not only that, but those needs were incredibly important. I would not be fulfilled if those needs weren’t met by my partner.
If you’re thinking about the cliché, “You have to be happy with yourself before you can be happy in a relationship,” let me pause you. I’m not saying that I wasn’t happy.
What I’m saying is that when I am in an emotionally healthy relationship, I can let go of finding ways to get my needs met on my own. I can allow my husband to meet some of those needs to take the burden off of me.
Some of my needs from my husband are to handle our finances, grocery shopping, keeping us organized, and emotional intimacy. My husband knows my Type B personality is really strong when it comes to the first three of those needs.
Now, I can’t imagine not having those needs met. Could I manage? Yes, but my life is so much better because I don’t have to do it all on my own.
Society and Culture’s View on Needs
Why is it that we struggle to allow ourselves to identify our needs and, even more so, allow somebody to meet them? Society is once again to blame and probably many cultures, too.
Typically, we are only taught what we shouldn’t need. This goes well beyond romantic relationships. It affects every aspect of our lives.
As a psychotherapist, I often hear patients telling me what they don’t need or what they don’t want. That just has them sitting in a pile of negative energy.
When we focus on what we don’t want or need, that is usually what we actually get. That’s because the Law of Attraction is at play. If you want to learn more about the Law of Attraction, google it. Also, it prevents us from identifying what we do need.
As I mentioned, this applies to all aspects of life. I hear patients tell me what they don’t want in a job when they are looking for one. They tell me what they don’t want from friends. They don’t want family to do this or that. They don’t want a partner who treats them like blah, blah, blah.
My response is always, “But what do you need?” That usually takes people a back. They begin to struggle with realizing they don’t really know what they need. They’re only clear on what they don’t need or want.
Identifying Your Needs
The struggle to name what we actually want is very real. It also leaves us ver stuck. Without exploring and identifying what you truly need, you will continue to find more of what you don’t need.
For me, I wasn’t really taught anything about my needs, other than how a Southern “young lady” needed to behave. That certainly wasn’t a need I cared about though!
That makes me nauseated just typing it. However, I digress! Also, I need to mention that many women are taught that they need a man to be able to function in any way. That’s a post for another day.
So, how can you learn to identify and meet your needs? Well, as I’ve said, most people are really clear on what they don’t want or need.
Take those things and look at what the opposite of those things is for you. That will leave you with more clarity about your needs and wants.
Here are a few examples from my own life of how I took what I didn’t want or need and figured out what I do want and truly need.
Don’t Want/Need: Do Want/Need:
• a job that works me to death • a job that values work/life balance
• friends who don’t accept the real me • friends who accept and love the real me
• family members who don’t support me • family members who are proud of me
• to be exhausted/sick all the time • a life that allows self-care time
• to be out of shape • a strong, healthy body
• a partner who can’t communicate feelings • a partner who discusses feelings together
Now, make your own list like this. I’d recommend having multiple lists. Create one for each aspect of your life. Make a list for job, family, romantic relationships, friends, physical health, mental health and whatever else is important in your life.
Your Journey of Identifying Your Needs
I also want you to start paying attention to how others talk about their needs or wants. You will quickly see how the majority of people focus on what they don’t want or need.
Again, that is what society has taught us and one of the big reasons that our society is so disconnected, too busy and exhausted. We don’t know what we need and sure don’t know how to get those needs met by others.
If you are tempted to point out how others are focusing on what they don’t want or need, please resist that urge. If the urge is super strong, please read my post Unsolicited Advice.
Yes, I understand that you want to help others, but let them have their own journey. If you really can’t help yourself, then maybe just send them this post and tell them that it was helpful for you.
If you do that, leave it alone afterwards. Nobody likes a pushy person, especially when it comes to emotional healing. Didn’t you have to get to where you are on your healing journey on your own time and your own terms?
So, let them do the same. It’s not your job to teach them how to heal. Your job is to learn how to heal for yourself. Hopefully, this post helps you do that!
I would love to hear what you come up with as you begin to identify your needs. Please comment below or share your list.
Naming your needs to the Not Good Enough Stuff Community could be really healing because you are publicly acknowledging that you have needs and, furthermore, that it’s perfectly okay to have those needs!Subscribe to Not Good Enough Stuff by clicking here! DISCLAIMER: This site is only intended for people who are truly willing to look at themselves with an open mind and have the ability to truly be vulnerable with themselves and others. Please understand that this site is in NO WAY THERAPEUTIC ADVICE. However, this site can be very beneficial in learning the causes of your Not Good Enough Stuff. This site is not intended to provide or replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Mary Beth HIGHLY RECOMMENDS finding a licensed therapist to help you process the information from this site and all that you learn about yourself. Visit Psychology Today to find a licensed therapist in your area.