Having needs and being needy — there’s a difference

It’s worth knowing the difference

Susan Doerksen Castro
3 min readApr 13, 2023
Photo by alex geerts on Unsplash

If you want to hurl an offence, one that would cut deep causing me to recoil in shame, here’s one: Tell me I’m needy.

I feel that offence in my body. It’s tense, I’m clenching my teeth, maybe even seething a bit. My defenses are rising. I see annoyance emerging. I’m 100% off center.

I grew up ultra self-sufficient, and “needy” did not fit into the mix.

But this letter isn’t about that kind of “needy” , you know, the needy + clingy + victimy kind of drape all overs others needy, nope, I’m not writing about that.

Today, I am here on behalf of our shared humanity.

In other words, because we are human, we have needs.


I finally read Marshall B. Rosenberg’s book “Nonviolent Communication, A Language of Life.”


Ten years ago, my coach at the time assigned me a practice.

No word of a lie, no exaggeration of the truth, it has easily been the most meaningful and life-changing practice I’ve ever had.

My feelings and needs sheet travels with me everywhere. A printed copy is tucked into my journal. One on my desk right now.

But I’d never read the book.

And while you don’t have to read the book to do the practice, it’s so juicy I wanted to share.

This practice develops “fluency”. It helps you give language to what you need, because as a human, we have needs.

Plain and simple, this is a fact.

And this truth does not make you needy.


Devote yourself to meeting needs

Spoiler alert.

When you meet your own needs, you unlock vitality.

Stated differently, the practice of meeting your needs is a pathway to feeling alive and aligned.

Hands UP if you long for more vitality?

100% vitality is part of my version of success.

There are so many other benefits to this practice, but we’d be here for a long time if I kept going.


Does this make you self-centered?

Absolutely it does.


Dearest humans, Principle 3: Success flows from and through you. means I advocate for you being at the center of yourself.

We have enough direct experience meeting everyone else’s needs (to the detriment of our own) and we all know how that works out.

It’s time to become your own starting point.

And here’s how starting with you isn’t like to be problematic: as a human, you likely have needs for connection, collaboration, contribution etc. that are about caring for others. So your self-centeredness won’t disconnect you from everyone.

Knowing this will allow you tune more into others needs as you tune into your own.

The big lesson here?

Start with your needs.

What if we don’t know what our needs are

Ten years in with this practice and I’m still learning about the needs I have.

If you don’t know what your needs are, print off the needs resource and get curious.

That’s what I love about this practice, it’s has so much juice and power in it.


If it helps, I’ll share some of mine:





















As these needs are met, I feel great.

So give it a whirl. And reply with one of your own needs. And when you do, I’ll smile and feel grateful, because my need for connection will be met! Win — win.


Wherever you are on your journey, I see you.

Thank you for being on it with me.

To you unlocking great vitality!



Susan Doerksen Castro

Entrepreneur & Integral Master Coach™ helping accomplished women redefine success so they can realize a new, more fulfilling agenda for their lives.