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mw editorial

normalizing the need for needs

November 15, 2021

Without needs, we could not be human. Since the beginning of time, we have needed food, water, shelter, and clothing. As humans have evolved, our needs remain an integral part of our systems and functions. Every facet of the human experience involves needing something.  Mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, and layers of individual and relational needs.


So why are we so afraid to ask for what we need when we need it? A deeply rooted fear of rejection and societal expectations can be to blame here. We want to be unconditionally loved and accepted. When a need causes friction between us and others, it can lead to heightened anxiety and depression. We experience thoughts like “should I ask for this?” or doubt with questions like “who am I to ask for something?”

It’s also possible that we’ve had people in our lives who come off as “too needy.” We tend to judge them, especially if we feel their needs are manipulative or taking advantage of us. At that same time, isn’t that person just being a louder advocate for something that they want? And why wouldn’t it be okay for you to do the same thing?


Everyone has them! And everyone should. That takes the pressure off feeling like our needs are “too much” because everyone has them. As mentioned above, different people’s needs will cause friction. This is standard and to be expected! Here are some ways to practice the idea of normalizing our needs:

  • Think about a time when someone else expressed their needs to you. How did it make you feel?
  • Write down your needs. Rank them from what would be easiest to ask for versus the most difficult.
  • Take time and space to process. You don’t always have to feel pressure to act. If you need time to grow into feeling comfortable with your needs. Take that time!


Our lives are not perfect, so our needs will not be either. However, accepting and genuinely believing in your needs allows you openness to communicate with them and space for others to process or understand what you need. If you need help expressing your needs, start small. Work through exercises to practice communication. Practice asking for something with someone that makes you feel comfortable. Practice can be an antidote to getting your needs across while learning to support the other person with whom you are trying to communicate.

Also, always remember that you are not alone! Seek support from a therapist, a trusted friend, or a family member. All of us have needs and communicate with them differently. Don’t be afraid to take up space with all of your needs, just as you are.


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