While there will be times where will be important for someone to focus on the needs of others, there will also be times when this isn’t the case. This is not to say that one will need to spend half of their time being focused on other people’s needs and half of their time being focused on their own - as it is not that black and white.
The most important thing will be for one to be aware of their needs, and for their life to be based around the fulfilment of these needs. One person could agree with this, and another could see this approach as being ‘selfish’.
They could say that when someone focuses on their own needs they end up ignoring other people’s needs. In their mind, it is not going to be possible for them to see how they can fulfil their own needs, and be there for others.
As a result of this, they are going to focus on other people’s needs and feel as though they are doing the right thing, or they will focus on their own needs and feel as though they are doing the wrong thing. One is then going to be ‘selfless’, or they will end up being ‘selfish’.
But although there can appear to be only two options, with one being ‘better’ than the other, there is another option. And whether one comes across as though they are always there for themselves or always there for others, they are still putting themselves first.
when one is always there for others, it can create the impression that they are putting their needs to one side. This is because people are judged based on what they do, and not on what is taking place within them.
Therefore, it won’t matter what their true intentions are, and they will generally be seen as an example to follow. Yet, if someone was able to look at what is taking place within them, they are likely to see that there is more to their behaviour than meets the eye.
When one puts other people’s needs before their own, it is going to allow them to receive their approval. On one side, it can seem as though they are ignoring their own needs, but on the other, it is clear that they are still fulfilling their needs.
The key distinction here is that they are not going to be focused on all of their needs; they are only going to be focused on their survival needs. Receiving approval from others is then not just something that makes them feel good; it is something they believe they need in order to exist.
If they were to embrace all of their needs and they were no longer obsessed with others people needs, it is going to be seen as a threat to their survival. This is not just going to be seen as something they believe, it is likely to be seen as the truth.
There is then going to be the mask that they show to the world, and then there is going to be the person behind the mask. On the outside, they may create impression that everything is fine, but this is likely to be in stark contrast to how they really feel.
However, as they believe that they can only survive by pleasing others, it is not going to be possible for them to reveal their true self. But one won’t have to feel as though their life is under threat in order to feel uncomfortable.
Before they even get to this point, they are going to feel guilty and ashamed for having needs. It then won’t matter that there is nothing wrong with their needs, as they are going to feel as though it is not safe for them to have them.
Having needs is part of being human, and just because someone embraces them, it doesn’t mean they will ignore other people needs. What it does man is that they will be able to live a life that is worth living.
For it is through fulfilling one’s own needs, that they will be able to full the needs of others. This then allows them to be there for others without having to end up running on empty.
And while it is easy to believe that one is ‘selfish’ for putting their needs first and ‘selfless’ for putting other people needs first, there is more to it. For example, if one focuses on their own needs and creates something, it is going to enable them to fulfil other people needs.
Whereas, if one was to focus on others and didn’t fulfil their need to create something, they are not going to be able to fill other people’s needs. This shows how important it is for one to take care of their own needs.
So if one was to let go of their need to focus on other people needs, they are going to feel as though their time on this earth will soon come to an end. It is then not possible for one to be an individual; they have to be who others want them to be.
The support that they need from others will be seen as something that will only appear if they do what they want. However, while this is likely to be what is normal, it is not something that ‘just happened’.
Their younger years will have been a time where their needs were ignored, and they would have ended up taking care of the needs of the people around them. At this time, it would have been something one needed to do to survive.
One would have ended up disconnecting from their own needs, and gradually developed the ability to focus on their caregivers needs. It wouldn’t have mattered that their true self had to go into hiding, and this is because they needed to be accepted.
This is then going to mean that one’s developmental needs were not met, and is going to mean that although they look like an adult, they are not going to feel like one. They were expected to act like an adult before they even had the chance to act like a child.
In order to move forward, it will be important for one to grieve their unmet childhood needs, and to be affirmed for who they are. This is something that can take place with the assistance of a therapist or a healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.