There are some people who are able to put their needs first and to be there for others when it is possible. In this case, it shows that they are comfortable with their own needs and don’t feel the need to ignore them.
Just as there are going to be others who only feel comfortable when they are taking care of others needs. As a result of this, one is going to be there for others but they are not going to be there for themselves.
To have needs is part of being human, and this means it is not something that one can change. What is going to cause problems is when one doesn’t feel comfortable with their needs and always ends up putting others needs before their own.
If one was to put others needs before their own on the odd occasion, it is unlikely to be something that has a negative effect on their life. Yet, if this happens all the time, it is going to have a negative effect.
Playing a Role
This doesn’t mean that other people will realise what is happening and even if they do, they might say that one is doing the right thing. Either way, one is deny their own needs and putting others first.
The reason other people are likely to say that one is doing the right thing, as opposed to telling them that they need to put their needs first, is because of how needs are often viewed. If one acts needless and is always there for others, they are often described as being a good example.
Whereas if one was to put their needs first, instead of putting others first, they could be described as selfish. So as this word often has negative connotations, it can cause someone to do everything they can to avoid being seen in this way.
But while being selfless is often seen as the ideal, to be this way is similar to building a house on sand. The house needs to have solid foundations or it will soon fall to the ground.
The First Step
When it comes to human beings, the foundations are one’s needs. Once these are met, one will have the energy to be there for others. If one was to deny their own needs and to be there for others, they will be running on empty.
The energy they do get is likely to be from the approval they receive from others. This is naturally going to have an effect on them, but it won’t be the same as it would be if they were getting their real needs met.
When it is normal for one to put their needs first, their life is going to be far more fulfilling than it would be if they were to always put others needs first. But if they always put others needs first, this could be what is normal for them.
Their whole identity might be based on them being there for others and while this is how others know them, it is not going to reflect their true self. What it comes down to is the role that one plays in order to be accepted.
On the surface, one could believe they are doing the right thing but at a deeper level, this is going to create pain. Yet, this is to be expected, as they are going against themselves as opposed to working with themselves.
However, while this is creating pain, they could experience more pain through putting their needs first than the other way around. Going against themselves is then painful, but it is not as painful as it would be if they put their needs first.
So if having needs is normal, it can be hard to understand why one would feel need to deny their needs. One might know why they ignore their needs or it could be something they are completely unaware of.
And although there are going to be external factors involved here, it is going to come down to what is taking place within them. What is taking place within someone is going to be the defining factor.
If one was to put their needs first, they could soon be overwhelmed by guilt. One is then going to believe that they are doing something that is bad. They could also cause one to feel ashamed and this means they are not only doing something that is bad, they are bad.
The trouble with feelings is that they don’t always reflect reality. Just because someone feels guilty, it doesn’t mean they have done something wrong and just because one feels ashamed, it doesn’t mean they are bad.
What it could come down to is how one’s caregivers treated their needs whilst they were younger. The ideal would have been for ones caregiver to meet their need on a consistent basis, but this might not have happened.
Instead, one may have ended up fulfilling their caregiver’s needs and this would have meant that their needs were ignored. This would have caused them to believe that others needs are important and their needs are not.
Point Of Focus
And as they had to focus on others needs from the very beginning of their life, they might not know what their needs are. It could be normal for them to know all about others needs and to have no idea about their own.
In order to move beyond this challenge, one is going to need to grieve their unmet childhood needs. It might also be important for them to receive the positive regard that they didn’t receive all those years ago.
This will allow them to get in touch with their true feelings and needs and to live from their true self. The assistance of a therapist, healer and/or a support group may be needed here.
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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.