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Vitamins for the Mind: Fulfilling Needs of the Psyche

In the world of psychology and Nonviolent Communication, needs are often seen as essential components of human well-being. An interesting metaphor to understand this is the comparison of needs to vitamins. Just as vitamins are essential for physical health, needs are indispensable for emotional and psychological health.

A hand holds loose vitamins labeled "Autonomy," "Connection," "Respect," "Understanding," and "Safety."

The Role of Needs in Nonviolent Communication 

In Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg, needs are considered universal aspects of human life that exist independently of specific strategies to fulfill them. Rosenberg explains, "When we focus on clarifying what is observed, felt, and needed, rather than diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion." Similarly, a person suffers when their needs are not met. These needs include physical aspects such as food and safety, as well as psychological aspects like love, recognition, and self-actualization.

Strategies for Fulfilling Needs 

To fulfill needs, it is important to first recognize and acknowledge them. This requires self-reflection and sometimes communication with others to gain a deeper understanding. Rosenberg emphasizes, "Nonviolent Communication requires us to be constantly aware of the beauty in ourselves and others."

The Effects of Unmet Needs: An Analogy to Vitamin Deficiency

Unmet needs can work similarly to a vitamin deficiency in the body. A lack of essential vitamins leads to physical complaints and diseases; similarly, unmet emotional and psychological needs can lead to inner conflicts, stress, and in some cases even mental illness. Rosenberg explains, "Getting in touch with unmet needs is important for the healing process." This analogy emphasizes the importance of caring for our basic needs, whether through self-care, building supportive relationships, or seeking professional help. Only when our needs are met can we lead a healthy, balanced, and content life, just as our body functions optimally when supplied with all necessary vitamins.

Deepened Self-Reflection: An Extended Exercise for Self-Love

To help you in your self-reflection journey, I recommend doing the first exercise in the "Self-love & Self-esteem" module on our website. This will help you engage more deeply with your own needs. The exercise includes both thinking about your needs and practical steps to recognize how well they are currently being met and how you can actively promote their fulfillment.

I would like to close with a modification of a thought by Marshall Rosenberg: "If we do not communicate our needs to others, it is much less likely that they will be fulfilled."

Link Exercise:

"Self-love & Self-esteem" – Module 1 – Exercise # 1.1: "How self-love works"


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