It is a challenge for some people to put their needs first and this is going to mean that they have a pattern of putting the needs of others first. This may mean that one takes care of their needs after, but it could also mean that one’s needs are not met.
And while being selfless is often portrayed as something that human beings should aspire to, it is not healthy to be in a position where one ignores their needs for the needs of others. This is not to say that there won’t be times in ones life where they put other people’s needs first, as there are going to be times when this is appropriate.
But when this becomes a way of life, one is going to be compromising their wellbeing for other people. This could cause them to gain positive feedback and for other people to admire them, but it won’t do much else.
Their need to be accepted and approved of might be met, but one is only receiving these things because they’re putting other people’s needs first. And this is not going to be the same as if one was putting their needs first and then being accepted and approved of by others.
One’s life is then an expression of their false self, and this is a mask that one uses to survive and to fit in. At times one might need to wear a mask, but if this becomes a way of life, it is going to lead to problems.
And as part of this false self, ones needs are secondary and the needs of others are primary. They might be aware of their needs, or they could be a mystery.
Connecting to the needs of others is then something that is natural and doesn’t require much effort and yet, connecting to one’s own needs could be challenge. In some cases, it might be more accurate to say that one is unable to connect to their own needs.
The need might be there to fulfil ones needs, but through being out of touch with their needs, it is not going to be possible for one to fulfil them. However, whether this need is there or not, not only can one end up being disconnected from their needs, they can also feel compelled to meet the needs of others.
Out Of Their Control
Being there for others is then something that can ‘just happen’, and one then feel as though they have no control. This might be how one has always been and this is therefore normal.
One may have formed an identity around meeting other people’s needs and this may then have played a part in the kind of profession they have. This is not to say that one doesn’t feel good through being there for others, but if their needs are not being met, they’re going to be running on empty.
If one is able to tune into their needs and then go about fulfilling them, it could cause them to experience anxiety and fear. And as way to regulate this inner experience, one can end up fulfilling the needs of others.
It is then not possible for one to meet their needs and one can end up going round in circles. Through doing this, one is able to stop themselves from feeling uncomfortable, but as a result of this, their life is not going to change.
To have needs is part of being human and therefore, it is not something to feel ashamed of. Based on this, it should be normal for one to feel comfortable with their needs and to be able to have them met.
What is not normal is for one to only feel safe when they are putting other people’s needs first. However, even though it is not normal, it is something that is normal in their life.
And the fear that one experiences when it comes to their needs can relate to the fear of being abandoned. So if they were to put their needs first, they would feel abandoned and below this feeling is likely to be the feeling of being helpless and that they will die.
Now, one is an adult and this means that it is highly unlikely that they will die if another person leaves them. If one did put their needs first they might find that while some people won’t accept them, there will be plenty of people who will.
What Is Going On?
What this shows is that although one is physically an adult, and they may also have a well developed intellect, their level of emotional development is way behind. As a child, one didn’t have the ability to regulate their emotions and to be left would have felt like the end of the world.
During these years, one may have been neglected during certain moments or have been left for long periods of time. Putting their caregiver’s needs first may have been something they had to do; as if they didn’t, they may have been left.
While time has passed, how one felt all those years ago has stayed trapped in their body. And as they feel the same way, it is then causing them to re-create the same reality.
The emotional experiences of the past need to be faced and released; through this, one will be able to feel comfortable with their needs and no longer feel like a child. The assistance of a therapist or a healer may be needed here.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 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.