Simple on Purpose | Intentional Living and Parenting

Simple on Purpose | Intentional Living and Parenting

179. What are your needs and how are you meeting them?

March 07, 2023

What are needs? At a basic level, they are simple things like food, water, shelter, sleep. They can also be more complicated, like friendship, personal accomplishment, and sense of purpose. Sometimes it can be difficult to meet these needs, or to even know what they are. Join me today while I discuss needs and how to meet them in all aspects of your life.

In this episode I discuss: 

  • What are your needs and how to figure that out 
  • Understanding your relationship to ‘your needs’ and ‘the needs of others’ 
  • Communal vs Individual cultures
  • What we learn about needs from our culture, our family, and how gender bias impacts our view on meeting our needs
  • Addressing needs in a relationship, expressing needs
  • Meeting the needs of others, how do we show up for this


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Hey friends, it’s Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend and counselor from simple on Welcome, welcome back to the podcast. Or maybe Welcome back to me, because it seemed that I was on a hiatus from sharing new episodes. And what happened is I had an episode ready to go. And I didn’t post it. The other week, I shared this in the simple Saturdays email that I had just decided the content wasn’t right. And sometimes this happens, sometimes, I’ll go through the whole process of drafting up an episode, maybe even recording it and just deciding it’s not the right content, not the right time, too much too little, that kind of thing. So now I’m back in the recording chair, which just a normal chair. But what I found is that I had to really listen to myself and give myself permission to not post that and take the risk that there wouldn’t be this consistent content, which is always what we’re told, we need to be doing sharing consistent content. And the reality is that it took me a while to get back to because my days are pretty full. And I was also sick for a while. As I was trying to get a new episode done, I was observing the sense of overwhelming me. And I was taking stock of what I’m doing with my days, versus what I’m expecting myself to do with my days. And I’m realizing that I am taking on more and more clients, and spending so much more time in those one on one sessions and in research for the sessions. That is time that in the past, I would easily spend researching and recording podcast episodes, I had time to do draft episodes and episodes that just never made the cut. Because that’s the amount of time I have for that. This is a season for me, where those one to one sessions are really taking priority. But I do want to try my best to still show up here with new ideas new discussion, mainly because of the feedback you guys give me the messages you send me the Instagram DMS, you send me sharing that this podcast is of high value to you. And I want to keep offering that in ways that are sustainable for me. So if you’re ever feeling like you want to hear a new episode, and I haven’t brought one out, I do encourage you to scroll through past episodes because there’s like, well over 100 there. I’m going to put links in the show notes of all the playlists that I have made. They’re on Spotify, they’re also on my website. And you can look up by topic of interest what you want to hear more about. There’s habit change, slow living, emotional intelligence, minimalism, parenting on purpose. So I encourage you, if you ever like oh, I just want to hear more, go and listen to those. Funny enough here I was saying, Okay, I’m gonna have some time this morning, I’m going to draft up an episode, I was going to talk about one simple little thing, but it’s turning into a series. And this series is going to be on meeting our needs meeting our needs. This is going to be a whole conversation because I think we all have different definitions on what that word even means what our needs. On one hand, we have those basic needs shelter, food, water rest, and we’ve probably all seen that pyramid the Hierarchy of Needs Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And Maslow moves up this hierarchy with these basic needs shelter, food, water, rest, and then safety and security, which I don’t know, I feel like those would be on the same level. But there’s these basic needs. Then there’s the psychological needs belonging, love, friends, sense of accomplishment. And then at the very top, there’s self actualization needs, which is reaching your potential. It’s worth considering that Maslow drafted up these needs almost 100 years ago, and it isn’t so much about what ranks were. But to understand that for most people, it can be a process of meeting that need before we can move up to the next one. And you know what, I even think we’re living in an era where some people skip these stages. So what I take from this, ultimately, is that there are a set of needs, or at least to acknowledge that we as human have needs beyond the things that keep us merely alive. So when you think about what your own needs are, it’s probably easy to say food, rest coffee, but anytime you hear yourself saying the sentence, I need a blank. I need a day off. I need time alone, I need help. We call those needs to don’t we opening up this conversation. I think one of the most powerful insights you can give yourself is to explore what you have been raised with and assumed along the way about needs. What have you been taught about your needs? What assumptions have you created about your needs that are now playing out in adulthood? One part of this is considering the culture that you were raised in if your needs are considered communal, or individual and in most North American white culture, we are individualistic, and our individual needs take precedent over our communal needs and that is not a cultural experience that everyone has is worth considering that. It also depends on your home your family. If your needs were a burden a priority, whose more needs were more important, whose needs were less important. I’m going to give you a handful of examples to see how this might play out. Consider a situation where dad needs quiet when he gets home. So your needs for connection with him or even adventure or fun or loudness. Not acceptable, at least not when an authority figure is present. Or you had a lot of siblings or one particular sibling who needed a lot of support and attention. Your needs were put on the backburner you learned to help out instead of getting help, your needs mattered less other’s needs mattered more. Perhaps you had a lot of emotions as a kid and your parent had really low tolerance or time or skill for this. So you learned your emotions are not in need. They’re a burden, take them somewhere else or turn them off. What if you had siblings or even parents who were always in your stuff, and there was no enforcement of privacy or boundaries, you learned that you aren’t entitled to those those aren’t your needs to have privacy or boundary. And boundaries will ultimately become blurry people can cross them. What if you had the experience that you had a lot of desires and ideas and you wanted to try things or hobbies or dress a certain way or express yourself a certain way and you told that wasn’t acceptable? You start to feel bad for who you are or for even launching that in the first place. You’re told that’s not acceptable. So you just shut off that desire. Consider the faith background you grew up with? And if you grew up as a Christian, what did you learn about needs? God provides everything you need. It makes you really question what needs even our this is a whole other conversation, right? And how about gender stereotypes? What did you learn about being a girl? And what are we taught about our needs, and meeting the needs of other what is the role of a girl of a woman? Often we’re told, it means meeting the needs of others, especially in the family setting to be the mom and the wife. And all of that role should quote unquote, look like? I want to talk more about that in a later episode. Maybe you watched your own mom, and you watched how she met her needs. Maybe she was staying up all night doing the laundry working long hours, you learn a framework of what a mums needs are and are not. And maybe you’ve watched your parents and how they handled their needs. And you want to be counterintuitive to that. And maybe you felt a problem with that. So you’ve almost rebelled against that. Our upbringing greatly shapes our view on our needs. What needs are actual needs? What needs are a burden? What needs are more important? What are the needs we should be meeting for others? What needs do we expect others to meet for us? How should we ask for what we need so on? The next question that we are faced with from this is now what do we do with our needs as adults? Maybe we ignore them, bury them, don’t express them don’t address them. Maybe we even disparage our needs, calling them selfish or childish. Often, if we’re in this state, we ignore them so much. It takes some really big emotions like resentment to help us see that we have these needs that are going unmet. We could be on the other end of the spectrum where everything feels like a need. We are really good at rationalizing them. Well, I need this because and we’re very hyper focused on all the thing we perceive as needs, that it almost becomes a daily discussion, what we need and how to get it. And what about that internal wrestling that we meet in the middle? As a culture, we’re talking about needs and mental health and more and more. It can feel like our wants and needs are getting blurred? And maybe even in our heads, we’re debating Is this a need? Is this a want? Am I being selfish? Do I really need this? But I think I need this I feel like I need this. Other moms probably need this. What do other partners do? So we’re kind of in this internal wrestling as well. And ultimately for moms, I think the hardest part is that we could really use other people’s help in order to get what we need or perceive as our needs. We could use someone to take the kids so we can shower and eat. We could use someone to give us time to sleep in when we’ve been up all night. There’s no argument the life is easier when we have support to meet our own needs. Really, I think this all makes needs very confusing. Especially when you bring together two partners into a family into a relationship, who have different ideas. They have different upbringings different cultural views, different assumptions on what our needs, what are acceptable needs, what our needs versus wants, how to get needs met who’s responsible. How do you even ask for it?

Notice about yourself, how do you handle your needs within your relationship? How do you look to your partner to meet your needs? Or support you? Or don’t at all? How do you communicate this hour? Are you at expressing your needs? Are you clear within yourself on exactly what you need? Are you clear and communicating exactly what you need? And beyond this, are you open to having your needs met in different ways? If we’re asking someone else to do something, are we open to the way that they’re up to doing it? And ultimately, a question that we can ask ourselves too, is how are we acting and feeling when we aren’t getting what we think we need? There is a place that we get stuck in relationship, when we’re asking others to meet our needs. And we kind of think they should do it happily and willingly that there is no conflict. And if there is conflict in his conversation, something is wrong with them or with us or the situation. But the reality is our needs, we’ll bring up conflict, not just because we both have a different framework on what our needs are, and all that. But because generally, other people don’t really want the job of meeting all of our needs. Like they don’t want that. And they might not even agree with it, what we perceive as needs. And they’re living in their own heads. They’re not thinking actively about what our needs. They don’t know how to do what we want them to do, they just generally aren’t very good at that job. And I’m not saying this, to say don’t even ask, it’s not their job. I think we should ask for help, I think we should learn ways to communicate our needs. But at the end of the day, know that there’s always a chance that other people as much as they love you, they might not meet your needs, how you want them with a time you want them to do it with the attitude you want them to do it. And then what? Well, then you call me, we unpack it all. But really, then what you might not like the answer, because what is the option then, when other people don’t meet your needs? Well, then you you’re the option, you can look to you to meet your own needs. And I honor any resistance that this might bring it up in you because I get it. I think a part of this resistance is cultural, a cultural expectation about what marriage should be that we kind of think our partners should be some magical mind readers with boundless selfless love, longing to meet our needs as a human. We also might look to a framework of a relationship we see and think, Well, they’re doing it so nicely. That’s how it should look. And sometimes we do sometimes we do that for one another, right? Like, this is a really great experience. Sometimes I reach out to my husband and I show him some love in a way that I know matters to him. Sometimes I put leftovers aside for him and his lunches. Sometimes I bring him vitamins, when I know he’s not feeling great. Sometimes I bring him a coffee. But also sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I even say no to him when he asks for something. Because at the end of the day, we’re just humans stuck in our own business and our agendas and our thoughts. And we often can’t get to that place. Ironically, unless a we feel like our own needs are being met. Because then it’s so much easier to generously give and serve from that place when we feel like our needs are being met. And serving from that place where it’s kind of from this heart stance of we want to do it not the chip on the shoulder, like I always have to do everything. This is what I’m left with. It all gets left to me, this is my lot in life. What energy are you meeting the needs of other people from? Have you ever helped your kid clean their room, or maybe you’re even someone who does it for your kids, I don’t clean my kids rooms, unless it’s an extreme situation, or they’ve asked for my support, like, bring in the big guns, mom. But pay attention to what you do, what energy you’re doing that from, I have one kid in particular Whose room is a pig pen, actually, I’ve seen pig pens, I think they’re clean. And there have been times where I’m so frustrated seeing their room. And I’m like, I’m not going to be shutting the door every day, I’m going to go and clean it or we have company coming and we use that room as like the guest bed. So there I am reached cleaning muttering, they come home and I’m like, I cleaned your room. It was so much work. And this was here. And that was there. I found this thing that was lost. And you told me you never. Sometimes I do that. But then there are times where I know my kid is feeling overwhelmed. And I think their room is definitely not helping their overwhelm. In fact, it’s probably making it worse. So I’m gonna go and tidy it for them. I do it from love and a genuine desire to help them and I care about it. I don’t need them to validate my work. I just want to help them and I do it for that moment when they’re like thank you for your help

and I’m sharing this with you guys knowing that you might judge me but the reality is sometimes I’m awesome sometimes I’m not gonna listen to that. Episode on heart and awesome, you want to unpack that a little bit more. At the end of the day being in a family is going to bring up the situation of meeting needs. And it should be a conversation. And it should be a conversation that we know is gonna be hard, there’s going to be some conflict, it’s going to be inevitable because we have different opinions. And it’s the ultimately it’s going to trigger some fear in us about having this conversation. And having this conversation with ourselves is really important. Considering our own needs is very important, mainly because of how we feel when our needs are going unmet. We get frustrated, resentful, and worn out we become a martyr. So doing our own work, take time to consider these things, what we believe about our needs, how we’re trying to meet them, what’s working, what’s not, we can take power over this area of our lives, we can empower ourselves, we can feel more capable to get what we need in life. And remember, feeling capable is always better than striving for control. I’ll put an episode on that in the show notes. So this has turned into a series like I said, I want to talk about different needs that we have in motherhood, how we are relating to them some ideas on how I’ve handled them over the years. I also want to talk about those basic needs and the emotional needs, which are those more subtle ones that we have trouble with identifying and if this conversation is bringing up something in you if you’re thinking about something that you have been needing and having trouble meeting that need or likewise if you’ve gone through this process and learned something about yourself and your own needs, please let me know I want to try and incorporate that or share that here as well over the series. To do that you can message me on Instagram at simple on you can reply to me through this info Saturday’s email or you can just email me I’ll put my email in the show notes as well and you can message me there I would love to hear from you. Alright friends, have a great week.