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How to Satisfy Your Needs Without Being Needy

How to Satisfy Your Needs Without Being Needy

Many people avoid people who are needy and clingy. I surmise you are one of us — people who avoid them like they have communicable, deadly disease. Am I right?

I would understand why if you are. You have to prioritize fulfilling your needs before even thinking of meeting others’ needs. No need for apologies there. That’s a logical thing to do.

On a personal note — needs are needs, whether simple or not. If they’re not met, and sometimes that’s the case, you feel miserable, or at the very least, uneasy. Especially if you’re the sensitive type. You can’t work well when your needs are not met. For instance, you’re a Coke drinker like my wife, and you can’t grab a can of your elixir because the 7-Eleven branch near you ran out of cans of Coca Cola. You can’t have Coke so you can’t put out your usual performance. Your inability to get an instant sugar fix from Coke makes you needy and a poor performer.

Your need for Coke is not being met, thus your work suffers. No-brainer, correct? Wrong! It’s not as simple as it seems. Steve Pavlina can explain further. I have to clarify, though; that Steve has great points about this topic. However, with all due respect to him, I have different sentiments on some sub-topics.

Let’s check Steve Pavlina’s viewpoint on his article “How to Meet Your Needs Without Being Needy”…

On the one hand, we’re taught that we have certain needs as human beings, including survival needs (food, water, shelter, etc), emotional needs (belongingness, love), self esteem needs, etc.

Whether or not all of these concepts qualify as true needs is debatable. The idea of there being a clear hierarchy of needs, such as Maslow’s, is debatable too — and as far as I can tell, that model has been pretty well debunked. But we can probably agree that some non-essential aspects of living can preoccupy us at times, giving us the perception that these unsatisfied elements qualify as unmet needs.

On the other hand, we’re also taught that it’s undesirable to be needy or clingy, as if needy people have been afflicted with a disease that we wouldn’t want to catch.

Needs vs. Neediness

What’s the difference between having needs and being needy? It has to do with how you approach getting your needs met.

There’s nothing wrong with having needs and wanting to see them met. That’s perfectly fine and doesn’t automatically lead to neediness. What causes neediness is when the supply is scarce. This can lead to a competitive stance, whereby meeting your needs requires that someone else must necessarily have their needs unfulfilled.

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If you need water and there’s a scarcity of water, that can certainly put you in a needy situation. You may experience thirst, and when you’re in that state, you’ll go out of your way to quench that thirst. If other people want water too, but there isn’t enough to go around, the landscape becomes competitive. Someone may end up going without.

What about emotional needs? The same situation can come up. For example, if you perceive that you have a need for touch and affection, then whether you’ll experience neediness or not depends on the scarcity or abundance of people willing and able to help you meet that need.

If you perceive this supply as scarce, you’re likely to feel needy, which encourages you and others to assume a socially competitive posture.

But if you have a need and there’s an abundant supply that you can access, you’re unlikely to feel needy. You can simply go and access that supply whenever you want, and you won’t deplete the supply enough to feel that you’re in competition with others.

Accessibility

Accessibility is a key factor here. For some emotional needs, there may technically be a vast supply available, but you may find that supply inaccessible at times. Often this is due to a lack of skill or some limiting beliefs that prevent you from having full access to the resource.

Suppose you perceive a strong need for sharing touch with other people. The supply is readily available. There are billions of other people on earth, and many of them would love to share touch.

But how easily can you access this supply? Have you developed the social skills to invite people to share touch with you, such that your invitations are accepted often enough to satisfy your needs?

Also, do you have any limiting beliefs that might be getting in the way of accessing the supply of available partners? Do you feel it’s odd or problematic to invite someone to help you meet this need? Would you feel uncomfortable issuing such invitations?

Do you artificially constrain the supply, such as by holding a belief that you can only share touch with someone you’re in a committed relationship with?

Chasing and Clinging

Usually when people feel emotionally needy, there’s a ready supply of people who could help them satisfy their need with ease. The neediness is really caused by self-imposed and/or socially conditioned limitations that artificially limit the person’s ability to access that supply.

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When a person feels needy, they’ll often exhibit behaviors that can be classified as chasing and clinging.

Chasing occurs when someone perceives a potential supplier for their need, but the supplier isn’t completely willing to meet that need. But since this person doesn’t perceive many other viable options, it becomes their goal to convince, persuade, or manipulate this supplier into a position of satisfying the unmet need.

Clinging occurs when a supplier is secured, but the person still doesn’t feel they have many other good options, so they do their best to cage or trap this supplier, warding off any potential threats to the supplier relationship. The perceived difficulty of replacing the supplier incites clingy behavior.

Both of these behaviors are artifacts of a competitive scarcity mindset. Fortunately they can be overcome, sometimes by building better social skills, sometimes by overcoming limiting beliefs, and sometimes by a combo approach.

Acknowledging Your Needs

One of my emotional needs is that I need to be touched a lot. It’s not a core survival need — without touch I won’t die — but I’ve seen that I function much better physically, mentally, and emotionally when I share a lot of touch. Ideally I like to be in direct physical contact with a woman for at least an hour each day, if not several hours (such as by cuddle-sleeping together at night).

With an incompatible partner who doesn’t like to be touched so much, I could end up being very needy and clingy if we were in an exclusive relationship together. That type of relationship would bring out my worst qualities. I’d feel a sense of scarcity. I’d feel sad, frustrated, or depressed that I’m not getting my needs met very well. I might spend a lot of time talking to my partner, trying to convince her to be more touch-friendly. I might blame myself for being so needy. I might try to let go of this need. In the long run, I might become resentful towards my partner, or numb and apathetic (turning off all my emotions to avoid feeling the sadness and disappointment), or just plain helpless. If I couldn’t meet this need, it could be difficult for me to function at my best. It would feel like something important was missing from my life.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead I could go another route entirely. I could clarify, acknowledge, accept, own, and then broadcast what I desire. I could recognize that if I like sharing touch so much, and if I feel it benefits me, perhaps there are some women out there who are very much like me. And perhaps it would be really nice to connect with a woman like that. Then we could cuddle each other as much as we wanted — for hours per day if we felt like it. I’d be happy with that arrangement for sure. And if she’s like me, then she’d be happy too.

Meeting Your Needs

Now if you have a difficult need to meet, you might conclude that it’s not worth the effort. Maybe you should just do without it and try to let it go. And perhaps with some effort, you could succeed. But this could consume a lot of extra mental and emotional effort.

On the other hand, what if there’s a ready supply available? What if the main obstacles are your own limiting beliefs and lack of skill? Then you just need to overcome those blocks once, and afterwards you’ll be able to meet your need with ease, as much as you desire, whenever you desire.

That’s the approach I used to satisfy my need for touch. I tried the old route of suppressing the need, but I always found that approach lacking — and rather distracting.

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Several years ago I decided to explore the opposite approach. First, I worked on my beliefs. I was able to release my limiting beliefs about sharing touch largely by acknowledging that if I appreciate touch so much, then probably lots of other people feel this way as well. So all I really need to do is find some of those people (or make it easy for them to find me) and invite them to touch. If they feel as I do, then there shouldn’t be any problems. We share touch, such as by cuddling together. We feel good. And everyone is happy. And we can do this repeatedly as much as we want.

I can also do other things while sharing touch with someone, such as having an interesting conversation… or sleeping… or watching a movie… or holding hands while going for a walk. So I don’t necessarily have to dedicate a lot more time to meeting this need. I can simply adjust my lifestyle a bit to make touch a more integral part of it.

Then we have the skill-building aspect. First there’s the skill of inviting touch. And then there’s the skill of actually touching. Those both seemed like fun and interesting skills to further develop. I embarked on a path of developing both sets of skills.

I practiced inviting women to share touch in a variety of ways. And I got very good at this — and felt very comfortable with it. Even when I was just beginning to explore this, almost every invite resulted in a yes, which was encouraging. So my assumption that many women felt as I did turned out to be accurate. All I really needed to do was to start putting out invitations… and to let that develop into an ongoing habit.

I also practiced the skill of sharing touch, which involved trying different things to see what felt good to me and the other person — cuddle sessions, spooning, light touch, massage, sensual touching, head scratchings, kissing, etc. That was simple, easy, and fun. It was rewarding to develop more experience and confidence in making people feel good through touch… and in teaching them how to make me feel good.

I remember one time when a woman asked me what I liked, and I told her that I loved head scratchings. She then proceeded to give me a really delightful head scratching while I rested my head in her lap — for 30 minutes straight! I was totally blissed out by the end of it and thanked her profusely. She replied, “Well, you told me what you liked, so why wouldn’t I do lots of that?” I told her I wished more women were like her.

It turns out that there are indeed a lot more women like her. I just needed some time to find and connect with them.

Abundance

The result of this approach has been a feeling of abundance. Now my life is rich with sharing touch — full of hugs, cuddling, and more. If I go some days without touching, it’s normally by choice, not because I can’t access the supply of potential partners.

Meeting this need doesn’t require any chasing or clinginess. The supply of people who enjoy touch is vast enough that I can simply focus on connecting with women who already appreciate touch as much as I do. There’s never a need to try to convince someone to share touch. If I perceive any resistance to such an invitation, I let go and move on. I know I can get this need met elsewhere, so there’s no point in getting clinging with a single unwilling non-supplier.

I’ve also noticed that as I’ve become more comfortable with this approach, and as I’ve stepped into the reality where I know how to meet this need very easily, all the neediness has left me. Now I can continue to meet this need abundantly without doing much inviting at all, largely by accepting invitations from others.

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I’ve had many similar experiences with respect to shifting from scarcity to abundance. The same process plays out with financial abundance, for instance. Learn to release limiting beliefs and develop the necessary skills, and you can eventually earn more money than you need. Then you may find that after you’ve released your financial neediness, the money continues to flow with even greater ease. New opportunities start coming to you, so you don’t even have to seek them out anymore, even though you could if you wanted to.

Gratitude

When I go through the process of releasing some form of scarcity thinking and replacing it with an abundance mindset and heartset, the result is a feeling of gratitude. This helps to lock in the new reality, making it easy to maintain.

One reason I receive invitations to share touch with other people is because I no longer feel any neediness. I expect and anticipate that this need will continue to be well met henceforth, even with minimal action on my part.

Most days people spontaneously offer me hugs. Women frequently offer to cuddle with me. Or a pre-existing cuddle partner is readily available. It’s nice to be on the abundance side for sure, and I’m grateful for it — because I still remember what it was like to be on the scarcity side and how that felt.

The benefit of experiencing scarcity first and then growing into abundance is the gratitude effect. When I’m holding a woman in my arms and we’re both feeling lovey-dovey towards each other, I feel immense gratitude that I’m able to invite and receive that kind of experience. I often tell women this too. These experiences are such a gift to me. I never take them for granted. Every experience of touch is precious to me.

When your needs are well met, you can essentially release them. Eventually you stop thinking about them as needs. Your old needs transform into new sources of gratitude and fulfillment.

By adding an extra thread of gratitude in your life, while simultaneously replacing a previous thread of neediness, you can significantly upgrade your default vibe as well as your overall quality of life. I find a cuddle-rich life to be of higher quality than a cuddle-scarce life. I’ve explored both possibilities, so I speak from direct experience. Cuddle abundance feels better to me.

It can take some time to feel that you’ve completed such an upgrade (often years), but when you reach the other side at least once (financially, socially, or otherwise), I think you’ll agree that the investment is worth the time and energy required.

Where in your life are you feeling neediness or scarcity? Where do you catch yourself chasing or clinging? Are you willing to commit yourself to a long-term, two-pronged approach that includes upgrading relevant skills and releasing limiting beliefs? If so, then I expect you’ll eventually succeed. It may take a while, but those years are going to pass anyway. You might as well emerge at some point in the future with the ability to meet your needs so abundantly well that you no longer perceive them as needs. When that future time becomes your present reality, you’ll be grateful that you made such a commitment.

I’m immensely grateful to my past self for making such a commitment to inviting and sharing touch with willing partners. I wouldn’t say it was particularly difficult, but it did take a certain level of dedication to growth in this area, as well as dealing with some occasional awkward moments. In my opinion it was worth it though. I must say that I absolutely love life on the other side of this need. It’s quite rewarding to land in a country I’ve never visited before and know that even if I don’t make a conscious effort of it, my desire to share touch will be easily fulfilled by delightful, heart-centered people. It’s also nice to know that I’m helping to meet their needs as well. 

:)

    If you want to read Steve’s article in full, please click the link below.

    How to Meet Your Needs Without Being Needy | Steve Pavlina

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    Anthony Dejolde

    TV/Radio personality who educates his audience on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership.

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    Last Updated on January 15, 2021

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

    Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

    Posture

    First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

    • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
    • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
    • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
    • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

    All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

    Facial Expressions

    Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

    • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
    • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
    • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

    If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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    1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

    A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

    The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

    This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

    2. Relax Your Face

    New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

    The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

    To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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    3. Improve Your Eye Contact

    Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

    The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

    To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

    3. Smile More

    There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

    Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

    4. Hand Gestures

    Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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    It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

    5. Enhance Your Handshake

    In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

    “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

    It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

    6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

    As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

    Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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    Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

    Final Takeaways

    Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

    If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

    More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

    Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

    Reference

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