‘And’ not ‘Or’ with Emotional Needs

Most parents and leaders honorably shift their consideration from what they need to what their children and followers need. During family experiences, a parent will often consider the emotional needs of her/his children over her/his own. So she/he may spend Christmas, for example, making sure that everyone else is getting what they need. (For some parents and leaders, this ties into a limiting belief system originating from their family of origin in which they put the needs of their family members ahead of their own in order to be accepted.)

So we are left with two extreme options: being selfish or being a martyr. That is, focusing on my needs (at others' expense) or focusing on the needs of everybody else (at my expense). It is typically viewed as an either/or. Do I consider my needs or those of everybody else?

But why not make it an 'and'. That is, consider my needs and those of everybody else?

I call this encompassing or taking into consideration everyone involved. It might go like this: "So, what does my oldest child emotionally need this holiday season? How about my youngest child, mother, father, husband/wife, brother, and sister? And... what do I need this holiday season?"

So you include yourself in the consideration of everyone involved. You view yourself as another family member that needs to get their emotional needs met so she/he can function and be happy.

All human beings have emotional needs that need to get met in order for them to thrive and continue to give to other people. There are no exceptions.

So my suggestion is to figure out what you (the parent or leader) needs, and then figure that into the mix. You may be surprised how easy it is to add one more person’s needs in for consideration.

You just have to get over that the one more person is you.

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