FEARThere’s lots of talk about “getting your needs met.” Heads nod as a list of needs gets reeled off including happiness, peace of mind, abundance, the ability to do what you are here to do and so on. Besides the fact that these aren’t needs nor wants but vague terms that are more feelings than anything factual, most people don’t work towards getting their needs met. Instead they focus on what is most pressing to them, getting their fears met.

Needs and fears can work in tandem. Fear tries to keep us from harm by aligning with our need for warmth, shelter, food, water, and rest to name just of the few essentials. Not having one of more of these causes fear which gets us in gear to solve the problem, thereby meeting both our need and our fear. But beyond survival there are other things we need. Each of us as individuals has things they need in order to live a good life. These aren’t usually extravagant, aren’t necessarily expensive, but they are necessary and without them we suffer. Some people need quiet time to be introverted, to switch off or switch on, to just be without limit or restraint.  Some people need the richness of social interaction, lots of it as often as possible. Others need to have one goal and dedicate themselves to it until it’s reached. Some people need to have the freedom to work on several projects all at the same time. Still others need to be able to work on something, put it down, and come back to it months or even years later.  There are those who need to be out in nature and others that need to be inside a book or a computer or a game. There are those who need to be moving and those who need to sit still.

All of these are actual needs, not wishes, tendencies, wants or habits. Unfortunately most of us are terrible at even recognizing them let alone getting them met. We focus on dealing with the fears as needs. We even make up fears, projecting into the future what could happen that could end our life as we know it and then act as if this were actually happening in order to stave it off. We live in the noisy screaming of our fears so we can’t hear our needs trying to get our attention. We relegate them to the off moments when we are so exhausted from all our doing that we absolutely have to stop. Then we use them as a band-aid and hurry back to getting our fears met.  If we could stop listening quite so much to our fears, step back from their panic and Defcon 5 saber-rattling, we might notice that getting our actual needs met, being attuned to who we are, what makes us happy, and what we actually do best meets our fears just as well. With the added benefit that we stop being afraid and gift ourselves the ability to fully live. That’s a two-fer worth considering.