How do I stop relying on others? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Nicole Gravagna, PhD Neuroscientist, President of NeuroEQ, on Quora:

When you feel constantly disappointed by others, one solution is to decide that you'll solve the problem by no longer relying on others. That's like burning your house to the ground because you are disappointed about how unkempt it has become.

There are a few great ways to improve your likelihood of being satisfied in your relationships with others.

  1. Diversify - Diversification is great advice in financial investing (don't put all your money in one investment and pray that it supports you forever). Diversification is good advice in relationships too. It's impractical to think that one person (your loved one) is able to fulfill your needs all the time. Find a team of people you can turn to in times of need. You can develop friendships and reciprocal support relationships with 5-10 people and look to them to fulfill your needs. It's a big world. Go meet people.
  2. Recognize your lack of emergency - Unless you are hanging from a bridge by your fingertips, you are probably not going to die if a specific person can't give you their attention immediately. You might feel desperate, but it's just a feeling. Sit with your desperation and ask it whether you are truly about to die, or if it just feels that way.
  3. Identify your unmet needs - It's amazing how strong our needs can feel, yet how hard it is to describe those needs in words. Do you have a need to be seen? A need for affection? A need for safety? Check in with yourself when you are feeling particularly disappointed by others and ask, what need is going unmet here?
  4. Make requests, not demands - It doesn't matter what words you use, when you won't take no for an answer, you are demanding something. When you approach another person, willing to hear a yes or a no, then you are requesting. Demands don't work. Learn to request things from others.

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