“I need help.” Three simple words have never been harder to say. Every time I consider reaching out, I am drowned by waves of doubt. I do not want to rely on others. I do not want to be vulnerable. I do not want to burden my loved ones. Those doubts and many more stop me from communicating my needs.
It is natural to want someone to talk to, intimate relationships, emotional support, or simply want a hug. We are social creatures who have a strong desire to love and be loved. Yet we live in an incredibly individualistic society, a society that values progress and does not emphasize our emotional needs.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs illustrates that we have basic, psychological, and self-fulfillment needs. In primary and secondary school, the basic needs are emphasized. We study our physiological needs (food, water, air, shelter, sleep, warmth) and safety needs. So often, our psychological needs are swept under the rug. We do not learn how to effectively communicate our needs to others. Instead, we are asked to scantron our lives.
The societal tendency to avoid communicating needs has permeated the core of our lives. We think that being functioning members of society requires us to suppress our emotions and deal with them another day. However, we continue to push our needs further and further out of our minds until our chests become bottles full of hydrogen. Instead of repressing our needs, we need to communicate them to those around us. Unfortunately, those honest conversations are rare, even with those we trust most.
I crave to reach out to those I love and tell them what I need. Every day I rehearse phrases in my head, but they never escape my lips. As my relationships with people become more intimate, I find it even harder to communicate my needs. I do not know how to reach out for the emotional support of those I love without feeling like a burden or being vulnerable.
I need to realize the people I have in my life are there for a reason. Each of us has a support system, even if it is small. It may seem daunting to communicate our needs, but is healthy and necessary. Without communication, relationships break down and our minds become overloaded. By not telling our loved ones what we need, we can build resentment towards them. We wonder why they are not supporting us in the ways that we want them to. However, they will not know how to take care of us unless we tell them how.
Instead of resisting our needs, we need to recognize them and reach out to our support systems to carry us wherever we need to go. Our loved ones want to care for us as much as we want to care for them so let them. Breathe. With each breath, become more aware of your needs and take steps to communicate those to your loved ones.