Understanding your needs is the true path to knowing yourself

What is it that you need? This isn't a flippant question.

When I was first introduced to the idea of identifying my ‘needs’, I thought it was a bit of foregone conclusion. Surely I had everything I could possibly need? A roof over my head, loving family, food to eat, air to breathe, water to drink.


At the foundation we all have these basic needs that need to be satisfied in order to survive. So when I was encouraged to go beyond that and consider what I needed to be at my best, I didn’t really know what this meant. We dismiss the idea of addressing our needs all too quickly because we may have the basics covered. But spending the time to do just that was a game changer for me.


I’m conscious not to talk about ‘needs’ and ‘values’ and assume you know what I’m talking about. These things are frequently used terms and it can feel like we should know what they mean. I knew these terms but I didn’t know what or how they impacted my life.


Learning more about them has made such a difference to me, how I live and how I understand myself.

For me, I recognised that I needed calm in life to be grounded. This wasn’t something I simply wanted. I saw how much better I was when I had a peaceful environment (inside and out). When I didn’t have this, I would become tense, stressed, I would feel frantic and short tempered. It spiralled into frantic eating habits, conversations and irrational decision-making. Creating calm in all areas of life is something I need to maintain my best self.


I noticed that in situations where I wasn’t being listened to, I felt frustration and this turned into self-doubt. Deeper than the need to be listened to, was the need to be heard. To feel that my opinion was valid and acknowledged. That my voice counted.


So how can you start to identify your needs?

> Think about a time or situation you felt angry or frustrated or where you were doing something you were not particularly proud of. What was going on at that time? Behind that emotion is likely to be a need that isn’t being met.

> These are not shoulds, or wants. These are things that need to be in balance for you to live with ease.

> Think about how you think, feel, act and behave when that need isn’t being met.

> What is different when you are getting that need met? How do you think, feel, act and behave then?


You may not connect with all of yours straight away but beginning to bring awareness to those situations when you get tense, angry or frustrated will help identify a need that isn't being met. You may recognise yours as:

  • A need to be accepted

  • A need to be respected

  • A need to achieve

  • A need to be loved

  • A need to be praised

  • A need to influence

  • A need for order

  • A need to organise

  • A need to lead

Whatever yours are, they are important for you to be your best and to find an ease in life.


When one is not being met, ask yourself ‘what can I do here to satisfy this need?’.

Gemma Brown Coaching

Gemma Brown is a certified coach working with people to navigate successfully through transitions - be it career, relationships or life in general. Her belief is that when we confidently bring our whole selves to all areas of life, anything is possible. Transitions exist in both our personal and business life, and so often, the two fiercely overlap. Coaching with Gemma focuses on you as a whole, enabling you to identify your strengths, build confidence and to live a life with increased purpose and direction. Gemma is based in Cambridgeshire and carries out face to face coaching in the area as well as 1-2-1 coaching via Skype and Zoom. For more about Gemma, visit her 'About' page or contact her directly.

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