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I am not an island: Interdependence.

Updated: Mar 11

"Be the change you wish to see in the world"

-Mahatma Gandhi




To fully meet "my needs", both my personal needs and the primary needs of those around me must be met. Everyone's needs matter.


We are all interdependent on one another and our choices as human beings impact one another. If my personal needs are met but the needs I am holding with care for others are not met, my needs are not met overall.


Here are some questions I have been considering:

-How do I depend on others to get my needs met?

-What are ways that my actions impact others and society's needs?

-How can I hold everyone's needs with care?

-What if my current needs and those of another make it difficult to find a solution that meets both needs?


For example:

If I have a need for space to tap into my creative juices one evening and my husband had a hard day is wanting affection and nurturing, if I were to tell him, "Sorry babe, I really need to go into the other room and focus so I can create some good content tonight." This strategy would meet my need for space and creativity I am desiring at that moment, however, it would not meet my need to hold his needs with care and my additional deeper needs intimacy and closeness with my husband.


Although I may have high-priority particular needs/wants at the moment, I also have many other deeper needs. One of the biggest being the care and consideration of others' needs as well.


Although I may have high-priority particular needs/wants at the moment, I also have many other needs. One of the biggest being the care and consideration of others' needs as well.

In this example, if I disregarded his need for some affection and nurturing after his difficult day in order to meet my primary needs at that moment, that would break the connection between us. He would likely grow to resent me.


Now, what if I saw myself "giving in to his needs" for affection and nurturing and disregarding my needs? In that case, I would most likely feel resentful.


So what to do?

I take a moment to self-connect. In my mind, this is what I'm saying, "Yes, I was really wanting to be alone tonight and focus to get this content created. I also really value closeness and intimacy with my husband. If I try to get my need met for space and creativity tonight, I may risk not meeting my need for closeness and intimacy. Additionally, I would not be holding his needs with much care. For me, I'm going to choose to meet my needs for space and creativity tomorrow and meet my needs for closeness, intimacy, connection, and care for his needs this evening."


This is NOT so much about "compromising"...This is about tapping into my own feelings and needs and considering the other person's feelings and needs in order to find a strategy to meet as many of the needs as possible. Compromising is both of us losing and winning a little. That is NOT the goal. This still tends to lead to resentment.


This is NOT so much about "compromising"...This is about tapping into my own feelings and needs and considering the other person's feelings and needs in order to find a strategy to meet as many of the needs as possible.
Compromising is both of us losing and winning a little. That is NOT the goal. This still tends to lead to resentment.

By taking these moments to connect with ourselves and our own needs, we are more available to then consider and care for the other person's needs.


Now, there will be situations in which this is more challenging than others. From my own experience, this seems to be much more difficult for me when I don't have a strong connection to the other person or group of people. I had this occur in an intensive non-violent communication (NVC) course I took.


Now, there will be situations in which this is more challenging than others. From my own experience, this seems to be much more difficult for me when I don't have a strong connection to the other person or group of people.

We were in these 10-hour all-day retreats via Zoom two days in a row and the instructor had given the group some group agreements/rules that I was really struggling to adhere to. I was really desiring more choice and freedom around when I would eat during the day as well as when I needed rest on these long days. I brought up my feelings and needs around this and the instructor and some other group members really had some strong needs around the commitment to the group agreements set forth at the beginning of the program, uncomfortableness around eating while on Zoom due to wanting everyone to be fully present, and the full participation the whole retreat.


This was super challenging for me to hold the instructor and some other group members' needs with care when I felt upset because I was perceiving that my needs were not being held with care. When we came to the best strategy that we could come up with, I still felt shafted and resentful because it to me, it felt more like a compromise than a genuine solution to meet all needs present. The solution was: if I am starving, I can briefly turn off my Zoom camera and eat quickly and if I need rest, I can talk to the group about it to assess the impact on them and then take some rest off camera. For me, this still didn't meet my full need for choice and freedom. I didn't want to have to hear the impact of taking a rest break every time I needed one and I wanted the choice to eat for however long I need without it being on an emergency-only basis.


When we came to the best strategy that we could come up with, I still felt shafted and resentful because it to me, it felt more like a compromise than a genuine solution to meet all needs present.

So, what I learned from this situation is that I find it much easier to hold all needs with care when I am actually in a closer relationship with the other person or party. I found this situation with my NVC course-mates hard because I had never met them in person and did not have a very close relationship with them. Maybe as time goes on, situations like these will become easier for me to hold others' needs with care when I'm not very close with them. I'm a work in progress...





Two or more person activity:


Conflict:

There is a tree on the property line between two neighbors. it is large and provides a lot of shade. One neighbor wants to plant a garden in the area near the tree. It is the only space there is room and would require trimming the branches. The other neighbor wants the tree and the shade to remain intact. Each person or group meets separately to process.


Questions:

  1. What needs are you holding that relate to you personally and your desired outcome?

  2. What needs are you holding that relate to the process, other people, or the world?

  3. Choose a strategy that is at the obvious cost of others' needs. How does this impact you? How does this impact the other?

  4. Choose a strategy that is at the cost of your needs. How does that impact you? How does it impact the other?


Resolution:

Come together and try your strategies above and see how they land, feel, and impact all parties.


Work together to find a strategy that meets the most needs possible.




I'd love to hear your thoughts! Please share below in the comments!

xo-Erika

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