How do you make a needs assessment about issues in your life? Whether it’s professional, personal or somewhere in between, you deserve to have the capacity to trust yourself when you accept something into your life or decide to let it go. The worst feeling is that of being stuck on the infinite teeter-totter of decision making. The Clash aptly put this conundrum to lyrics: “Should I stay or should I go now? If I go there will be trouble; if I stay it will be double. So come on and let me know: Should I stay or should I go?” What if there was a way to eradicate the guess work?
Needs vs Wants
I am going to walk you through a step by step exercise that you can apply to any situation where you find it necessary to discern whether to weather the storm, or to grab a life-raft and move it on out. You will have the ability, by the end of the exercise, to analyze if the situation or relationship meets your needs or not.
1. Pick One Topic to Focus On – This is not as obvious as it sounds, but absolutely necessary. When we’re afraid our mind has a tendency to try to solve for as many problems as possible. This is not helpful in any way. That is the nature of how fear affects us; pushing a venerable tsunami of thoughts into our head at one time and creating overwhelm. I want you to give your problem solving mind a break and pick one singular issue to focus on. Write the topic you’ve chosen on the top of a piece of paper.
2. List Your Wants – Title one half of the page, under the topic heading: WANTS. Here I invite you to allow yourself to break free, be creative, be greedy and list every single want related to the topic to flow out onto the page.
3. What Do You Need? – Title the other half of the page, under the topic heading: NEEDS. Review each item on your WANTS list and ask yourself: Do I NEED this? Every item on the list will be put through this rigorous discernment. It doesn’t matter if someone else thinks that what you NEED is necessary or not. This is not their list or their life! This is YOUR LIFE, you have the right to decide what it is that you NEED, regardless of what someone else thinks.
4. Decision Time – When you create a NEEDS list related to an area of your life it is like a personal contract. Whether you are conscious of it or not, this process has enabled a commitment to be made between YOU and YOURSELF; to uphold and respect your NEEDS. You’ve already gone through the process of discernment. NEEDS ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE. If there is anything you learn from this process, that is the main thing to remember! Now apply your NEEDS list to the TOPIC and see how it measures up. Does it pass the assessment process?
The truth hurts, sometimes, and that’s okay
The main thing about decision making and boundary setting is that we don’t want it to hurt, Right? Of course not. We want to feel contentment and be HAPPY, like all the songs say. I’ll tell you right now that my main goal is not happiness, it’s serenity. I went through years of not upholding my boundaries, because I thought that if I could stay in one place long enough then happiness would be the bi-product of tenacity. This isn’t always the case. In situations that do not serve your NEEDS; situations that are demeaning, abusive, or counter to your personal integrity, the only outcome of staying is depletion. You deserve to be whole and filled with the power of knowing that you have self worth and self respect! Maintaing your boundaries will fill you with a true sense of who you are and what is important to YOU, because it is no longer arbitrary. You’ve done the work! You have clarity! The more you practice these skills, the more people and opportunities that mirror these same principles will be attracted to you. Your truth is a magnet!
How was the exercise for you? What are your experiences with boundary making?
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