How to Meet Your Own Emotional Needs

Forget what perfect IG shots are showing:

Self-care is much more than Netflix & sheet masks.

Sometimes, it’s about loving yourself.

And sometimes, it’s about giving yourself exactly what you want.

Yes, I know no one talks about this but hear me out:

A vital part of self-care is knowing how to satisfy your emotional cravings.

It feels good to know how to meet your own emotional needs – without pointing fingers at others. It took me a while to understand this myself: no one can give you what you want until you first learn how to give it to yourself.

Let’s get started!

Follow with me here to learn more about what are the basic emotional needs and what you can do to learn how to meet them yourself!

What are the basic emotional needs?

Okay, so let’s explain a few things before digging deeper here.

You’ve probably heard by now of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – that’s basically a pyramid showing the basic human physiological and emotional needs.

On the bottom, you have survival needs like food, warmth, and shelter – and on the top you have self-actualization stuff.

When all of your needs are being met, you’re beaming – you’re happy and satisfied and content. And when they’re not – well, you know what happens. You just don’t feel good – and you go around feeling empty.

Now, we won’t go deep on Maslow here.

What caught my attention was the work of Maslow’s research psychologists that divided the basic emotional needs into further 9 separate needs that explain the pyramid even better.

So according to that finding, there are nine emotional needs: security, volition, attention, emotional connection, connection to the community, privacy, a sense of status, a sense of achievement, and life meaning.

I know what you’re thinking now.

Why are you telling us this, Bernadette? Just give us what we want and we’re out of here.

Well – that. That’s the exact reason I’m telling you this.

If you want to really – but really – meet your emotional needs, you have to dig a bit deeper under the surface.

Forget all about instant gratification, you’re not doing yourself a favor with it. I’m not the one to tell you to only take a bubble bath if you’ve been feeling down for weeks now.

Instead, take the time to understand how emotions work – and what’s the need hiding behind every emotion.

Now it’s the right time to get to know yourself a bit better. *you might be pleasantly surprised by what you learn!*

And I’m here to help you with that – here are the exact same questions I use whenever I feel like my emotional needs aren’t being met.

Ready to give yourself what you want?

Here are 4 questions to help you meet your own emotional needs.

1. What are you feeling?

You know, back at the time when I was younger, I’d often say that I feel sad. My mom would keep asking me what’s wrong and I’d brush her off – I honestly had no idea what to say.

It took me years to learn that you don’t feel sad just because. Actually, you don’t feel any emotion just because. There’s always something lurking behind – and that’s what I want you to identify.

Get to the bottom of your feelings.

Think about it – you may be sad because you’re simply withholding too much anger.

You may be distant with others when you’re just hurt. You may feel out of place when you’re simply just scared.

All of those emotions are valid – but only when you know the true emotion, you move on to fill the void.

2. Why are you feeling that way?

Once you’ve managed to identify the right emotion you’re feeling, now it’s time to look for the why.

Human beings don’t really possess the power to experience a wide range of emotions without a specific reason. *that’s why happiness is a choice*

Determine the trigger. What made you feel like that? Since when do you feel what you feel?

It’s okay – don’t worry about that reason being lame or stupid. You don’t even have to tell anyone. Your feelings are real regardless!

It took me a while to come to the bottom of this but the reason for my depression – and just general feelings of melancholia and sadness – was the grudge I held for my father for leaving us.

I would’ve never been able to make the connection between depression and anger if I didn’t make the conscious effort to do so!

3. What basic needs of yours are not being met?

Remember those emotional needs we were talking about?

Well, think of emotion as indicators. Each time a basic emotional need is NOT being met, a switch goes off – and you feel bad.

Think of it this way: any negative emotion you experience is simply a pointer as to which areas of your life you need to pay attention to.

Again, for me – this really isn’t about me guys, I’m just using myself as a canvas to make it easier for you to understand! – I was angry because my dad abandoning us violated a lot of my emotional needs.

I was lacking security, attention and craving emotional connection with my family. Of course that made me angry – duh!

4. What can you do to give yourself what you lack?

It took ages to realize that one of the best things I could do for myself is become self-reliant.

See, the thing is, people believe being self-reliant means having to give up on connecting with others – and that’s simply not true. People are social creatures and belonging to a group is just another one of our basic needs.

Being self-sufficient is simply being aware of the things you’re longing for – emotionally – and then doing something to fill up that void.

You don’t rely on other people to make you feel complete – or put most simply, you create your own happiness. Trust me, ain’t no greater gift you can give yourself.

Do you struggle to identify your own emotions and emotional needs? How do you give yourself what you want emotionally? Do you have any other tips to share with the community?

Share with me in the comments and let me know!