We all have emotional needs. No one, not even the most independent, can expect to go through life without needs being met. Emotional needs are feelings, words, or conditions we all must have to feel happy, fulfilled, and at peace.
In our world of hustle and bustle, social media “friendships” and unlimited texting, our basic relational needs of feeling supported, feeling seen, feeling sufficient, and feeling secure can be left unmet. Without them, we may feel frustrated, hurt, depressed, or dissatisfied. And…I don’t need to remind you that especially in this time of Covid our emotional needs (and those of others around us) should be front and center!
The 4 Ss
There are four basic needs that often come up in conversations with many of my coaching clients. I call them the 4 Ss.
They are the need to feel supported, seen, sufficient, and secure.
- Supported. We all have responsibilities, challenges, anxieties, our inner critical voice, and a whole host of other things that can weigh us down. It’s important that we have people in our life to cheer us on, to believe in us, to calm us down when we feel anxious. Without this we can feel isolated and overloaded.
- Seen. Contrary to what we heard on the long-running TV sitcom, Cheers, everyone does not know our name. Being acknowledged as a person is very important. Everyone needs to know that what they say, do, or the very fact that they’re alive is important to somebody and that they are valuable. Our virtual world (internet, social media,Zoom, texting) does not meet the need for human touch, eye contact, or physically spending time with someone. Our “friends” on social media do not replace human conversations.
- Sufficient. Social media…Insta-life and Fakebook…can make us believe that others are perfect and lead a charmed life while we are imperfect and live a messed up life. Feeling good about ourselves and being confident that we are enough is important. If not, we may fall into the habit of comparing ourselves to others or trying to be someone we’re not. In the midst of trying to prove our worth we’ll forget our uniqueness and how wonderful we are.
- Secure. I’ve never met a single person who doesn’t want to feel secure. “Security” can take many forms. This may mean feeling secure in sharing our feelings with others, feeling secure when it comes to our physical safety, feeling secure in the boundaries we set with people.
It’s Audit Time
Let’s do an emotional audit on the way we feel and the way we make others feel.
- Do you have someone “in your corner”? (supported)
- Do people “have your back”? (supported)
- Do you cheer others on? (supported)
- Do you feel understood? (seen)
- Do you tell others how much they mean to you? (seen)
- How do you feel about yourself? (sufficient)
- Do you recognize your uniqueness and individuality? (sufficient)
- Do you compliment others on their gifts and talents? (sufficient)
- Can you share your feelings with others (secure)
- Are you confident that the boundaries you have set with others will not be compromised? (security)
- Do you assure your loved ones that they are safe physically and emotionally with you? (security)
Using your answers as a launching pad, decide to connect with people in a way that fills their emotional needs. Now, more than ever, in these “covid times” we need to support, edify and affirm each other.
While you’re at it, tell your circle of family and friends about any needs in your life that are lacking and how they can help. Get vulnerable. This is not the time to be silent. People won’t know what you need until you tell them.
Wishing you all good health!