How can I meet my own needs?
It’s not their problem to solve or their need to meet. It’s yours.
When I find myself wanting someone else to do something for me, especially when it’s related to some emotional need (attention, validation, love, acceptance, compassion, etc.) that I want them to meet for me, I have a question that always helps me sort myself out: “If _________ was not part of your life, how would you meet your own needs right now?”
This can be applied to parents, partners/spouses, friends, and even coworkers.
We often pass off the responsibility to meet our emotional needs to all sorts of people around us, even those that we don’t have a meaningful personal relationship with, like colleagues or strangers on the internet.
This never really works, of course, but in the absence of a better plan, we often keep trying and trying and trying even though it seems like other people keep failing us.
And fail us they do, and always will.
And that’s okay – they are janky, messy humans just like us.
They will never be able to flawlessly read our minds and have all the emotional skills and abilities and bandwidth and desire to immediately meet our long and highly nuanced list of needs. So, what then?
Do it yourself. It’s your job anyway.
Yes, it feels really good to have your best friend or partner do or say exactly the right thing at the right time, but ultimately, the responsibility to feel love, acceptance, validation, esteem, respect, and compassion rests squarely on your own shoulders.
This lesson has taken me 40 years to learn about halfway as well as I need to learn it, but I’m getting there.
This stuff is bloody hard work, but the better I get at validating and self-soothing and taking responsibility for all my own needs, the less hurt and frustrated I am when people around me don’t respond the way I would prefer.
So next time you feel resentful or rejected by someone, ask yourself how you could meet your own needs, and then… go do that.