Even if you're genuinely the sweetest person alive, you've felt frustrated by another person, right? Or you've gone after something sought by others, like a job, or a house...or even a parking space!
Let's say you and someone at work are competing for an opportunity. There is only one spot available and you both have your sights set on it.
On a basic level, what is your need here?
Spoiler alert: Your need is NOT for the opportunity itself. Depending on what the opportunity is, your need may be for financial security. It may be for growth and progress. It may be for acknowledgement of your hard work. That particular opportunity is a vehicle, or method, for fulfilling that need.
So ask yourself: Is there another way to get your need(s) meet without this specific opportunity?
You could get a promotion or an award. You could even change jobs or branch out on your own. You could find another source of income.
The point here is:
Reflect on a recent conversation that could have gone better, or a conflict you experienced. Maybe you're battling with a significant other, or a friend, or a boss, or a customer service representative. Strip away the rest and drill down on what your common, basic needs are. Maybe it's the need to provide a cohesive, stable environment for your kids [spouse]. Maybe your needs are to feel supported and heard [friend]. Maybe you need to feel valued and trusted [boss]. Maybe the needs are efficiency and reparation [customer service rep].
Focus on those common needs and remember: at our core, we all have the same basic needs. What varies are our ideas for how to meet those needs. Some seek validation through fancy possessions and high socioeconomic status. Some look for love in toxic relationships. Some think hoarding what's "theirs" [time/money/ideas/energy] is the only way to ensure there's enough for them. Some of these methods work, and some not so much. Some are harmless, some are harmful - to self/others. Whatever your method is, try to choose one that serves the highest good. So let's do our best to remain open and empathetic to others as we navigate life and work on getting those needs meet.
Anger could stem from a need for respect that isn't honored. Confusion could signal a lack of communication and honesty that are needed. Impatience could be from a need to be understood. Or lezbereal - maybe you're just friggin' HANGRY and need some F O O D!
Strive for internal and external awareness, and look for ways to meet those mutual needs. If you're ever in doubt regarding just what those needs are, do your best to communicate with an active ear and an open mind. If possible, eliminate assumptions and seek confirmation from the other person/people. Put down the gloves and halt the hostility. Sometimes opposition/competition is unavoidable (e.g. vying for a job, or spot on a team, etc) but at the very least, identifying those needs helps you relate to and empathize with the other(s).