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Needs Are Stupid?

by Scott Swain

Include needs
Many are under the impression that they are disconnected and alone. Others believe aliens are watching them. We probably can't help the ones aliens find so interesting. But, if you feel alone, there is hope.
The language of our culture encourages separateness. It begins with being discouraged from knowing ourselves. We are constantly telling each other how to feel. "You must be so proud!" "Show Gramma how much you love her!" "How dare you say such a rude thing!?"  
But, let's say we ask a person how they are doing and they can at least identify their feelings. "I'm OK." "I'm frustrated." "I pooped in my pants." "I miss my puppy."
But, ask what need is not getting met and you will probably get a blank stare along with, "Are you going to eat the last slice of that pizza?"
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We often even confuse what a need actually is. I'm talking needs as in respect, connection, security, and choice. They typically correspond to values. Check out this list to get a more clear idea of what we mean by "needs".
In every day communication (with ourselves and others), rather than seeing needs, we may identify "strategies" (usually actions) that we believe will change our situation or address our needs. We call these strategies "things I need to do", thus the temptation to skip the real need by responding with something like, "I need you to kiss my cheek and call me Gypsy Buttercup." The need in that situation is actually for connection and/or reassurance.
The problem with jumping straight from feelings to strategies by skipping needs is that true understanding, practice of needs recognition, and a chance at attaining empathy, are lost. So we walk around in a fog, bumping into each other, making small talk, farting out of our mouths, trading information, and even solving problems, but, we are only scratching the surface of our mirrors. We still feel misunderstood and alone. 

Believe this supercute puppy
It doesn't have to be that way. 
Every person has the power right now to contribute to strengthening and spreading the "glue" that connects us all. That glue is empathy. You start with yourself, learning new things about your favorite person, dusting off important parts of your inner self that you forgot exist. Also, it helps to floss after every meal.

That empathy stuff sounds tasty. How do I get some?
It isn't necessarily easy to just "instantly have more empathy" or "instantly show more empathy". Unless you send me money. But, there are tools that make it easy to "build your empathy muscle". One such tool is Nonviolent Communication (NVC) by Marshall Rosenberg. Note: Empathy and sympathy and different.

What happens when you increase the strength of your "empathy muscle" via use of NVC?
(1) You get better at identifying your own values, feelings, and needs. This leads to a greater understanding of self, which is the key to understanding others. And, better sex.

(2) Practice of authenticity and courage. This leads to increased trust, deeper interactions, stronger connections, and getting more of what you want in life. Including better sex.
(3) You are practicing and spreading acceptance of people having different values! This leads to more peace in your life. Which could lead to more sex with dolphins.

Three Asian Guys In Lab Coats approved
(4) You will be "right" more often. Moral judgements are the same as pronouncing a "universal truth". For example: "You are selfish!" is a moral judgement and the response, "Oh? You obviously didn't know I contributed five years of my life building a school in Albania for Kids So Retarded They Aren't On Facebook. The screwed up kids in that village love me and would grunt and squeak in harsh disagreement with your evaluation of me." There is always another point of view. No man or group of men is qualified to judge you. Only you truly know your worth. In bed.
(5) You increase your sense of personal responsibility by thinking/saying, "I have a personal distaste for Transvestite Midget Clowns and I accept them." instead of "Wearing Elvis masks with luxurious blonde wigs, lingerie, and roller skates is wrong because other people think so." A byproduct of taking responsibility is that you are increasing your power potential. Which may make sex better, especially in a zero gravity environment.

(6) Being an example, you contribute to overall peace in the world. People who deeply understand themselves tend to automatically feel compassion for others and are not easy to dominate! A strong and compassionate nature stands out. People will notice and want this for themselves. Which could potentially increase the chances they might possibly consider thinking about inviting you into their beds.

Gee golly! How do I get started?
You can learn NVC in five minutes and it takes a lifetime to master. Start by getting the book Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. Then read it. Then read it again. Also, check out some of the animations and other articles on this site, meaning the site you are on right now. Oh and pass this on. When you spread the word about hot dolphin sex empathy, you are changing the world for the better.

 Contact Scott Swain for mediation and Emotional Intelligence Tools training for business, love, and parenting.