Moody Monday: Unmet needs and idiotic solutions

I’ve been reading about mental health problems and how they may arise from the unmet needs in our lives.

Seems simple enough:

  • 1: Identify your unmet needs.
  • 2: Work out a plan to meet those needs.

Scads of enterprising people make money selling books and/or videos that propose such a thing is simple anyway. All you have to do is follow their 10 steps to releasing your suffering….10 steps to happiness…. 10 steps to financial freedom… 10 steps to… oh, something or other.

The examples they use are often laughable, too. Inspiring stories that have little to do with most people’s reality. I’m truly glad that there’s a village in Tibet where 100% happiness has been achieved but how does that apply to someone living in South Dakota? Let’s draw some comparisons here. Well, both breathe oxygen, eat food….. poop…. ummm…..

“I think that’s about it,” says Bubba.

Allow me to summarize: “Quick and simple solutions to mental health problems is merely someone trying to sell a book.”

Anyway, so back to this “unmet needs” thing. I was thinking of unmet needs as falling short in one or more of the following areas:

  • Family support and nurturing
  • Effective friendships
  • Gainful employment
  • Financial stability
  • Stable place of residence
  • Romantic love and support
  • Sense of purpose

I got some additional ideas from some of the following websites:

  • Security
  • Approval
  • Control
  • Validation
  • Unmet love

5 Unmet Needs That May Cause Psychological Issues in Adulthood from NYC Therapy

  • Secure attachment
  • Mirroring
  • Idealizing
  • Twinship

4 unmet needs that can cause psychological issues when we grow up from Better Therapy

  • Connection
  • Physical well-being
  • Play
  • Peace
  • Autonomy
  • Meaning

Needs Inventory from The Center for Nonviolent Communication

So, what are the unmet needs in your life? (**Example: I excel at being poor! Hoorah… rocking poverty like a marine rocks a crew cut.)

Next, how do you go about trying to fill in the gaps? (Rob a bank??? Probably not such a good idea!)

It might seem trivial but right now my unmet need is ice cream. Luckily, it’s an easy need to meet. 10 steps to the car… 10 steps (or so) to the grocery store (don’t forget wallet!) That’s all it takes! Always makes me feel better!

Seriously though, this unmet needs is something to consider… and my intention is not to poo-poo on self-help books. Amongst the dung, there are a few diamonds that shine bright.

Have a great day!!

Photo by Andrew Neel on

Every Monday from now until I get tired of it I will be posting on various mental health topics. That’s a joke. I never get tired of talking about mental health!

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33 thoughts on “Moody Monday: Unmet needs and idiotic solutions

  1. Good post Joann. For every problem, there are at least 100 self help books. The action required is right their in the genre description. Self help! The authors took a step to help themselves, by writing a book, but, that was their solution. Stay well. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re dead on, JoAnn! Thank you for posting this and making it clear. Oftentimes we already know it subconsciously but not consciously and we don’t know how to articulate it clearly. So, thank you for putting this into words and making it easier to communicate. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Astute analysis, JoAnn.

    Among the countless 27-Step Miracles booksellers prescribe, first sentence, Page One, should be, “Throw away this book.”

    Yet, at times, we all fall for the chicanery. Why? I’d wager it’s a combination of hopeful idealism (“There must be an easy answer out there.”) and self-doubt (“These all probably are ideas that hadn’t occurred to me.”).

    As you explain, though, the most effective answer is perseverance. That, and accepting help from our social networks, those ranks of family, friends and well-wishing “strangers.” .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Can’t underestimate hopeful idealism… I suppose we have to have that to keep us going in life. Especially young people, like I was, who seem hell bent on continuously repeating freshman year in the “School of Hard Knocks.”

      Same thing with accepting help. I’ve gotten better at it but it’s still difficult… and it’s probably a lot more narcissitic in nature than I might want to admit.

      Ha ha! “Throw away this book.” That’s just way too funny. Evil me might try to stamp it at the front of every crappy book in the book store.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “(B)ook store?” Eh, JoAnn?

        Oh, wait. Yeah, now I think I begin to remember.

        Those self-help manuals are a wonder. General enough to fix what ails each and every one of us, yet just a bit more specific and exacting than the formula that carried us to the moon.

        For just $29.95, the miracle can uplift you too! Think of what your money will buy for me. Doesn’t that make you happy?

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Such an interesting combination of flavors… cumin, cilantro and paprika are three of my favorites. Perfect for chicken.

      The dipping sauce definitely sounds interesting… on it’s way to being a tzatziki sauce but not quite. I’m not the biggest fan of cucumbers although I don’t mind if they are chopped up real small. Omitting them altogether doesn’t bother me.

      I wanted to read more about bulgar because I don’t know that much about it. This is how I discovered that if you search for bulger alone you will get everything from info on Whitey Bulger to the derivative of bulge. One must search for “bulgar food.” Silly tip.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Good idea! I’ll respond here – gets me out of the kitchens.

        The flavor mix is a good one, and it speaks to cultural traditions most active just south of the Mediterranean. Oh, “on it’s way to being a tzatziki”… clever turn of phrase. Count me among your fans for that one/

        As for the cucumbers, I understand. A box grater or even a microplane should produce results you’d appreciate.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Finding the unmet needs or the traume from childhood may be the easiest part, although some things are so well suppressed that they are overlooked and maybe only come out by “coincidence”.

    I am finding a lot of new courage through seminars on Gaia with Greg Bradon and Dr Joe Dispenza. They have methods to help us to condition ourselves to a healthier, happier human being, and, what is important, they show the biological and chemical scientific evidence why it works. There are also YouTube videos with them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. True… it can take some time for issues to come about unless there is a triggering influence. Conditioning is a great concept. Makes it seem more like the ongoing process that it really is. I love stories and movies but they may have skewed our thinking to believe that there should be a nice happy ending to everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was looking at your list and considering all the unmet needs that you can do nothing about.

    It takes two to tango. Most of those needs are social. You can’t make other people like you. You can’t make your family nurture you. So what should a person do?

    Most of the self-help industry rests upon the claim that just change your attitude and everything will be ok. Bullshit. Self-serving bullshit, actually, because the proponents get to hold themselves up as avatars and role models. Just be like me and buy my book/attend my lecture. If I can do it, anyone can.

    It doesn’t make a round peg fit a square hole. You can’t will your way out of your depression, into stabilizing your mood, or changing your sexual proclivities, or magically developing social skills. You’ll end up like Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain. The only thing a change of attitude does is help you roll with the punches and that’s not the kind of “change” they are claiming. The punches keep coming regardless.

    There is an important role for self-help in any psychological issue. (The most important thing in helping yourself is deciding you really do need help and going for it.) It is a long and complicated process that involves acceptance and mitigation and hopefully the ability to laugh at yourself. You may find it in ancient philosophies or you may find it in modern psychological theory but you won’t find it in one of those “ten easy steps” self-help books.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So, true. You bring up some great points. It may be that such quick solutions actually do more harm than good. When the quick fixes don’t work it may make a person feel even worse. Like there’s something wrong with them instead of something wrong with the methodology. It took a long time for me to figure out that my own mental health was a manageable ongoing condition. No magic wand… no overnight solutions… just die-hard perseverance.

      Some of those ancient philosophies are just remarkable aren’t they? They were so wise and what they had say is still so relevant to modern society. Amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I feel like radical acceptance has gotten a lot easier for me the older I’ve gotten. It would be interesting if I could go back and tell my 20-something self the same things. Would I have listened? Not sure… Maybe learning things the hard way is inevitable for a lot of us humans.


          1. I think a lot of young people would say that Radical Acceptance is wrong and that one is supposed to be full of anger and despair and depression. Somehow not being wretched about something, even though it isn’t something you have control over, validates what happened as a good thing.

            For decades I dreaded the dysfunctional family get-togethers where relatives invariably dug up and relived old wrongs committed against them even 50 years ago as a child. They could never just let it go. Now some of those people are dead and others have become too infirm to show up, making my lie easier. They could have been so much happier!

            Is that a benefit of age to have figured it out? But then, you are still very young compared to me and seem to have figured it out as well.

            I found that by consciously letting go of the bad feelings, by neutralizing them, I could look back with more objectivity. I could see things that were actually good, those oases I came across in the desert of my youth, and appreciate them. By letting go of the buckets of bad I can now see and appreciate the trickle of good along the way. At the time I was so buried in my own pain, I missed them

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Dysfunctional family get-togethers can be solved by not getting together at all… at least that’s how my family does it these days. Sad to say.

              Letting things go really takes practice. Mindfulness has helped me a lot with this. I’ve slowly been getting better at looking at the past and seeing the good instead of just focusing on the bad… letting go of “the world has wronged me” mentality… so much time and energy I’ve wasted!

              I don’t know about figuring it all out… I suppose the only true thing I’ve learned is how much I don’t know… such an odd thing to try and accept but I know I’m hardly alone there!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. When you realize how much you don’t know you’ve learned the lesson! I keep gaining knowledge yet I keep discovering stuff I don’t know even faster. I find I am happiest not worrying about what I don’t know and just be a naked child playing in a warm rain.

                Liked by 1 person

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