Tiber hanging from a tree limbI often find this time of year to be a good time to assess and then address any unmet needs. Why is this such a good time?
Well, the hustle and bustle of this time of year often results in our feeling stress. But the stress we feel is less about what is happening to us and around us and more the result of our experiencing unmet needs. No event can, in and of itself, cause us stress. It is only our reaction to that event. And our reaction is often the result of a need not being met. For example, I have a motivational need to be able to focus on one thing at a time. When events and circumstances move too fast, and I am flipping from one thing to another without focusing or completing a task, I start to feel stress. What I do—my reaction—is to start “reacting” to everything that is going on around me without stepping back and approaching it in line with my own needs. I could, for example, just choose to deal with one thing at a time until complete and let everything go.
Perhaps you have a need for significant time with just yourself or one or 2 others and the constant pressure to be with larger groups results in your feeling stress in this area. You could choose to make sure you get sufficient time alone and communicate that conscious choice to others.
And this year, in particular, it could be that you experience stress from just the opposite—not be able to spend enough time with larger groups.
Another reason this is a good time of year to think about this is that we cannot give what we do not have. At this time of year there is a lot of focuses on giving. But we are not going to be able to genuinely give if we do not have it in us. And when we are stressed, we do not have it in us. So, if you have trouble or think it is selfish to focus on your own needs, then think about it as an act of service to others. Think of it as a way to build up the reservoir from which you can share gifts.
And the final reason I think it is so important to take this inventory now is so that we can set good holistic New Year’s Resolutions. If we assess that we were not getting certain needs met in 2020, we can look at how we can do things differently in 2021 and start the process now.
This has been an incredibly stressful year for most of us. With COVID-19 changing our normal patterns for work, for interactions with others, and even for celebrations, I am sure we all have had ample experiences of stress this year. What were your areas of stress? What do you think were the underlying needs that were not being met? What can you put in place in 2021, even starting now, to ensure those needs get met ongoing?
If you need help in assessing needs, I highly recommend reviewing your Book of You® or getting one if you do not have one. It is a great way to get a handle on those needs that may not be immediately obvious to you.
However you do it though, do it. It will make a world of a difference to you and to those you serve.

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