80/20 Rule for Emotional Needs
For as long as I can remember, I have looked to other people to meet my needs for acceptance, love, and support.
When I was a child, my parents didn’t have the emotional capacities that little Dallas so badly wanted them to have, and I left childhood with the sensation of emotional impoverishment.
As I got older, I took that hunger out into the world. I’ll let you guess how well that worked out.
The important point here is not that I didn’t get what I needed from my parents in childhood, it is that I did not learn how to provide that acceptance, love, and support to myself as I became an adult.
As you can imagine, I sometimes showed up in the world as a 6’4” man with the demeanour of a selfish 5 year-old.
I’m sorry to… everyone.
And as we learn, we do it differently. I read in a book somewhere, sometime, that we should be able to meet 80% of our own emotional needs.
That means that even if we are in a relationship, we should still be doing most of the work to make ourselves feel loved, validated, respected, and supported.
If we do the best job we can to meet our own needs, and we are single or in a partnership where our partner can’t show up for us very well, it’s no problem, because we’re still getting 80% of our needs met. A totally adequate amount.
And if our partner can do an excellent job of understanding and meeting our needs, then things move from good to great.
I need a reminder to focus on doing my own work sometimes, hence the note to myself on my hand.
To me, that 80/20 is a reminder to focus more on learning to love and accept and validate myself, rather than trying to find those things out of there in the world somewhere.
The more I do that, the better things get.
What do you do to meet your own emotional needs? To be happy on your own? To validate yourself and your work? I’m interested in hearing ideas.