Do you feel like your needs are not being met? Do you even know what they are? You may feel like you are constantly caring for others, but not yourself. And no one is taking care of you. If so, keep reading.
If your needs are not being met, it is your responsibility to change that. Please read that first sentence again. It is vital to your well-being. Too often we place our needs in the hands of others, and then wonder why they are not being met. Because that person is not responsible for your needs. They have their own to worry about. The old “you can’t pour from an empty cup” thing comes into play here. People have to meet their own needs before being able to help someone else.
Don’t get upset with me. I am not saying that our partners or family or whomever don’t play a part in meeting our needs. They absolutely have a contributing role. I am simply stating that they are not wholly responsible for ensuring they are met. That’s on you. There are some steps you can take to make meeting them more attainable. I’m also providing a super simple tracking log for you to list your needs and determine what is working, what isn’t, and why.
Establish what they are.
Often the hardest part of getting what we need accomplished is being able to identify what exactly that is. Sometimes the need conflicts with what we think we want. We think of all the fun, exciting activities we can go do and may think that’s what we need to be happy. But then you end up only getting six hours of sleep a night and everything else in your life starts to suffer. There is only so much time in the day. You only have so much energy to exert on things that are not essential to survival.
Learning to prioritize will help you establish what your actual needs are. Go through all of your commitments and determine which are for your basic survival, which are essential to the lifestyle you want (work, family, etc.), and which are there for your enjoyment/entertainment purposes. Determine how much time each takes and how that fits in your life, then list them in order of priority. This will help you start to figure out what you need and what you can sprinkle in when you have the time/energy/resources so you don’t drain yourself.
Remember when you are prioritizing your needs to focus on YOU, not only on your family. Keep them in mind, especially if you have small children who depend on you, but this is just to keep your specific needs in focus. You can add their needs in after yours are determined.
Once you know what you need, express your needs to others who may be able to assist somehow in meeting them. Or at least so they know that you will be taking the steps to meet your needs. Communication is key to overcoming obstacles in your way. People may not realize they are creating obstacles for you if you never tell them. Quietly fuming is not going to get you where you want to be.
If you need 30 minutes a day to work out, let your spouse know this, and ask if they can find time to pick up a task. Offer a trade so they can also meet a need of theirs. This is how others come into play with meeting your needs. But ultimately if people will not make it easier for you, you still have to figure out how to meet them yourself. If it is important, get creative and find a way.
Make sure you have a clear, direct explanation of what exactly you are needing and how you are hoping to make it happen. Being vague makes what you need seem unimportant. People are more likely to get on board if you lay out what you need from them specifically. If you come to me and say “I need some alone time”, I am probably going to say okay and not think of it again. But if you come to me and say “on Thursday morning I am going to start taking a yoga class. Would you be able to take the kids to daycare that day please?”; now I know what I need to do to actually assist.
Make time, not excuses.
We all know there is never enough time. But we have got to use the time we do have wisely. Make a schedule and stick to it the best that you can. Schedules make the chaos more manageable. I know some people hate living their life by a schedule, but those free spirits of the world probably aren’t reading this either. Map out your non-negotiable commitments and that will show you what time you have to meet your other needs.
If something has to be cancelled. So be it. Some commitments take a lot of time, but contribute very little to your life. Maybe you signed up for something because a friend wanted to, but you aren’t really into it. It’s wonderful you wanted to be a good friend, but you may need to have a talk and explain that you need that time for you now. Make the time for the true needs.
Excuses are very easy to come up with. But excuses are the reason we get stuck feeling like we are the only ones not getting what we need in life. Excuses allow us to have pity on ourselves instead of taking control. Don’t fall into that trap. I know I have, but when I stop the excuses I always end up much happier.
I have created an easy little log for you to get your needs out in writing to determine what they are and where you stand on getting them met. Just click on the “Needs Log” link below. Use it or make your own system so you can track what is happening, and take the steps to get where you need to be. Be specific with your need. Also be specific with how you met it, or why you didn’t. Don’t just say “no time”. What exactly blocked your time? Was it a necessity? This will help you start to make a better plan for yourself.
Remember that you are responsible for your own happiness, and you are beyond capable of taking care of that!
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