How to Meet Needs: Do You Manipulate?
Do you manipulate? No of course you don’t, or wait. Yes, you do. All the time. We all do. Why, you ask? When we can’t meet our needs because we don’t think we deserve them, we start to manipulate.
This is how:
Each of us has our own pattern. We have been forced to create some of these patterns as a sort of survival mechanism. This behavior protected us, kept us from feeling bad, unimportant, unloved, unincluded. From not belonging.
Take this example. When you were a kid, you took your brother’s teddy bear. It was so soft and cuddly and you just couldn’t resist. Your mom told you to give the teddy bear back to your brother. You felt sad, unworthy of the cuddly bear. Why is it his and not yours? So not fair. You just don’t understand why you’re being punished. You only understand that you did something wrong. Maybe you only perceive it in terms of your brother being loved at this moment and you not. It doesn’t feel good, and you want more than anything to win back that love. How?
Maybe you do something nice. Maybe you start screaming. Maybe you sneak off on your own or blame your brother. Maybe you turn to your dad. You test the waters, trying to figure out how to win back that love you’re longing for. Finally, whatever you do that brings you that feeling of love becomes the outline for a pattern of behavior. A pattern you’ll perfect throughout your life. Your uniquely created pattern is actually holding you down.
This behavior does have its benefits.
Say you got sad, started crying, and your mom consoled you. You learned that when others feel sorry for you, you get love. Hurrah! When you’re all grown up, you turn to this strategy to win love – now only on a subconscious, unaware level. You learned that love comes your way when others feel sorry for you. You become a victim whenever you need to be loved.
Our hardwired behavior came along in the first place to protect us, help us, and benefit us. The benefits? Love, belonging, attention, worth. Kind of like survival skills. Once we reach adulthood, this behavior stands in our way. It keeps us from the very love and belonging we are so hell-bent on having. And really need to be alive.
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
– Jim Morrison
Beyond all this protection, on the other side of all these survival mechanisms, there lives the vulnerable, sensitive, infinitely incredible you. That you that you’ve unconsciously worked your entire life to protect. Once we learn that there is nothing to protect, once we’re safe and sound in ourselves and truly understand that we don’t need all that much protection between us, all that previous behavior disappears. It just slides right off into the soil beneath us. That’s when we begin to feel frail and fragile and even weird and really, really human. That’s when we are authentic. We become clearer, straighter, warmer, more accessible, more respectful, more loved, more recognized and acknowledged, more cared for, and all that more understood. For who we really are. For real.
That makes us human. Easy to like, love, and connect with. Protection = distance = solitude = yuck. Vulnerable = lovable = gorgeous = yum.
Alright, alright. Tell me how to change my behavior. How can I release all the crap standing in my way? How can I practice vulnerability? What does it all mean?
What once protected you is now hurting you. We’ve got the tools to train your self-awareness, self-perspective and self-acceptance muscle. The one that kicks bad behavior to the curb and says yes, please, to a really good life.
Exercise – How to meet your needs.
IMAGINE you’re going on a date. Write down the questions you are curious about.
What food do you like?
What is your favorite dish?
What is your best child memory?
What do you seek in love?
What is your dream work?
What do you value in friendship?
And so on.
Now close your eyes.
Picture yourself as a teenager.
Tell her or him that you would love to get to know her or him a little.
That you would like to date her or him for a couple a weeks.
Then ask her or him the questions above.
The answers will be more and more clear.
After a while you will feel seen, accepted, validated, guided and loved.
All the neglected needs from childhood will start to dissolve.
Try this every or every second day for a month and you will learn to counsel yourself. You can go deeper and deeper with time. You will get to know yourself, detect your true self, learn to listen to what’s important to you, what you need and want. You will learn to care for yourself. And most importantly you will give yourself time, love and your precious presence.
This is Self-love!
Read more about how to meet your needs here.
This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are the writer’s own.