Being needy has a negative connotation, and that label can have a harmful effect by making us hesitate to ask for help or to take care of ourselves.
Instead of neediness, let’s look at it as seeking to meet an unmet need. We can trace virtually all our feelings and behaviors back to whether our basic needs are met or unmet.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication offers a list you can use to inventory your unmet needs. They’re grouped into seven major categories. It’s no secret that relationships are key to happiness and health, and how much they impact just about every aspect of our lives. So it’s not surprising that needs around connection are at the top, and that this need has the longest list of examples.
|companionship||water||celebration of life|
|to know and be known||equality||purpose|
|to see and be seen||harmony||self-expression|
|to understand and||inspiration||stimulation|
|be understood||order||to matter|
Assessing whether you have an unmet need takes the emotionality out of it. For example, you notice that you’re feeling really cranky, and you’ve been snapping at people all day. If you can take a step back and look over this list of needs, you’ll likely see where you’re lacking. Maybe you need more sleep, or to spend time on a hobby you enjoy.
Sometimes we need help from others to meet certain needs, like scheduling a walk-and-talk with a good friend. We also might need help to identify our most pressing unmet needs and how they relate to our challenges. There is support available.
So before you berate yourself or judge someone else for being needy, consider the true meaning of need, and the universal quest to have these basic needs met. Have compassion for yourself and others as we all try to achieve this state of wholeness.