“Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2)
In my 30’s I’ve discovered just how true this scripture is. Especially when it comes to friendships and relationships. There came a point when I found myself with a lot of unmet needs over the course of five years mainly because I did not express what my needs were. I expected for people to guess them. I assumed if they loved me they should know what I need. But how could they know my needs if I never expressed them? That right there was a huge part of the issue. I rarely expressed my needs, and when I did it was ‘to late’. By that point I didn’t even know if those were my actual needs or if the conversations I was having were fueled by resentment or and hurt. Knowing yourself, and your needs is beneficial to all parties.
“Sometimes it’s tough to own what’s going on inside us. But the more we can clearly and accurately identify our thoughts, feelings, and needs, the better chance we will have of allowing another person to truly know us.” Danny Silk- Loving on purpose
If we’re being honest, it took me awhile to discover what my needs were. I’ve discovered that my needs have changed with time. So it is to my advantage to consistently sit down and ask myself “What do I need?”, ” What do I want” in my daily journaling. Sometimes honestly I don’t know and thats okay. Sometimes we are so overrun with emotions we’re to exhausted. The point though is to take time to address these questions to avoid confusion, hurt, and resentment.
When you express your needs to those around you, you’re empowering them to be able to love you well.
You’re also establishing your worth. You’re setting the standard for what you need. So when those needs are not met you’re able to re-assess and decide where to go, instead of staying silent, and expecting people to guess what your needs are. (Passive aggressive doesn’t work in case you were wondering 😉 Not only that, you’re going to find yourself in a lot of unnecessary pain if you just leave it up to people to guess. No one can read your mind and assuming people know is a dangerous path to walk. Being honest and open with yourself and those around is the most empowering thing you can do for you mind and heart. You are giving those around you tools.
Sharing your needs with those around you does not make you selfish. If those people truly care about you, they already want to know how to help you, how to love you well. Because our needs can change from season to season sharing them with those closest to you only enables them. It does not make you a selfish person to be continually sharing with them your needs.
In the hustle and bustle of life I understand can be hard to take time to sit down and assess what exactly it is that we need. I *try* and ask my close friends weekly how I can be there for them, what they need. Especially my mommy friends. Some days its a miracle if we get out of our pajamas or remember to eat breakfast let alone assess the state of our hearts. If I know their hearts are too exhausted to share what their needs are I do my best to do the last thing they shared with me that they need. Its my way of showing “I heard you when you shared your heart with me, and this is me showing me you’re worth those things”. This could be a coffee, flowers, babysitting for free, a couple words of affirmations, a snail mail letter…The list goes on. Might I add, I do these things out of free love without expecting anything in return. This is not “you scratch my back, ill scratch your back” situation. Thats not how love works 😉
Sharing your needs with those around you enables and empowers everyone involved.
So I would encourage you today to sit down and ask yourself. What do I need? What do I want? Being honest with yourself will enable you to be honest with others in communicating your needs. Write them out, and keep doing this each week especially if you don’t know what your needs are. Start looking at what things are on your list everyday or every week. Then start sharing those needs with those around you. More than anything being aware of your own needs is vital to any friendship or relationship.