Need vs. Request (or Strategy)

This is such a cru­cial key dif­fe­ren­tia­ti­on for me. I just lis­tened to one of the last songs of the Cranberries, In the End. It was publis­hed in 2019, after the death of lead sin­ger Dolores O’Riordan. Here is a link to the song. It brings to my heart how important that KD is to me. Really important.

In the End

Ain’t it stran­ge
When ever­ything you wan­ted
Was not­hing that you wan­ted
In the end

Ain’t it stran­ge
When ever­ything you dreamt of
Was not­hing that you dreamt of
In the end

Take my house, take the car, take the clothes
But you can’t take the spi­rit, take the spi­rit, take the spi­rit
But you can’t

It is tou­ch­ing me to read this, invi­t­ing to con­nect to my heart deeper, when I ask mys­elf, why I do the things that I do, in the big lines of my life as well as in the moments of each day.

A need is the deeper spi­rit or mea­ning, to use ano­t­her word that also works for me, behind the con­cre­te actions that we see in the world, our requests and strategies.

The song gives me a sen­se of deep mour­ning and won­de­ring — did I lose my time in cha­sing empty goals, did I miss the deeper needs, was I led astray, con­fu­sed by not going to the real deep wis­hes of my heart?

If this would hap­pen on my death bed, surely, this would be a ter­ri­ble moment of final grief com­bi­ned with a cele­bra­ti­on for waking up in luci­di­ty at least then — bet­ter late than never. This is why for me death is like an invi­ta­ti­on to turn to the things that real­ly mat­ter to me, rela­ti­ons­hips, true con­nec­tion in hones­ty and under­stan­ding, needs mat­te­ring for all living bein­gs, gra­ti­tu­de for life and the won­der­ful gift of spirit. 

And from that con­nec­tion ot my deeper mea­ning and moti­va­tions hope­ful­ly my ener­gy will more clear­ly put love into action in life.

To make sure that requests are doable I want to inclu­de five ele­ments of infor­ma­ti­on. These can be memo­ri­zed by the acro­nym PLATO — a con­cre­te per­son P, loca­ti­on L, action A, time T and an object O. Some requests can con­tain less infor­ma­ti­on, as often a num­ber of the­se ele­ments are obvious from the context.

Needs on the other hand are uni­ver­sal qua­li­ties, that all peop­le con­cer­ned in a cer­tain moment have only appre­cia­ti­on for. They are abs­tract and by con­trast, they con­tain No PLATO — none of the abo­ve men­tio­ned elements.

As needs are most­ly a lear­ning expe­ri­ence for me, at this point in my life I often take time to ask mys­elf what needs are ali­ve behind the con­cre­te actions and expe­ri­en­ces of my life. When I am gra­te­ful for some­thing, I first look at the obser­va­ti­on and then ask what needs are fil­led. It makes my emo­tio­nal expe­ri­ence much stron­ger when I go that way.