Your Needs are Not an Afterthought

When I first started my Embracing Intensity Podcast journey, I was connected with the accomplished J.J. Flizanes as an ideal guest. I made contact, but then when the project got delayed, my communication fizzled out. Last week when I got the chance to share in a podcast group we are both in, she said she really related to it, so I asked her for an interview and got one with her that week!

J.J. is a gifted woman if I ever met one! She described her experiences of feeling "different" growing up and coming off as too intense when she met new friends. She threw herself into her work - first acting, then personal training and now wrapping it all up together with lots of personal empowerment work including a best-selling book and a 6 day a week podcast!

Like everything she does, she dove into her business with intensity and drive. She pushed herself into adrenal fatigue and cycled between burning the candles at both ends to burning out and taking an extended break. She finally came to a point where she realized she needed to incorporate self-care into her everyday routine in order to maintain equilibrium and not keep pushing herself to the brink. 

Two key practices she uses to help with this include a daily grattitude practice and the use of Nonviolent Communication as a tool to connect with her own feelings and needs. This is a tool that we have both found extremely useful both for communicating with ourselves and being able to communicate our needs to others. I use the acronym STAR to remember the steps in the process:

Stop - Stop and observe the situation. What are your feelings? What needs are or are not being met? (you can find great lists of feelings and needs here) What judgements are you having about this situation?

Think - What strategies can you think of that might meet your needs? It is important to understand that there are many ways to meet the same need, and avoid getting stuck on one particular strategy. Get creative!

Act - Once you've found a strategy that you think might work (and doesn't violate the needs of someone else), act out your strategy. 

Request - This may come before or after you act. Think of who can help you meet your needs and make a request of them to help out. Be sure that you are clear that they can say no so it does not feel like a demand. People respond much better when they come from a place of empathy rather than a sense of "duty."

I think we both find this tool so valuable for self-awareness because intense and sensitive people so often push themselves and put other people's needs before their own that their own needs become an afterthought. When you do that continually though, you have a tendency to burnout. You can keep living in that burn - burnout cycle, or start taking the time now to get clear on your needs and take care of them as you move forward. In the end, this strategy will make you more effective when you do feel the need to push. 

This post is a part of the Hoagies' Gifted Education Blog Hop on Emotional Intelligence