Needs can be defined as a condition or situation in which something is required or wanted. Needs therefore depend on our wishes and perceptions of what we deserve and what we should or can ask of ourselves and others, in different situations.
There are different types of needs:
Internal needs depend on our own decisions.
External needs depend on others and are not influenced by our direct actions.
Examples for internal needs:
- I need my own space
- I need to think good about myself even if someone doesn’t like me
- I need some spare time every week to feel balanced
Examples for external needs:
- I need to be loved
- I need to be accepted and respected by my classmates
- I need to spend time with my friends
Why does it help us if we are able to differentiate our internal and external needs?
Internal needs usually fully depend on our own decisions. It can improve our quality of life if we are aware of what we are able to do for ourselves, to feel better, to feel more balanced in our life. For example, if you know that you feel better when you have time on your own, plan this for yourself.
External needs do not fully depend on us. For example, if you need to spend a lot of time with your girlfriend or boyfriend to feel better and they don’t feel that way or are not able to spend a lot of time with you, how would you feel about this? We cannot control external needs, however we can communicate how we feel about them.
For example, if you feel that you need some space on your own, let others know, they cannot read your thoughts!
Needs can be seen as negotiable and non-negotiable.
Non-negotiable needs just involve yourself. You set your own standards of what is ok or not ok. You are in control of fulfilling these needs.
Examples for non-negotiable needs:
- I need to decide who I want to spend my spare time with
- I need to decide who I want to be in a relationship with
- I need to decide what I want to share on my social media platforms
Negotiable needs involve other people, who may or may not be able to fulfil your needs.
Examples for negotiable needs:
- I need my friends to always be available when I want to spend
time with them
- I need my partner to always pick up the phone when I call
- I like a boy/girl and I need him/her to like me back
Based on the examples, think about if you can bring more examples for internal/external needs and negotiable/non-negotiable needs.
This can help you think through what you are able to do for yourself to support you. No one is able to find out your needs if you are not communicating them.