Getting our needs met is part of mental health and happiness.
By Dr. Ken Larsen
Dr. Glasser explains that when we are not getting what we want in a situation, we look for a behavior to make an adjustment. This usually occurs when one of our basic needs is being frustrated. He encourages us that if we don’t have a learned behavior to deal with the problem, our brain’s creativity will often provide what we need. Recently I discovered how true this can be.
I was at one of our local warehouse retailers. I had run in to pick up a couple of items, leaving my wife outside in the car. I wanted to get in and out of the store quickly. I found what I wanted and was headed to the checkout counter when this bubbly young lady jumped in front of me and held out some sort of cleaning device. I was protesting verbally and non-verbally that I wasn’t interested. She continued to thrust the item into my hand proclaiming that it wouldn’t bite me. When I could not not take what she was pushing into my hands, she got a little satisfied look, evidently thinking she had overcome my sales resistance by getting me to accept what she offered. She then began to get into her sales pitch. The item was evidently some sort of floor cleaning device. “What kind of floors do you have?” She asked with her charming smile and bubbly manner. I didn’t want to be rude, but I did want to escape, so without a second thought I blurted in reply. “Wall to wall.” She was expecting me to say hardwood or carpet. She didn’t know what to do with “wall to wall floors.” Taking advantage of her dismay I handed the item back to her, smiled, recovered my freedom, finished my business and left the store to rejoin my wife.
I later told this story to a friend, marveling at how that simple unrehearsed response “wall to wall” enabled me to meet my need for freedom in that situation without unduly distressing the young sales girl. Dr. Glasser had been right. The creativity of my brain had provided what I needed in that circumstance. Getting our needs met without depriving others of getting their needs met is part of mental health and happiness.