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Special Needs

Oct 112010

Last week’s blog hopefully got you thinking about your values, helping you to understand the bedrock of unique principles that guide you through life. This week, we’re going to look at another set of principles that drives our actions and behaviours, and which can lead to relationship clashes if they’re not aligned – our needs.

Of course, we all share the same basic human needs. They’re things like oxygen, food, water and sleep, the need to feel safe and secure, and to have love and belonging in our lives. Yet beyond this, there are all kinds of ‘sub-needs’ that are as individual as we are.

Our ‘sub-needs’ play a huge influence in how we connect with others, especially within intimate relationships. In figuring out what these are, we can enter into situations and relationships with greater awareness, and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls and dramas that arise when those needs aren’t met.

So, here are some broad categories designed to get you thinking about where YOU fit in. Knowing your sub-needs will help you to more clearly decide whether they’re being met, and enable you to express them to others when you need to.

Read through each list and decide which of them apply most strongly to you, within either your love relationship, or your friendship or family dynamics (where applicable!). Try and be selective and choose the top three that feel like your most important needs. It can even be useful to adapt them and make them more personal to you, writing them down as you go.

Need 1: Safety

Common sub-needs here include:

– The need to feel secure

– The need to feel connected

– The need to feel comfortable

– The need to feel peaceful

– The need to have support during hard times

– The need to feel cared for

– The need to spend time together

Need 2: Acceptance

Common sub-needs here include:

– The need to feel valued and appreciated

– The need to receive physical affection

– The need to be heard

– The need to feel understood

– The need to feel desired

– The need to feel respected

– The need to be openly vulnerable

– The need to feel strong

Need 3: Belonging

Common sub-needs here include:

– The need to enjoy shared interests

– The need to share daily life

– The need to be totally present and in the moment with another

– The need for spiritual awareness

– The need for loyalty

– The need for trust

– The need for strong communication

– The need for playfulness, laughter and joy

Need 4: Space

Common sub-needs here include:

– The need to preserve my own identity

– The need to space outside the relationship

– The need for privacy

– The need for clear boundaries

– The need to nurture individual interests

– The need for my own friendships

Need 5: Influence

Common sub-needs here include:

– The need to feel useful

– The need to feel like I matter

– The need to feel like I make a difference

– The need to help other heal

– The need to care for others

– The need to motivate others

– The need to help others change and grow

– The need to help others through hard times

– The need to create safety for others

– The need to create comfort for others

Need 6: Love

Common sub-needs here include:

– The need for touch, hugs and affection

– The need for sex, play and pleasure

– The need to give or receive unconditional love

– The need to have or surrender control

– The need to feel passionate

– The need for kindness and caring

– The need for emotional intimacy

This exercise can be a valuable tool for relationship maintenance, as you discuss with a partner, friend or family member what drives you, and work out where there’s room for improvement, compromise or greater understanding of what makes each other tick.

It’s worth spending time on, because when we have greater awareness of the needs that often subconsciously drive us, we can more clearly express and be guided by them – leading to happier, healthier, more meaningful relationships all round.

In love and light,



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