Why You Need To Start Asking This One Question
Every day we have needs we have to respond to. There are the demands of our career, our family members, friends and the needs we have for ourselves.
So how often do your own personal needs make it to the top of the to-do list?
I’m not just talking about needing to take some time out or treating yourself to a massage....I want to know how often you check in, to find out what you REALLY need. How often do you consider what it is that’s going to ensure that you are being filled up on an emotional level?
The meaning of emotional fulfillment different for everyone. For me I simply think of it as experiencing a sense of well being, contentment and happiness which is expressed in your internal world as a feeling of satisfaction.
Are your mental thoughts generally happy, positive, self-nurturing kind etc.?
If not, perhaps your tank might be running a little empty in the department of getting your needs met.
You can try this simple experiment right now... Take at least 2 minutes to do this!
Take of moment to ask yourself, how fulfilled, happy, safe and calm you feel right now?
Take a breath, close your eyes, try and lean into the experience and feel in your body what you sense.
What did you find? Did that feel unusual? Perhaps you have been able to sense a connection to where you are and what you feel, if not that’s OK. It’s a simple experiment to see where you are and what you are aware of in this moment. Getting awareness around how you feel in your body, and connecting to what's happening for you isn't something that's actively taught. So what I often find is that we very rarely check in with ourselves. Were taught to avoid difficult feelings and situations. Rather than work through the hard or intense feelings that are challenging us we ignore them or numb them out.
It’s in this inability to look within and understand what are needs are, that often causes our experience of increased levels of unhappiness, distress and anxiety.
This brings me to the one question you need (no pun intended) to be asking yourself is:
“What do I need right now?”
You might be thinking, yeah right, and?
And that's, it! This question is strikingly simple, yet sheds so much light on our experience and how we look after ourselves and get our needs met of how we don't.
Whether you can answer this question or not already tells you if your connected to what it is you truly need from yourself.
The other question I also find helpful is:
What am I aware of in my body?
This questions helps to shut off the thinking and get us into the body and sensing. Where do I hold my tension, do I feel sick in the stomach? Am I stiff? As you notice your body, it will help you understand what you are actually experiencing and inform you as to what you might need to feel better in your body.
So whilst the question is simple, understanding and unraveling the answers takes support and guidance.
There are many contributing factors and conditions unique to each individual as to why we might not be aware of, or focus on our own needs.
Some of these related to our beliefs and might look like this:
You feel as though the needs of other people are more important than your own
You look to others to meet your needs and make them responsible for how you feel (Thus being unaware of what we need from ourselves)
You don't have any having any clear needs because you have felt the repeated shame of them not being met
You feel as though our needs are not worthwhile, so you dismiss them.
These are only some of the reasons why the task of knowing our needs and how to meet them is so difficult for many people.
The beliefs I've listed above are complex topics for each individual and which require further discussion and support than this blog post allows for. I encourage you to reach out for support if any of these topics resonate with your current experience
Getting your needs met is about getting greedy. Yes, you absolutely should be getting satisfaction in all areas of our lives and YES you have choices about whether or not you do so. I'd love to hear of your experiences in asking yourself more of the question: "What do I need right now?"
Natajsa Wagner is a Clinical Psychotherapist in Private Practice working with individuals, couples and groups. Natajsa is an advocate for authentic conversations that connect us. Natajsa believes that the relationship we have with ourselves and others is the essential ingredient to our emotional health, happiness and wellbeing.
Natajsa is passionate about speaking and teaching on the topic of moving from loneliness to belonging and the importance of human relationships. Her focus is on helping people develop self-awareness and understanding of our challenges, so we can create change that leads to more fulfilling and meaningful lives. Natajsa has been featured as an expert both locally and internationally and has contributed to a number of print and online media outlets including Women's Health and Fitness Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine & ABC Online.