Are your needs authentic or imposed?
There are times when we strongly feel like doing something and we don't even need to think about it. In contrast, there are times when we think we should do something, but we don't really want to do it.
Why does this happen? Although the answer is quite simple, we are not always aware of it.
When we strongly feel like doing something, it is likely that this stems from something we really want. When we think we should do something but we don't really want to do it, it is probably because it was imposed on us from outside.
In other words, these two situations are the reflection of two different kinds of needs: authentic needs and imposed needs. What are these?
Imposed needs are "priorities" that are imposed from an external source. They are often formulated as musts or shoulds: "I must do this", "I should do that". Although imposed needs are superficial and come from the outside, they can influence us very strong because we often perceive them as mandatory.
Imposed needs can be suggested or imposed by society, family, moral rules, school, work environment, and so on.
Imposed needs affect our happiness and satisfaction in a variety of way. They can also steal a great degree of physical and mental energy that we can dedicate to more productive areas of our lives.
Authentic needs are what we really want. These needs are not imposed from the outside, but stem directly from the inside. Authentic needs can be in contraddiction with imposed needs. Sometimes we are not even aware of our driving needs, particularly if we tend to act in a self-deceptive way. It is obvious how such a situation can be problematic for our emotional wellbeing. The cost can be very high if we don't find a good strategy to deal with it.
Let's consider an example. Kate is about to approach her 32nd birthday. She has a job she likes, a house she loves and caring friends. She likes her life. However, she is experiencing low mood, lack of motivation and energy, and sporadic anxiety.
Kate tries to understand what's going on and discovers that she feels like she should be married at that point and must have a child by her 35th birthday.
Although this realisation is enlightening, Kate has a gut feeling that it's not the end of the story. In fact, she asks herself: do I really want to be married now? Do I really HAVE to? Is it the end of the world if I have a child a little later?
What Kate is experiencing is a conflict between imposed needs and her authentic needs. Although her family and society told her that she should be married at 30 and a mother by 35, does she really want to live that life? Would that be her life or someone else's life? In fact, what she really wants is to focus on her professional life a few years more, before starting a family.
In order to solve her inner conflict, Kate needs to figure out what's happening and how to pursue her needs effectively.
If you want to gain a higher level of satisfaction and happiness, it is crucial to identify imposed needs that don't resonate with yourself and pursue your authentic needs instead.
Counselling can be a great tool to distinguish between authentic needs and imposed ones, while life coaching helps you give priority to your authentic needs and improve your ability to deal with imposed needs.
Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.
About Giorgio Aprile
Giorgio is a qualified and experienced life coach and philosophical counsellor based in London. He has been practising CBT, mindfulness and other evidence-based methods of coaching and counselling with excellent results. Giorgio is a member of the Association for Coaching and a member of the National Counselling Society.