Attending to and Expressing Our Needs in Relationships

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expressing our needs

Mara Glatzel’s book, “Needy”, addresses the importance of advocating for and expressing our needs in relationships.

Mara Glatzel, MSW is an author, intuitive coach, and podcast host who helps humans stop abandoning themselves and start reclaiming their humanity through embracing their needs and honoring their natural energy rhythms. Her superpower is saying what you need to hear when you need to hear it and she is here to help you believe in yourself as much as she believes in you. 

In this episode of Last First Date Radio:

  • Why we’re so uncomfortable with our neediness
  • The difference between the self-care we are sold and the self-care we actually need
  • The first steps to take to advocate for your needs when you’re in a relationship that has deeply ingrained expectations
  • What we can do with our “ugly” needs – the ones that we worry will be too overwhelming and burdensome for others
  • How to create a blueprint for what you need in your relationships

EP 549: Mara Glatzel – Attending to and Expressing Our Needs in Relationships

Why do you think we are so uncomfortable with our neediness?

One of the primary problems is we don’t have role models for what we need and what is possible to even ask for. Or we see women who asked for what they needed and were labeled, which can lead to abandonment or rejection.

We learned that others didn’t have space for us to have needs. Our needs were a burden. So we curate our needs to be accepted. It makes us less likely to do this in adulthood. The more we can talk about our needs in good company, the more it normalizes our needs.

What do you feel is the difference between the self-care people tell us we need and the self-care we actually need?

I have a love/hate relationship with self-care. We need care, but the self-care we’re often sold is prescriptive. Choose something off the list, and you should feel better. But, you don’t. Then you worry that self-care is a waste of time.

True self-care is responsive to “What do I need right now? And what form might that take today?” It might be breakfast. It might be meditation. Don’t put it off. It’s daily in relationship to your day, your life, yourself.

What are the first steps to take in advocating for and expressing our needs when in a relationship that has deeply ingrained expectations?

Depending on whether the relationship is warm for these conversations, we either have enough trust to have these conversations or talk about talking about it.

“I want to ask for more of what I need and I want you to do that, too. It’s a challenge I’d like to take on together.”

Or, if you’re afraid getting in touch with your needs will upset the relationship, you don’t have to do this work in your primary relationship. Have them with yourself. Meet your needs in small doable ways by yourself. The more you can communicate with yourself, the better. That’s why my book focuses most on your relationship with yourself. 

Then start in relationships where you’re most comfortable; a sibling or close friend. Be kind to yourself as you begin to advocate your needs, as it’s a skill that requires practice.

What can we do with our “ugly” needs – the ones that we worry will be too overwhelming and burdensome for others?

Begin getting in touch with the messages and asking yourself “Whose voices are those?” Acquire some data about yourself in this context. If you’ve had messages that you’re too loud, too sensitive, too smart or too anything, sit with those messages and who you became in response to them. The way we make sense of our messaging helps us to confront those feelings as an adult.

Ask yourself where and when these feelings are triggered. Where are you most hesitant to advocate for your needs? The more you know, the more you can ask yourself what you want to do differently. What you need is not a problem or too much. Expecting that one person can meet all of your needs is a problem. No one can be everything for you.

How can we create a blueprint for what we need in our relationships?

The more you’re able to know about yourself, the more you’ll know exactly what to ask for in a relationship. Make sure you’re being really clear and asking for what you need. There are nine universal needs: safety, rest, sustenance, integrity, trust, love, belonging, celebration, and sovereignty. Saying “I have a need for _____” is specific to you and your needs.

When you feel resentful or angry, ask yourself, “What did I need that I didn’t get?” Then, ask for it.

What are your final words of advice for anyone who wants to go on their last first date?

Show them exactly who you are. It can feel so scary. It doesn’t mean unloading all of your stuff. But pay attention to how you might be acquiescing and not speaking, because love will grow when you’re exactly who you are.

Watch this episode on YouTube

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