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Our needs vs our wants and contentment

Old 02-21-2017, 06:40 AM
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Our needs vs our wants and contentment

I recently had a discussion about what the difference is between a want and a need with someone in program. She believes that the only thing we actually 'need' is food, shelter, clothing, and income to provide those things for ourselves. Everything else to her is a 'want'.

I've been in my head a lot, as usual. Thinking about my current relationship and basically throwing my bf under the bus all the time because he hasn't been affectionate lately, or because he didn't do this/that or didn't respond to me in a way that I wanted, etc.......

We were listening to the radio yesterday and a song came on that was titled, "If you were a better man", and he says, "You know I hate songs like this. Listen to the lyrics....." then he says, "How about stop wanting your partner to be someone different and focusing on yourself and how you could be a better woman?" Now, LOL, I know he wasn't talking to me, he was just commenting about the theme of the song but I get his point.

We all like to point the finger at the other person and blame them for our problems: I'm not getting enough from my partner, I need more of this or more of that, I want more freedom....oh wait, nope, I want more closeness, I feel taken advantage of, I don't feel loved, I need......

All of those statements are 'I' statements. I think my question is, "When do we find contentment? When does serenity come for us?"

I know the answers for myself. But, I wanted to open up the discussion to others. For me.....I need to do as my bf said and put the focus on myself. Take care of me and the things that I can control. When I feel disconnected from him, it might not be anything other than the fact that that he's dealing with something with his kids that he hasn't shared with me or maybe I'm the one creating distance without realizing it? When I need more from someone, I have the responsibility to ask for it and not build resentments for unspoken requests.

I also remind myself of recent past events that proved otherwise to my negative thought patterns in my mind. When I complain that my man is not as physically there as usual, I remind myself that just last week he and I had a very intimate conversation about some emotional pain I was experiencing and how he was loving and supportive and kind and he WAS physically there for me. Or, how this is the same man who invited all my friends over as a surprise because he knew I needed my girlfriends.

And, then, I remind myself that relationships aren't tit for tat. Just because I gave in this way or that and the other person didn't, doesn't mean the relationship is lopsided or bad or wrong. It means finding acceptance for the other person and how they show love differently than you do.

Contentment and peace come from acceptance and taking care of YOU. For all of us, I know there's variations to this, but I find it important for me to take the focus off the other person and place it back on me and my program and what I can do to make life more enjoyable. My partner is not there to make me happy. Only I can do that for myself.
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Old 02-21-2017, 06:52 AM
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I think you hit it on the head. Partners are people, too. With their own wants and needs. I don't think you'll find any two people on the planet who perfectly satisfy the other's wants and needs at the precise moment they are desired, a hundred percent of the time.

Probably why I'm happier single, lol.
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Old 02-21-2017, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
I recently had a discussion about what the difference is between a want and a need with someone in program. She believes that the only thing we actually 'need' is food, shelter, clothing, and income to provide those things for ourselves. Everything else to her is a 'want'.
Nice post Lizatola.

I don't agree with your friend as I think we all need some kind of relationship or tribe. Of course there are some hermits but those kind of folks are rare. I'm single which I feel makes me more reliant on family and friends. I suppose I'm arguing the, "Man does not live by bread alone" angle.

I'd also add some kind of exercise in there as without movement you aren't going to be very healthy for very long. Often exercise programs have a disclaimer saying that you should see a doctor before participating. I think there should really be statements saying that if you haven't done any exercise in over a week you should see an exercise instructor.

I'm rambling a bit here.
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekindalways View Post
Nice post Lizatola.

I don't agree with your friend as I think we all need some kind of relationship or tribe. Of course there are some hermits but those kind of folks are rare. I'm single which I feel makes me more reliant on family and friends. I suppose I'm arguing the, "Man does not live by bread alone" angle.

I'd also add some kind of exercise in there as without movement you aren't going to be very healthy for very long. Often exercise programs have a disclaimer saying that you should see a doctor before participating. I think there should really be statements saying that if you haven't done any exercise in over a week you should see an exercise instructor.

I'm rambling a bit here.
FWIW, I don't agree with her either. I was just opening up a discussion.

And, yes, exercise is definitely key to a better outlook on life but I'm biased as I used to be a group exercise instructor and also taught yoga for 5 years, lol!
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
I think you hit it on the head. Partners are people, too. With their own wants and needs. I don't think you'll find any two people on the planet who perfectly satisfy the other's wants and needs at the precise moment they are desired, a hundred percent of the time.

Probably why I'm happier single, lol.
This. Me too Lexie LOL.
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
I need to do as my bf said and put the focus on myself. Take care of me and the things that I can control. When I feel disconnected from him, it might not be anything other than the fact that that he's dealing with something with his kids that he hasn't shared with me or maybe I'm the one creating distance without realizing it? When I need more from someone, I have the responsibility to ask for it and not build resentments for unspoken requests.
Well said. I can't count anymore how many times I thought I made a request, but he didn't perceive my intent/meaning behind it, or even moreso, the unspoken EXPECTATIONS that I place(d) on my RAH, all before/during/after alcoholism. I am so eager to build that wall of resentment, and as of late, I've noticed that while he's finding his serenity, I'M the only one stewing and suffering with those feelings. So of course (like the irrational codie I am), I get even madder at him for invalidating my frustrations. It's a FUN cycle (sarcasm intended).

I'm working on it. I'm working on me. Slowly, it's not perfect, and it's hard, but slowly, it's happening.

From Feb 20th ODAAT in Al-Anon (*this resonated with my current struggles*): "I [seek] the enlightenment to make my detachment loving, not cruel. Let it not be a wall between us, but a bond of mutual respect for one another's individuality."
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:31 AM
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Food, shelter, clothing are basic needs. There's a hierarchy of needs that include friendly relationships. What happens in orphanage when all a child gets is food and clothing?
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Old 02-21-2017, 11:58 AM
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I think expectations screw up more relationships than practically anything else. The more I accept that other people are as flawed as I am the happier I am. But it's a process (my least favorite word).
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Old 02-22-2017, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by NYCDoglvr View Post
I think expectations screw up more relationships than practically anything else. The more I accept that other people are as flawed as I am the happier I am. But it's a process (my least favorite word).
AMEN!
It's hard for me because I am a judging person by nature. It's very hard for me to step back and just let people be. I can let them be and not say anything or overlook things, but in my mind I'm sitting there judging and making a mess of them and of our relationship in my thoughts. Drives me crazy, lol.

But, hey, there's always room for progress.....dang, there's that word again!
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Old 02-22-2017, 05:11 PM
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Foods and vitamins are often labeled with the phrase, 'minimum daily requirement'. I often wonder what a list of humans' 'minimum daily requirement' would look like in terms of affection, community, intellectual activity, relaxation, exercise, and many other needs/wants of human beings.

When something isn't quite right in my life or I'm stressed I can watch my mind looking for someone to blame. As I don't have a partner, I have to look further out for a scapegoat.
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Old 02-22-2017, 05:44 PM
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I need love and caring for others. I need a connection to God. I need to give of myself. I need to grow as a person.

I suppose I would be alive if I didn't do these things but I wouldn't be living.
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MIRecovery View Post
I need love and caring for others. I need a connection to God. I need to give of myself. I need to grow as a person.

I suppose I would be alive if I didn't do these things but I wouldn't be living.
Yes, and for each person out there, needs may be very different. Both within relationships and outside of those relationships. I often compare myself to others and to whatever I see they have as far as successful relationships go (not just romantic wise, but across the board) and I then try to determine my needs based on what others are or aren't getting from their interpersonal relationships.

That isn't healthy. I have to use my program to figure out what MY needs are. What is pivotal to me to be a healthy (spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically) human in relation to others.

When looking at romantic relationships:
I have a friend who only needs her husband to take out the garbage, clean up after himself, and do the yard work, and for her, that is enough to know she is loved. I have another friend who needs to hear her bf say he loves her every day, usually multiple times a day. I have another friend who needs a man who praises her a lot and buys her gifts to show his love.

I know, that for me, I need good quality time with my man to feel connected to him and I need physical touch. Without those things I'm lost, lol. If he only says he loves me once a week, I'm good with that because that's about how often I say it. If he neglects the trash, I don't even notice. If he hasn't bought me a gift for months on end, that wouldn't bother me either because I probably haven't done the same.

But, all of those things speak to someone's love languages. Are they actually 'needs' or are they wants? Are they just "Hey, this would be nice to have, but it's not necessary?" Or are these things so important that a happy relationship can't be achieved?

I think the most important lesson I've learned is that only I can determine what is right for me and that requires me to dig deep, know myself, and use my program to figure it all out. What is OK or a need for one person, may not be anything important to someone else and if I take my cues for how I'm living MY life from others, than I'm not living for me. Only I know what is acceptable or unacceptable for me and I'm guaranteed to make mistakes along the way. But, that's OK, because they are my mistakes to make. Just food for thought!
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Old 02-23-2017, 07:49 AM
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That's good stuff Liz.

You are taking the time to dig deep and find out what you really need, not just on the surface as so many (including myself) have done over and over.

Really good stuff.
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Old 02-24-2017, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by hopeful4 View Post
That's good stuff Liz.

You are taking the time to dig deep and find out what you really need, not just on the surface as so many (including myself) have done over and over.

Really good stuff.
HAHA, you do realize that I still have to learn this stuff over and over and over.....
Just because I recognize it, doesn't mean the lesson has been completely learned. I'm still figuring out what my needs are and sometimes they change if I'm hormonal.

Which, by the way, has changed a lot in the past 2 years, as well. I'm close to menopause and I never used to get emotional or needy with PMS, but now I'm a freaking mess some months and I still don't 'see' that it's probably hormonal.
So, I sit there and think about ending my relationship or sending the children to a camp far far away.......And, believe me, there are days when I truly do feel like running away from my bf because he's not hugging me when I want, or he's too busy for me at a certain time, etc.
And, then I get my period and a few days later, I'm like the happiest person on the planet. ARGHHHHHH!!!! All of a sudden, he seems like the needy one!!! Holding my hand while we're sitting on the couch! The nerve of the man. When just a week beforehand I was sitting there thinking, "What a jerk. I can't believe he hasn't held my hand yet. Idiot!"

Oh joy. And, his oldest is 11 and I see the pre puberty behaviors with her and the youngest isn't far behind. The poor man will have 2 pre teen girls along with a menopausal partner. Best of luck to him!
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