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Breathe Magazine – Issue 64

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In this issue: Here comes the sun – In the festival spirit – California dreaming – Break all the rules – Time to play – What’s left unfinished – Trust your true North – Too tired to care? – Hope for the ocean – Small wonders

Needs. From Mumbai to Munich, Seoul to San Francisco, Lagos to London, Cairo to Chengdu, people have needs – above those necessary for physical survival – that, if met, enable them to thrive. But what do they look like? Well, that depends on the person. It might equal companionship and be fulfilled by leisurely lunches with friends and family. Or it could be solitude that requires unaccompanied walks in nature or time spent meditating in a quiet room. The options are endless and oft-changing as the responsibilities, commitments and aspirations of life ebb and flow. Few, however, would claim to be without needs.

Despite this, expressing needs – or expectations – especially of others, is often deemed to be not the ‘done thing’. On occasion, it might even be termed ‘needy’. Yet what’s so wrong with telling a friend their help would be appreciated with a personal problem? Isn’t it healthy to let family members know that time alone is an essential part of getting through the day? And surely it’s wise for all concerned that a line manager is made aware that burnout’s beckoning and compassion is spent?

As with most things, it comes down to balance. No one person can fulfil another’s needs, after all. But there’s an element of timing too. A friend’s apparent reluctance to listen, to be there, to be that shoulder to cry on, might indicate they’re simply overwhelmed right now and not the best person to help. Even line managers have personal lives – and problems.

It is important to express needs. Sometimes it’s the only chance of them being recognised. And, approached with care, awareness and respect on all sides, it might also be possible for everyone to thrive in the process.

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