Whilst out on a walk today, I saw a dog wearing this ‘I need space’ vest. I immediately thought, wow, wouldn’t it be great if we had vests like that for humans! Clearly the owner has taken responsibility for the dog expressing his needs here but how often do we clearly communicate our own? Are we even consciously aware of what we do need? Are our own needs even important or are we always putting others needs ahead of our own?

I thought it would be useful to share some thought provoking questions and techniques to help you become aware of your own needs.  

Step 1 – Spot the early warning signs

What are the physical signs that are indicating you have a need that is not being fulfilled?  

Some examples could be; lack of energy, headaches, aching muscles, hunger cravings, changes in sleep patterns, shortness of breath, digestion issues 

What are the behaviours you, or others around you are seeing that are out of character?

Examples could be; Snappy or short tempered, tearful, struggling to get out of bed, rolling or massaging your shoulders, eating more refined carbs or sugar, drinking more coffee or alcohol 

Step 2 – Identify the unmet need

What is the emotion behind this behaviour?

Examples could be; frustration, sadness, guilt, grief, worry, fear

If the emotion is not obvious to you, it may help to take some quiet time out and pay attention to what your body is telling you. Tune into your breath – what do you notice? Are you taking shallow or full breaths? Are they even? Do you feel your breath more in your chest, back, belly? Briefly scan your body from head to toe – what physical sensations do you notice? Is there tension in certain parts of your body? Where? How does it feel?  

If you give yourself this time and space to tune into your body, often the emotion will bubble up and you’ll be able to label it. This in turn can hep you to identify the need that is not being met.  

Examples of needs:

To be: Loved, cherished, accepted, included, respected, free, thanked, valued

To have: clarity, insight, guarantees, frankness, certainty, safety, honesty, forthrightness, forgiveness

Step 3 – Get the need met

How important is it that you get this need met? Be honest with yourself, now that you’ve identified it can you just let it go? If you let it go now, is it likely to come up again? What is the right thing to do?  

If you do wish to get this need met, you can explore the choices available to you. There will likely be many options so give yourself the time and space to consider all options and choose the best option for you.  
Need further support?

I hope you’ve found that helpful. If you feel you would value some more support in identifying and getting your needs met, some 1:1 coaching could be an option for you. Feel free to get in touch via my ‘contact’ page for a FREE exploratory session. 

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