Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

What do you need? Many of us use the word in reference to what we think we lack and make what we think we need too important for our happiness, or even for our existence. A need is a requirement, something you MUST have. Yet we often make our needs more about what we like, and think we MUST have to feel good about ourselves and our lives.

Oxygen, nutrition, and sleep are good examples of real needs. Designer shoes or a fancy car are not!

It’s important to recognize what really is a need and distinguish it from a superficial desire or wanting to attain what you’ve been taught you must have to be complete or “good enough.” When I was a DoorMat I believed my NEEDS were never met because I wasn’t happy. Looking back, my NEEDS right now are so much different. In DoorMatville, my biggest NEED was to be liked by everyone. Now I know that’s impossible, especially if I want to be liked for the right reason.

Needing to be liked fuels being a People Pleaser. Then you’re buying friends with favors and more, so you’re not liked for yourself.

Now that I’ve left DoorMatville, I only want to be liked for who I am, not for what I do. And it’s no longer tied to a need. I do my best and am grateful for those who appreciate it. I also went for many years thinking I needed a man in my life or I wouldn’t be whole or good enough. There’s definitely judgment about women who don’t have a partner. I still get asked about my love life likes it’s super important to the askers, who are often not even friends. Women do get critiqued a lot on this topic! But, I no longer care what they think!

The only one I NEED to be liked by is ME! And MY approval is the only approval I NEED.

Everyone else who likes me is a gift, not the fulfillment of a need. My real needs are simpler now. I do NOT need a man to complete me. When I’m in a good relationship, my life improves, just as it improves from my good relationships with family and friends. I need food to live but don’t NEED unhealthy foods I crave, like sugar and salty snacks. Yes, I like them and occasionally indulge. But, I rarely allow myself to NEED a bag of chips to be happy, like I used to.

People look at material possessions as needs when they aren’t happy.

When you feel a driving need for something, ask yourself why you need it, and be honest. Is it something you just want very badly or is it essential for your well-being. Are you looking to fulfill this need in order to find happiness? Fulfilling your need may give you a short period of feeling better but eventually you’ll look for more things to fill the happiness hole. I did, until it finally got through to me that my priority NEED should be to do what I could to heal myself inside and love myself to true happiness. That is truly the most satisfying need to materialize.

Distinguish between essential needs, healthy needs, lifestyle needs and those that are ego-based.

Essential needs are what you literally can’t live without, like air and water. They are essential. Healthy needs are those things that maintain your body and soul, such as regular dental visits, making time for your spirit, etc. They are very important so you nurture good health, both physical and mental. Lifestyle needs nurture your quality of life, such as exercise, eating healthy, using products to take good care of your skin, losing weight for health reasons, not to attract or please someone, and having a supportive group of people.

Ego-based needs refer to the shoes you can’t live without, making having a partner an important necessity, being obsessed with having every single new tech device, and other material things you make needs for being happy. Ego is “I NEED to lose 3 pounds” “I NEED to meet a celebrity” “I NEED the latest iPad” etc. If these things aren’t critical for your life, you don’t NEED them. You WANT them. The first 3 types of NEEDS are healthy if not taken to an extreme.

Ego-based needs are superficial and will usually not contribute to long-term happiness, though you may think they will.

Needing to go on a crash diet is never healthy! You don’t need to get plastic surgery for better skin, to be married, to have a bigger house than your friends, to find someone to have sex with, to be rich, etc. I’m not putting any of it down. These are desires and if you want them it’s your choice. But, put them into perspective as desires, not needs. You can live without them all. You might not want to but you can. Next time you think you NEED something, think about if it’s truly a need. Use this acronym for NEEDS:


Is it really something you can live without or a desire you’d like to manifest? Declaring something as a need makes getting it essential to your happiness. You can live without most desires. You can survive and be happy if you’re not a size 2 or you aren’t sexually fulfilled by a person for a while or you have to budget a little more or your colleague gets a nicer office. You might not like it but you can still find other ways to be happy. But if you look at everything you desire as a NEED, it increases their importance to levels that can make you stressed or depressed if you pursue them as such. Or, not getting them keeps you from being happy.

Make yourself happy on the inside first, and be as self-loving as you can. It makes it much easier to change pressing needs into things that would be nice to have but aren’t essential for your happiness to flow and grow. As I focus on my real needs, life gets better and better. Then I can also put energy into fulfilling desires.

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