One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to treat your personal and emotional needs as if they were optional. They are not. They must be fulfilled in order for you to be your best. Deny or ignore them long enough and they will not only run your life, but also have the potential to ruin it, whether or not you are consciously aware of your emotional needs. And you can’t call yourself ‘emotionally intelligent’ if you don’t even know what your top four personal and emotional needs are!
The late psychologist and researcher, Abraham Maslow, describes the process of growth as a hierarchy of need fulfillment and development. First we must satisfy our physical needs (e.g., clothing, food, shelter, and safety). Next, we start scouting around for our emotional needs (e.g., to be appreciated, loved, understood, part of a community). Finally, we arrive at the highest level of human growth: identifying our values and peak experiences (e.g., creating, learning, playing, having adventures, leading, designing).
To find your top four personal and emotional needs take the free Emotional Index Quiz.
I’ll assume that you’ve handled basic survival (take the free stress quiz here to see how well you actually have). Now you may be wondering why you still aren’t satisfied.
Satisfaction comes from emotional needs fulfillment. Knowing what your needs are and how to fulfill them will help you become much more powerful and effective, not to mention irresistibly attractive, in your personal and business relationships. This makes sense when you consider the fact that any form of “neediness” is inherently repellent. We run from those who are needy. The reverse is equally true. We are always more attracted to the person who doesn’t need us. Think about it. Do you want to go into the restaurant without a single customer, or would you prefer to wait in that long line for the restaurant that is jam-packed? We instinctively think that the restaurant that doesn’t need our business has to be fabulous. This goes for relationships as well.
A Few Common Myths about Emotional Needs
1. “It’s Bad, Weak or Unattractive to Have Needs” vs. The Truth: To Need is Human
This is a really important distinction: having needs and being needy are not the same things. While it can be unattractive to have unfulfilled needs, having needs in itself is not a negative trait. All humans have needs. Those who appear confident—as if they don’t have needs—are simply better at getting their needs fulfilled. Once fulfilled, needs seem to “disappear.” The problem is that most people have very vague, fuzzy notions about what they need, making it difficult for them to then satisfy their own needs effectively. (The cure for that is to take the free Emotional Index Quiz and get a list of your top four needs).
2. “Asking for It Ruins It” vs. The Truth: If You Don’t Ask You May be Waiting a Long, Long Time
Many people believe that if they ask someone else to fulfill their needs, they will spoil the pleasure of met needs. The logic is that if you have to ask for what you want then receiving it will be unsatisfying. It is like knowing what your holiday presents are before you open them. That simply isn’t true. But you may not believe me until you try it. The truth is that your mate or partner can’t read your mind. So if you aren’t specific and clear, then they may never meet your needs! What’s worse, most people can’t articulate their top four needs. So how on earth can they ask someone else to satisfy them? (You, of course, have taken the quiz and can now articulate your top four needs. Congratulations!)
3. “Real Men Don’t Have Needs” vs. The Truth: Men Have Just as Many Needs as Women Do
Needs aren’t inherently masculine or feminine. Some men have the need to be adored. Some women have the need to be in control. Culturally, we grant women the “right” to have more needs than men. And we assume that men shouldn’t have needs. Or we let them have two—the need to be loved and to love and the need to be in control—but that is it. The truth is that men have needs just as women do. The more bold and direct men are about asking for what they want, the more attractive they appear and become.
The good news is that everyone has needs. Everyone can benefit from knowing what their own needs are and how to satisfy them. It is much easier to satisfy your needs if you know exactly what they are. If you can’t jot down your top four personal and emotional needs right now, then how can you claim you’re emotionally intelligent? Not to worry. You can easily identify your own needs by taking the free Emotional Index Quiz here. The next step is to start asking others to satisfy your needs. Soon, you’ll be on your way to enhanced personal and business relationships.
On Raising Your Emotional IQ Instantly
If you haven’t already taken the free Emotional Index Quiz, you can do so right here and it is absolutely free.
Who should take this quiz?
Anyone who can’t answer this simple question: What are your top four personal and emotional needs? And, even if you think you can answer it, you may find that the quiz gives you a more accurate answer, revealing what you truly need as opposed to what you think you need.
Why is it important to know what your needs are?
If you don’t know what you need, then you may be coming across as “needy” without knowing it. Or you may feel a vague discontent or dissatisfaction with life and not know why. Once our needs are fulfilled, we usually feel satisfied and content. All human beings have needs (e.g., to be loved, appreciated, accepted, to be heard, in control, independent/free, to be right). The key is figuring out which needs are yours.
Raise your own emotional intelligence instantly by identifying your needs with the free Emotional Index Quiz.
More on Raising Your Emotional IQ Instantly
Now that you have identified your top four needs…
If you took the free Emotional Index Quiz, then you have identified your top four personal and emotional needs. Congratulations! You are now more emotionally intelligent than the vast majority of the population. Good for you!
The next step is to start setting up systems in your life to fulfill those needs so completely that they effectively disappear.
This is how you eliminate any vestiges of neediness, which we know is unattractive. For example, one of my top four needs is to be cherished. One of the “systems” I have in place to fulfill this need automatically is that I have a house cleaner come once a week. When I come in and find the house immaculate without having lifted a finger, I feel cherished. It is a simple way to satisfy this basic need.
Another automatic system that I have set up is a weekly massage. The therapist comes to the house and gives me a massage. Then I can go right to sleep afterwards. Heavenly! I also have asked my loved ones to cherish me by telling me what they love about me. And guess what? It works! All hail the old adage: “Ask and it is given!” Now all my closest friends and family know what I need. They fulfill my need to be cherished without me having to ask. It just took a bit of effort to ask the very first time.
To start the needs satisfaction process, ask five people who love and care about you to fulfill one of those top four needs. This may be difficult until you get over any feelings of squeamishness or embarrassment. It gets much easier when you realize it isn’t the big deal you were making it out to be. Yes, the people who love and care about you, really do want to meet your needs.
If you want a full explanation of personal and emotional needs, you may want to read, The Secret Laws of Attraction: The Effortless Way to Get the Relationship You Want.
It has a full description of exactly what to do to meet the top twenty most commonly found personal and emotional needs. This may help you if you are struggling to think of what to ask people to do or say to satisfy your needs.
Q&A With Talane On Emotional Intelligence
Q: How can you tell if you have accurately assessed your own personal and emotional needs? I have already taken the quiz and I don’t disagree with my results, but I suspect that several sets of needs would resonate. How can I tell that these are really the most significant?
A: The Emotional Index Quiz is an organic quiz, but quite accurate (thousands of people have taken it over the years) so you can trust that you have indeed selected your four top needs. While you may have additional personal or emotional needs, focusing on these four first is a great way to get started.
A good way to check accuracy is to ask a spouse or family member who knows you well if they think these needs are yours. Remember, as you learn to satisfy your top 4 needs, you’ll be acquiring the skills to satisfy ALL your needs so don’t worry too much about other unmet needs that are lurking about below the surface. As you work on your top 4, you’ll be satisfying other needs as well. It is like bowling, if you knock down the king pin of needs, you’ll be taking down some other pins with it.
Q: How are you suggesting that it is possible to not have needs in business, when there is always a need to drive revenue, growth and profit in order to produce a performance that sustains one’s position?
A: I would consider the needs in business you mention above as ‘survival’ needs which are higher on the chain of priorities, much like our human need for food ranks first before our emotional needs. However, my comment that you should try not to get your needs fulfilled at work was so that you would come across well and not appear in any way desperate or needy at work. Ideally, you should get a need to be appreciated, for example, met at home so that if you don’t get much appreciation at work, you don’t get grouchy or irritable.
One of the common needs that can create problems at work is the need for independence or freedom. You might have been working along just fine and then a new boss takes over and he is a micro-manager. All of the sudden you feel like he is breathing down your neck and doesn’t trust you to do a good job. This can create conflict and tension as you might try to get out from under the control, which causes the boss to then get even worse because his need for control isn’t getting met. In such a situation, the solution is to try to satisfy your manager’s need first, and as you build up trust, you’ll then be able to get more independence down the road.
Once a person’s need is fulfilled, it tends to disappear. You’ll find that as your boss feels in control, he will be more willing to let you have more freedom and telecommute, etc. The key is fulfilling your boss’s needs first. Then you’ll be in a better position to say, “I do my best work when not closely supervised. Would you be willing to let me telecommute one day a week as an experiment and see how it goes for a month or two?”
Q: Other than “I’m sure you’re not aware…”, what are other options for informing those in your life about your needs?
A: When informing people about your needs, you can come right out with it. It is actually very refreshing when someone is direct and specific about what they need. If you have the need for respect and get annoyed when someone comes in late because it feels disrespectful, then it becomes a boundary issue. You can let people know up front what you need by stating it. “I’m a real stickler for time so I’d appreciate if you all show up early or on time for our meetings.”
Then, if someone does come in late, you move into the 4-Step Communication Model for enforcing your boundaries and start with step 1. Inform. Try, “Do you realize…?” This is very gracious and works in almost every situation (e.g., “Do you realize you are fifteen minutes late?”, “Do you realize you have raised your voice?”). Of course, let them take the exit you have provided. If your tardy friend says, “So sorry I didn’t realize the time,” take the opportunity to reinforce the respect you want by saying, “Of course, I know you value my time.” It’s a very gracious response and the friend is now on notice that they had better show up on time next time. If they don’t, raise it to the next level and request, “I ask that when you meet me, you show up on time.”
Q: What if you find yourself having your four top needs unfulfilled at the same time? How do you go about your life with such an emotional and personal void without moments of frustration, anger, sadness, etc? (Consider I’ve taken your quiz)
A: Ha! Join the rest of the world! Most people have no clue about their emotional needs and often have more than four unfulfilled needs running rampant. The good news is that you can turn this around in the space of one week. To do so, put in place boundaries and start your automatic needs satisfaction sprinkler system by asking 5 people to meet your needs. It is easier than you realize once you get over the initial discomfort, awkwardness or fear of asking friends and family to fulfill your needs. Most people do feel uncomfortable asking the first few times and then they quickly get used to it and wonder what the fuss was about.
A complete explanation of boundaries and our personal and emotional needs along with examples of how to satisfy the 21 most common needs is available in The Secret Laws of Attraction: The Effortless Way to Get the Relationship You Want by Talane Miedaner (McGraw-Hill).