piemancer: (gneiss)
[personal profile] piemancer posting in [community profile] giraffesanctuary
Before people encounter the NVC idea of "need," they have these notions of what having a need conveys. They might think a person with needs is: week, needy, deficient, dependent, vulnerable, shameful, selfish.

 

 

Needs are a window into your soul. Everything a person does or says is an attempt to meet a need. They’re never doing it to piss you off.  Even if they're tragic strategies that motivate others to not meet their needs, folks are always doing something with the goal of reflecting their values.

 

You don’t need the word need. You need that energy where you recognize that this is a thing everyone agrees makes life more wonderful. Call it something else, if you like.

 

In my Nonviolent Communication world, I can define a need as "a universal quality which, when experienced, enriches life."

 

A need can be as urgent as air, or as delayable as sexual expression. Both are needs. Also,things like community, excitement, purpose, relaxation, inspiration, belonging, honesty, trust, liberty and order are needs. Everybody has them to different degrees (you bet my roommate's need for order is less pressing than mine, but he has one. Mine is just more central to my being, more core), and everybody can delay them a little. When they're missing from our lives for too long,  things get yucky.

 

I think of wants as the strategies I use to meet my needs. So, like, I need stimulation, but I want the thing that stimulates me. Say, a new book. I don't need a new book, but the book is a strategy for getting my need for stimulation met. 

 

I don't want to go to church, but that would meet my need for community. Instead of doing something I don't want to do to meet that need, I do something I do want, like go scuba diving and chatting with all the other divers on the seashore.

 

I think the kicker is to be uncompromising about your needs (I need food, and there's no denying it), but flexible about the strategies you use to meet the need (peaches, spaghetti, tuna, salad, burritos, or sushi. Or all of them!).

 

 

Date: 2012-07-11 05:25 am (UTC)
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
From: [personal profile] sonia
This was very helpful to read, thank you. I liked "... things get yucky." And wants vs. needs. And the implicit permission to have needs.

I noticed a belief that expressing a need is being controlling, because I'm ... well, it makes sense in my head. Forcing people to acknowledge the need and manipulating them into meeting it? I don't know. Interesting to drag that out into the light.

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August 2012

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