As part of our genetic make-up, we are born with a set of physical and emotional needs. This innate knowledge will be experienced throughout our life as feelings. These feelings are the driving force that motivates us to fulfill our needs. This biological inheritance or inbuilt patterns have been programmed into our genes to ensure our survival by encouraging us to connect to the external world and to other people in a great variety of different social groupings.
When our needs are satisfied our brain will trigger the release of chemicals giving us a feeling of happiness and contentment, and, when they are not satisfied, we are left with a feeling of distress, anger and frustration. For our mental health it is important to identify our emotional needs and to satisfy them just like we do for our physical needs like hunger and thirst.
Each person is unique and while share most of the needs, they differ in their strengths, just as some of us need more water, more food or more sleep.
I started being aware of emotional needs while recognizing patterns in different arguments with F. They all started with very small things but they happened to all be related to the same fundamental emotional needs.
By meeting our emotional needs we ensure healthy behaviors. If you strive for a harmonious and healthy relationship it also make sense to learn to meet you partner´s most important needs. Of course we are not responsible for their needs and we should not enter into a relationship searching to fulfill those needs, nevertheless we should be concerned with our partner´s well-being. This make even more sense as the way our partner make us feel will influence our action towards them. The relationship can be seen as an opportunity to turn frustration into growth.
By communicating clearly our needs to our partner, we can save a lot of energy spent in negative emotions and frustration. The first step would be to identify your needs, then to make a list on how they can be fulfilled with clear examples and finally communicating them to your partner. You can find here a useful questionnaire to help you go through the two steps. Emotional needs – questionnaire