Accepting and meeting your own emotional needs

This post was inspired by a blog about being unable to accept your own emotional needs:

I am convinced that 1) my needs are abhorrent and will drive everyone away; 2) I do not deserve to feel anything, nor have my feelings acknowledged as legitimate; 3) if I AM going to feel things, I “should” be “strong” enough to deal with them alone, 4) if I were a “good” person, I would not be feeling so crazy, 5) reaching out when I am distressed will anger or disappoint my loved one, who will be tired of me and my problems, or perhaps not even matter enough to the person I’m reaching out to, for them to respond.

What are the possible ways forward if you recognize these beliefs in yourself?

Some suggestions:

  • Everyone has emotional needs. Absolutely everyone. Emotional needs are normal, and healthy. How long have you had the belief that your needs lead to rejection? What could have caused this, and when?
  • Can you reach back to your younger self or inner child(ren) to validate their needs and show them compassion? Every child deserves to have their needs met, if this did not happen there may be many possible reasons: maltreatment, neglect, or abuse – including emotional abuse, difficult life circumstances, serious illness (yours or in your family), parental abandonment or parents who could not cope. These issues are not your fault. If you reacted strongly to not having your needs met then this was a further indication to adults that something was wrong: you do not need to judge yourself for this. Revisiting the past is painful, it is important to feel ready and stable enough in the present to do so.
  • Can you accept your own emotional needs – no matter how big or small? This does not mean you need to share these needs with everyone. Accepting emotional needs can be seen as improving your self-awareness, and increasing your acceptance of yourself. Validating your own needs and emotions is part of healing.
  • Trying to meet your emotional needs soon after you recognize them may help avoid them building up and becoming overwhelming. You may need to spend some time working out what your needs are, and healthy ways to meet them.

Identifying your needs and Inner Child work (Self Re-parenting)

The first place to start is in identifying your emotional needs. If you have been raised in a way which meant you were not allowed or able to express your emotional needs this may be difficult at first. A pattern of ignoring and denying emotional needs can be difficult to break. Here are a few words to help you start the process – these are typical needs, some may not feel that relevant to you. Identifying needs is the aim, so do not worry about how few or many you can identify.

Top 10 Emotional Needs

Re-parenting or healing your inner child (or inner children if there are several) is the process of recognizing the child-like aspects of yourself and meeting their needs. It isn’t specific to any particular mental health issue or diagnosis, it is simply a way of connecting with yourself and your needs in order to heal them. It is a gradual process, with long-term benefits.

The Inner Child lives within all of us, it’s the part of us that feels emotions and is playful intuitive and creative. Usually hidden under our grown-up personas, the Inner Child holds the key to intimacy in relationships physical and emotional well-being, recovery from addictions, and the creativity and wisdom of our inner selves.
Recovery of your Inner Child, Lucia Capacchione

This is a well-known way of healing emotionally, and covered in many books, including :



  • Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families (2010)
  • The inner child workbook: what to do with your past when it just won’t go away (1991)
  • Recovery of your Inner Child, Lucia Capacchione
  • Self-Therapy: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Inner Wholeness Using Ifs, a New, Cutting-Edge Therapy (2009)
  • Discovering Your Inner Child: Transforming Toxic Patterns and Finding Your Joy (2012)
  • Your thoughts?

    Post a comment to share your thoughts on this article and your ideas about coping with and meeting unmet emotional needs.


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