Need. People throw around this word all the time.
I need… You need to… I may need…. Do you think I need….?
Sometimes it is innocuous enough–when we don’t mean it literally and the person we are talking to knows this–but other times it means a great deal. This, I think, is where it can be dangerous. So I have tried consciously to remove it from my vocabulary.
A Question of Need
Did you ever stop to wonder what we are saying when we use it? “Need” is a definitive term. When we say it we start to believe the truth of what comes after it. I need to buy that. He needs help. I need to go. I need to talk to you. This is a huge problem. If we need something, it means we are inadequate or incapable the way we are, by definition. No wiggle room.
I need to talk to you, or else.
Or else what?
‘Or else’ is not an option I need to talk to you, period.
“Need” more describes what we want rather than a necessity for survival. In essence, we’ve eliminated any alternative option (even if it is subconsciously) since we chose what we want, and so we have created that choice to be the only one available. For example, I need to go to the funeral, means you would consider no other choice besides going since you want to be there, are available, and/or feel like you should. So when we express our choices using the word “need,” we create whatever it is as a locked-in-definitive. And forget we have had a choice in the matter. This can be disempowering and is the source of a great deal of stress in our lives.
When we think in terms of need, we lose track of our agency. (That we are an agent in our life, can affect our world with our responses, and that we have choices.) I am not suggesting not going to the funeral. You can still chose want you “needed” (wanted, chose), but notice it is your choice. When we see our choice, we feel empowered, rather than disempowered.
When we don’t see our choice we feel a bit out of control of our lives. As if, we don’t have access to something other people have. Something is missing, or absent. When we see our choice, we feel robust, energized, and perhaps even more willing, which translates into less anxiety and stress. (Always a good thing!)
Question Need: Try this
Try to catch yourself when you use the word “need” for the next few days. Notice how often we utter it.
See if you can substitute a more fitting, empowered word. I want to, I have decided to, You can, She would like, I will try, He can benefit from, etc. Observe and notice your relationship to those things changing. See if your stress level changes.
We need to heal the negative effects of the word “need.” Oops! (Maybe if I put quotes around it, I am not really using it.)
Seriously, what do you people think?
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