Your emotional needs must be filled in order for you to feel truly fulfilled. But do you know what an emotional need is?

Some emotional needs have a physical component. For instance, your need for physical shelter contributes to your need to feel safe.

Other emotional needs require an action in order to be filled. For example, your need to feel appreciated is filled when someone expresses their gratitude to you.

Everyone has different emotional needs, plus, the way they want their needs to be filled is unique.

So it’s imperative that we express our needs clearly—what we want and how we want it to be given to us—and to ask others for the same details about their needs.

It’s also important to find healthy ways to fill your needs. Many people who are feeling emotionally starved turn to food, sex, alcohol or drugs to fill the empty place inside. Indeed, underneath addictive behaviors lie one or more corresponding unsatisfied emotional needs.

You know when your needs aren’t being met. Your deprivation is expressed as feeling cranky, unloved, unappreciated, angry, bitter, or jealous.

An unfulfilled need is a signal of one of two things:

• you’re not asking for what you need, or
• you’re giving too much—you aren’t able to find the balance between giving with receiving.

Feeling overcommitted is an indicator that you have a weak (or nonexistent) boundary. Usually it’s because you don’t know how to say no, or you don’t feel strong enough to stick to your guns.

So when you practice setting a boundary with your loved ones, you’ll begin to fill the need to balance giving to others with giving to yourself.

You’ll feel the strongest resistance to sharing your deepest needs. There is an equal, direct relationship between how strong your need is and how much trepidation you’ll feel when you think about asking someone to fulfill that need.

So how do you get your needs met in a healthy way?

It’s easy to look first and only to your beloved to meet your needs. You can put a lot of requirements on one relationship to fulfill you.

But when your partner is unavailable or unwilling, then you can’t get no satisfaction. Many wonderful relationships have cracked under the pressure to be all-fulfilling.

You’re most powerful when you take responsibility for getting your needs met. You can create your own posse—friends and family who are happy to shower you with attention when you need it.

Think of at least four people who care about you and can meet your need in different ways. The idea is to feel like you’re getting what you need. When was the last time you felt that? We’re just not used to allowing ourselves to fully bask in the glow of love that others express for us.

There’s no need to feel guilty because you’re making a simple request. You’re not manipulating, demanding or coercing. Loving attention is always a choice, not an obligation.

For instance, my grandmother had a natural talent for appreciating me. I took comfort in knowing that whenever I needed a boost, she was only a phone call away. Her style of appreciation was different from that of my brother, my best friend, my beloved, my male friends, my female friends and my clients.

So show your loved ones exactly how you want to be treated. When someone meets one of your needs, acknowledge their effort.

Go beyond the rote response of “thank you.” Tell them in detail what you like about their gesture. For instance, you might say, “When you said that you appreciate my compassion, I felt that you really know me, and that you think I’m special.”

At first, asking friends and family to fulfill your needs may feel a wee bit uncomfortable. Again, the deeper the need, the more vulnerable you will feel.

But go ahead and ask. The people who love you will enjoy accommodating you. And the payoff will be huge for both of you.

Author's Bio: 

Judy Widener is a Certified Life Coach and author of Power For A Lifetime: Tools You Customize to Build Your Personal Power Every Day Of Your Life. Her passion is assisting her clients to discover what is most important to them, then to create more balance and satisfaction in their lives. Empowerment Life Coaching is a comprehensive program that teaches clients simple ways to build their personal power and overcome obstacles to achieving their dreams. Judy has coached more than 600 people over the past 12 years. Her blog is