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If you don’t have a clear view of who you are as a person and you’ve become used to suppressing your needs, expectations and wishes by being passive, you will have found yourself in situations, particularly relationships, where your needs aren’t being met and you’re at conflict with your values. This gives way to potentially busting your own boundaries possibly while others are busting them too.
In order to be in a mutually fulfilling relationship, you need to have enough self-knowledge to understand what you need in in order to feel happy and authentic, as well as knowing how you want to live – your values. When you neglect to reflect on and live them, you end up lacking the self-awareness to opt into situations that are befitting of you.
Decisions will be made without understanding if if they’re a reflection of you, because without being able to go through the consideration stage of decision-making and evaluate based on self-knowledge as well as possessing the self-trust to listen to you in the first place, you haven’t got very much information to go on. To make matters worse, you may actually be seeking approval from the other party or even expecting them to fill voids and give you an identity. This puts them on a pedestal where you can end up assuming that be pleasing them and gaining validation that somehow the needs, expectations, and wishes that you don’t understand, articulate or even respect, will somehow be met by them.
When you understand your needs, you understand your values. When you recognise your values they also tell you about what you need. This is for you to work out and when you don’t, it’s why you end up feeling like something is “missing” or that you’re being neglected.
Being attracted to someone and wanting a relationship with them doesn’t mean that you’ll have a great relationship with your needs being met. When two people are willing to value themselves and meet and respect their own individual needs and values, they’ll be happiest in relationships and situations where they share common values.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship where the other person was happy as Larry with the status quo while you’ve been ‘hungry’ on a crumb diet, they’re content because from their perspective, what they feel that they need and want is being met even if from your perspective it’s not enough. If empathy isn’t their strongest suit, they’ll assume that if it’s alright with them, it’s alright with you.
When you live your life in a way that reflects and respects who you are, it’s harder to ‘wake up’ in situations being ‘surprised’ at how hungry or even malnourished you are because you seek out what you need, you recognise when it isn’t and you do the due diligence as a natural part of the process of getting to know someone.
You get a sense of this person as they unfold and you process the feedback from their actions and words (including what’s not said and done) as well as considering your experiences with them over time and then you relate it to the ‘data’ you hold on you. Whatever you’re going to continue in should resonate with your own value system. When we waver on how we feel about ourselves and don’t believe that we can go after what we deserve and even have needs in the first place, when we listen to that feedback, we can end up shutting down our concerns because we’re worried about ‘losing’ him/her and overriding our true selves with what we think that others would prefer us to be or do.
We go “Well I do need that but I have to hold it back because I don’t want to be ‘needy’…”
What you need to realise is that you have a bigger problem at hand when you’re prepared to lose yourself in your relationships. It leaves you very vulnerable with an identity that’s dependent on external validation from a specific person.
Life serves you lessons to teach you about where you need to adapt your thinking and behaviour and as I’ve said before, certain lessons will keep coming back like Michael Myers in Halloween until you’re ready to listen and apply the insights gained. Dates and relationships give you a window into positively understanding you further because when they don’t work out, there’s information in there about what values that you might not have realised you had or where you might have been at conflict with your values, and ultimately you also get some insight into what you need.
When I was ready to listen I realised that my relationship experiences weren’t some damning indictment of my worth as a person but they were telling me that I didn’t really treat me like a person of worth. I didn’t even think about values or what my needs might be and when I did, it was an afterthought when I was already feeling very invested. I needed to stop daddy hunting, I needed to be and do the things that I expected from others, I needed to be more proud of who I was instead of morphing, adapting and seeking approval.
How wonderful it would be to get it ‘right’ first time but in reality it’s trial and error and each experience if you take even a little time to positively learn from the insights gained is taking you closer to being in a relationship that’s more befitting of you.
Many people who find themselves ‘hungry’ in their relationships and recognise on some level that there’s a disconnect between what is wanted by each person go into change mode. They expect the other person to change so that their needs can be met even if aside from their needs not being met, they ultimately are at odds with their core values. It’s easy to go “I love them; they should change” or “If they loved me and wanted the relationship they’d change” but who they’d have to become would not be who they are and it still wouldn’t make you you. That’s your job.
Being self-sufficient doesn’t mean that you don’t need others but what it does mean is that you’re not deficient without others. Address your relationship with you and your relationships, romantic and otherwise will be more nourishing. Pretending that you don’t have feelings or needs is like trying to pretend that you’re not a person of any worth – that’s not an act that you should be wiling to pull off.
Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and more. Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter – @baggagereclaim .
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