Thomas Fiffer draws a distinction between need-focused and love-focused partners.
Recently, I drew a distinction for a friend with a difficult partner.
I said, “Your partner is need-focused, and you are love-focused.”
What did I mean?
I didn’t mean we should ignore our needs.
We all need our needs to be met.
To need is human.
To want is to suffer.
And being a martyr—denying the truth of our own needs then complaining bitterly when no one appreciates our sacrifice—is disingenuous and toxic.
But how we go about getting what we need differs, depending on our outlook, on whether we see abundance or scarcity, on whether we view the world as a friendly or hostile place, and on how we value ourselves.
There are healthy and unhealthy ways to get our needs met.
Need-focused people constantly make demands on others, remind them of their rights instead of appreciating their privileges, and often require repeated proofs of love.
Need-focused people typically show little gratitude for what they’re given.
Need-focused people often come across as arrogant, substituting bravado for confidence, using self-importance to compensate for a lack of self-worth.
Need-focused people’s needs can seem bottomless, as they focus on consuming, depleting, drawing in, and shrinking others to satisfy their endless needs.
Love-focused people’s needs are no less present, significant, or deep.
But love-focused people focus on creating, increasing, spreading, and expanding love.
Love-focused people know that if they give love liberally, graciously, and generously (and here’s the key – to another love-focused person), the rest follows naturally.
Love-focused people act in a way that makes others want to meet their needs.
And then the magic happens.
Gifts are exchanged, instead of grudgingly given.
Fulfilling needs becomes a pleasure, not a chore.
And as disgruntlement disappears, a cycle of peace and harmony ensues.
Need begets resentment.
Love begets love.
So if you truly want your needs met:
Shift your focus.
Shift your partner’s focus.
Or shift your partner.
Originally published on Tom Aplomb