Me or You?: Balancing Everyone’s Needs

“I’m just confused and hurt! I have been friends with my contractor for years. We had multiple meetings about my home addition and I thought we were in agreement about the project. But all of a sudden he’s refusing to finish my house, claiming that what I’m asking for wasn’t in the original bid. I don’t know what to do!” Despite multiple methods of communicating and negotiating the contractor had completely stopped working until she paid him more money above the agreed-upon bid.

“I’m in love. I know technically it’s an affair, but really we don’t sleep together very often. Plus my wife doesn’t really seem to like me. As long as I’m discrete, isn’t it ok?” Berry looked like the cat who’d swallowed the canary (as my grandmother used to say). “So if I understand you correctly, you want to keep both your wife and your girlfriend,” I hesitantly summarized. “That’s why I came to therapy, so you can help me figure out how to do that.”

“She is always mean to me. She goes out of her way to take business away from me.” “Can you give me some examples?” I asked cautiously. “Well, if clients try my product and hers, they always end up choosing her,” Marcy angrily spit out. “That sounds really frustrating. Maybe we could explore why that is happening?” I asked. “Nope. I just want her to go out of business.”

Part of a psychologically healthy person is the ability to balance self and other’s needs and wants. It turns out that Mattie put her friend’s needs over her own, Berry was putting his own wants above every one else’s, and Marcy had spiraled so far into anger she couldn’t even see that her revenge thoughts didn’t benefit anyone, including herself. This week take some time to notice when it’s time to focus more on yourself and when it’s the right moment to explore the other person’s needs.