While one may find it easy to take care of other people’s needs, they might find it hard to take care of their own needs. Putting other people’s needs first and being ‘selfless’ is often glorified; whereas if one puts their needs first, they can end up being portrayed as ‘selfish’.
But to say that one option is better than the other would be inaccurate, and this is because they both have a part to play when it comes to living a fulfilling life. If one is unable to be selfish and to take care of their needs, it is going to affect their ability to be there for others.
Their own needs are not being met and so one is not going to be at their best. One may come across as having it all together but as their needs are not being met, one is going to be running on empty.
And if one is always selfish and doesn’t consider the needs of others, they are also going to suffer. Through being caught up in one’s own needs, it is going to cause other people to look the other way and to look for someone who is not as self-absorbed.
Ideally, one will live a life where their needs are met on one hand, with it also being possible for them to meet other people’s needs on the other. This shows that they are in balance and that they’re able to give and to receive.
Generally, it is not going to be a challenge for them to be there for others and this is because they‘re able to be there for themselves. This is not to say that one will never feel exhausted or drained, what it means is that this won’t be a way of life for them.
The candle is not being burned at both ends so to speak and one taking care of themselves. On one side then, one is aware of what they need and on the other, they’re making sure that they get what they need.
And while being connected to ones needs is one thing, it is also going to be important for one to believe that their needs are important. When one is comfortable with their needs, it is going to be a lot easier for them to fulfil them.
This is also going to mean that one is in touch with their body and doesn’t live in their head. And as one feels comfortable with their needs, their outer reality is likely to reflect how they feel.
But while being connected to ones needs is a vital part of one’s ability to live a fulfilling life, this connection doesn’t always exist. Instead, ones needs could be a mystery or one might find that they’re aware of them at certain times.
And if one is not in touch with their own needs, then there is the chance that other people’s needs have taken over. They could then come across as someone who is always there for others and their behaviour is likely to be applauded.
Running On Empty
But whether one ignores their needs by being there for others or just ignores their needs in general, they’re going to suffer. In some cases, one might not be getting what they need to survive, let alone thrive.
This could mean that one doesn’t eat enough or that the food they do is not good for them, that they don’t get enough sleep or that they’re unaware of their need to rest. Perhaps ones appearance ends up being ignored or that one allows themselves to put up with behaviour that is dysfunctional, amongst other things.
Now, in order for one to be aware of their needs, they need to be connected to their body. It is through having this connection that one will know what their needs are. And then one will need to believe that their needs matter or else, they will still ignore them.
As ones needs are an important part of who they are, it can be hard to comprehend why they would ignore them. It is clear that they are important and that one needs to pay attention to them.
What’s Going On?
The reason one is out of touch with their body and doesn’t believe their needs are important is likely to relate to what happened during their childhood. How ones caregivers responded to their needs is going to affect how one responds to their own needs.
So during this time, ones caregivers would have ignored ones needs and one may have had to focus on their caregivers needs. This sets one up to believe that their needs are not important and that the needs of others are what matter.
Having needs is then something to be ashamed of and therefore one is going to feel the need to hide their needs. But as their caregivers didn’t provide the attunement that they needed to form a connection to their needs in the first place, one is unlikely to be aware of all their needs.
These experiences can cause one to be traumatised and a natural response to trauma is to leave the body. So while one may avoid pain by not being in their body, it also causes them to disconnect from their needs.
Based on this, one may need to deal with the pain in their body so they can get back in their body and become aware of their needs. How one felt all those years ago may have remained in their body and this is stopping stop one from being able to feel comfortable with their needs. The assistance of a therapist or a healer may be required.
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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.