Meeting Your Needs is the Key to Happiness

 April 20, 2019

Meeting Your Needs is the Key to Happiness

Identifying Your Wants

Some people recognize wants, but not their needs, or vice versa, and may get them confused. If our wants were shamed growing up – if we were told we shouldn’t want something – we may have stopped desiring.

Some parents give children what they think they should have or make them do activities that the parent wants and not what the child would like.

Instead of pursuing our own desires, we may accommodate what other people want.

Do you resent someone for always getting his or her way, but don’t speak up and advocate for what you want? 

Make a list of your desires. Don’t restrict them by your current limitations.


Recovery means implementing the above positive needs formula. It includes fulfilling your healthy desires.

We become responsible to ourselves and develop enough self-esteem to make ourselves a priority.

First, you have to find out what you need and want. Then, value it.

Think about why it’s important.

If we don’t value a need, we won’t be motivated to meet it. If it was shamed in childhood, then we will assume that we can forego it. Many people don’t fulfill their goals or dreams because they were ridiculed growing up.

Similarly, if grief, sex, or play were shamed or discouraged, we might assume these weren’t valid needs. Next, figure out how to fill that need.

Finally, some needs require courage to stretch ourselves to meet them, such as self-expression, authenticity, independence, and setting boundaries.

Other needs are interpersonal and require courage to ask other people to meet them. We can only do this if we value ourselves and our needs and feel entitled to have them met.

It also helps to learn to be assertive. (See How To Speak Your Mind – and webinar How to Be Assertive.

Recovery takes encouragement and support from others and usually counseling, too. This may seem daunting, but start simply each day by journaling and attuning to your feelings your body.

Take the time to ask yourself what you want and need.

Start listening to and honoring yourself!

Introspect yourself so that you can recognize your needs which are the key to happiness.

© Darlene Lancer 2019


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Written by Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT

Originally appeared on

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Meeting Your Needs is the Key to Happiness


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