Assessing Your Personal Needs in Grief

After loss, life changes dramatically for everyone grieving the death. Whether it’s a parent or spouse, sibling or child you have lost, you will be feeling the impact of your loved one’s death in some way, as will every one of your family members. The more complicated or unexpected the death, the greater this impact will be. And it’s tough to support each other in grief, because everybody is going through something different at every stage. It can be a confusing time with everyone’s needs rapidly changing.

For some, grief will last a long time. For others, they will seemingly return to normal a lot sooner, which represents a struggle for anyone trying to understand a griever’s unique experience. It stands to reason that many relationships and sometimes even entire family units break down, especially after certain types of loss.

For years I have been vocalizing how important it is for grievers to understand their needs throughout every stage of grief, most of which are not easy to understand amidst the stress and upheaval. We have to be really invested in ourselves to be conscious about what we want and need. This can be hard and even feel selfish, given that most of us are used to putting other people’s needs before our own and don’t think about them much, if at all.

Recently, I completed a couple of personal needs assessment tests. While it’s no secret how much I changed in general after my daughter’s suicide in 2005, frankly, even I was astounded to see how important structure in my daily routine and avoiding risk had become to my sense of well-being (I used to be a real go-getter). I was excited to share these results with my family so that they could finally make sense of my hesitance to do or avoid certain things that they didn’t see as challenging at all.

Their new-found understanding of these changes in me felt a whole lot more supportive than the constant teasing they have dished out over the years, which only added to my frustration of not feeling understood by them. Now, the results were right there on paper to show them just how different I am and in what ways. (Alternatively, they shared their test results with me and I was equally happy to understand them a little better too.)

It’s one thing to know that you’ve changed in your grief. It’s another to know just how much and in what ways. All of our unmet needs scream for our attention through the host of negative emotions we display on a regular basis. Yet, it can be difficult to assess what these are exactly and why we react the way we do because emotions are so numerous and complex. Many people can’t do this alone, and even if they could, they forego any interest to understand their emotions and connect them to their needs not being met. Which never turns out well for them or their relationships in the long run.

If you have experienced recent or earlier loss and are curious to see how you may have been affected by it, completing a personal needs assessment test can help you understand yourself in your grief. You may have changed or are changing in ways you may not even suspect, but that are now essential to your well-being. Assessing your personal needs will also alert you to any imbalance that needs to be corrected to keep you creating the life that you want and need.

While some online tests cost money, there are several that are free. Here’s a link to the one I found that from my search, was the most informative and least invasive in terms of the collection of personal information (none and the test results are immediate) and takes about five minutes to complete. Please note: I am not affiliated with nor am I endorsing this company or their products in any way.

Even if you have completed a personal assessment test in the past, if you have undergone significant change in your life due to loss or another impactful event, your needs will have changed, and will continue to change. People often underestimate just how true this is, which accounts for much of the boredom, frustration and misery they feel stuck in any number of situations or relationships, not living the life that they really want.

The results of any personal needs assessment test should be taken as a guide only to understanding your current needs. It is important to remember that in grief, what we feel today may not be what we feel tomorrow. Emotions are fickle. But, every little bit of awareness we can bring to our grief experience will help us evolve consciously and heal.

Whether for fun or more serious personal analysis, completing a personal needs assessment test can help you get clear about your beliefs, how they are serving you today, your character, focus, growth and balance; your strengths and weaknesses as they apply to your life in general and relationships. As this particular test drills down a few layers, it does provide a more complete picture of your personal needs to help you assess your current priorities and whether the time and energy you have allocated to them are effectively contributing to the changes you desire for your improved, all-around health.