Identify Your Needs
1. Write a need for a specific person or type of person. (General)
2. What sort of things would that person have to do or not to do to meet this need? Use the phrase “I need you to” or “I need you not to.” (Intermediate)
3. Clarify these needs further by specifying requirements such as how, when, how often, and so forth. (Concrete)
4. Is each of these needs appropriate to the type of relationship?
5. Is each of these needs doable by a person in her position?
6. Which of the four categories do each of these needs fall under?
7. Which of the three zones do each fall under?
Listing Your Needs
Now that you understand the basics of identifying your needs, it’s time to start listing them systematically. You might want to work out your needs for the most significant person in your life first. Or you could choose someone who isn’t so important to you so that the task won’t seem as daunting. You’ll want to write your needs for every significant person or type of relationship (spouse, colleague, friend, and so forth) in your life soon anyway.
Writing needs, rather than just thinking about them, is very important because it gives a strong message to your brain that you deserve to have them. Also, having a written record means no one can forget them (it’s amazing how many people “lose” their needs lists because of unconscious resistance). Don’t forget that you can always refine and add to your needs lists over time.
Keep your needs as short and to the point as possible, without explanations or excuses. Later you may choose to discuss them with the recipient in more depth, but not now.
Write ten needs under each of the following categories for someone in your life:
1. Physical safety
2. Emotional security
Make a note of the zone applicable to each need (green, orange, red).
If you have any doubts or confusion about your written needs, you might want to check them with someone. This could be a friend or therapist, but it should not be the potential recipient. Don’t ask whether she thinks these are really your needs.
That’s up to you. Tell her what type of person the need is for and what category it falls under. Then ask these questions: Can she understand the need (is it concrete)?
Is it appropriate to the relationship? Is it doable by someone in that type of relationship, not necessarily the specific person you plan to give it to?
Tell the person giving you feedback that you want to be sure you have asked for actions and not feelings. Ask her also to check that you haven’t slipped in any “to-do” lists for yourself instead of focusing on what you require from the other person. Request that she point out any apologetic asides or lengthy explanations.
As you read on and clarify your needs, you are beginning to create new neural networks in your brain, stimulating it to come up with fresh and more functional options and solutions in other areas as well. You are doing well! On to the next step.
Source Credits: Creating Optimism: A Proven, 7-Step Program for Overcoming Depression, Based on the popular Uplift program, written by Bob Murray Ph. D., and Alicia Fortinberry, published by Mcgraw-Hill