FINDING YOUR NEEDS UNDER YOUR JUDGMENTS

 

Ryan:  Early in this class I shared about yelling at my mom to get off the phone so I could use it.  Not only did she not get off the phone, but she also did not want to be more considerate of my needs for the phone in the future because I was not considerate of her needs for respect. 

 

When we learned about needs under all judgments, I looked for my judgment which was that she was inconsiderate.  My underlying need was for connection with my friends on the phone, so I felt sad and frustrated when it wasn’t happening.  I thought about her needs and realized she has a new boyfriend and wanted connection, too.  Finally, I talked with her in an honest and polite way, which allowed us to come up with a solution—that we would let each other know when we were planning to use the phone and for how long. 

 

Kate:  The other day while I was parallel parking, I accidentally ran into a snow bank (this would be the stimulus.)  Running into the snow bank caused me to think critically to myself, “I am so dumb for not being able to park correctly.”  However, I then thought about the feelings and needs behind my critical thought in order to gain a better understanding of why I had the critical thought.  I determined that I felt angry and upset, and that my need was to keep my car and me safe.  By recognizing the needs and feelings behind my critical thought, I was able to feel less guilt and shame for my action and in the future, I will be better able to understand myself in similar situations.

 

It is time to bring out that collection of judgments and evaluations you have been saving up.  I hope by now you are noticing your critical thoughts of others and finding more skill in holding them to yourself.  And I hope you are viewing your self-criticism with more equanimity also.  Judgments are a direct route to an essential piece of information—what is going on inside?  What needs are not being met in your life?  What deep hunger do you have for things to be different? 

 

 

I do not respect myself for judging others.  I pity myself for all the places I fail royally.  And you want us to look at all this?  Yukko!

 

I know it might seem painful to become more aware of other-blaming and self-blaming statements, but I assure you they are useful to explore.  Self-hating and self-pitying freezes the situation and makes it temporarily unworkable.  It is a crisis of the imagination, an assumption that there are no options to meet your needs.  When you isolate the feelings and then notice the unmet needs they point to, you may find feelings like “discouraged” and “despairing” because you are hungry for “movement,” “change,” maybe “support.”  To be in touch with that hunger, that need, unfreezes your thinking and invites you to start considering strategies to meet those needs. 

 

Increasing your awareness of what needs are alive for you today is a vital, life-giving skill.  In the next chapter, we will work on more strategies for meeting your needs.  It starts with awareness.

 

Look for any judgments, “should thinking” that has been in your mind recently.  The amount and ways of criticism we have for others is usually closely related to the amount of criticism and ways we have for ourselves.  As I did not stop harshly judging myself until in my mid 30s and am only recently finding more beauty inside, I am guessing most people will be able to find some examples.

FINDING PEARLS IN OYSTERS:  Can you find any judgments in your thinking?”  (If not, make some up.)  Then turn them into observations, feelings, and needs.  Examples are drawn from above quotations by Ryan and Kate.

 

Judgment:

My mother is inconsiderate.

 

Judgment:

I am so dumb.

Observations:

My mother refused to get off the phone.

Observations:

I ran my car into the snow bank.

Feelings:

sad, frustrated

Feelings:

angry, upset

Needs:

connection with my friends

Needs:

safety

 

 

Judgment:

 

Judgment:

 

Observations:

 

Observations:

 

Feelings:

 

Feelings:

 

Needs:

 

Needs:

 

 

 

Judgment:

 

Judgment:

 

Observations:

 

Observations:

 

Feelings:

 

Feelings:

 

Needs:

 

Needs:

 

 

 

Judgment:

 

Judgment:

 

Observations:

 

Observations:

 

Feelings:

 

Feelings:

 

Needs:

 

Needs:

 

 

 

Judgment:

 

Judgment:

 

Observations:

 

Observations:

 

Feelings:

 

Feelings:

 

Needs:

 

Needs: