May 23, 2019

To Thine Own Needs Be True

I was reading Cleo Wade's book "Heart Talk" when a particular passage jumped off the page and struck me right between the eyes.

"Knowing our needs is a limitless superpower, one that can help us make all the big decisions in life." 

Obviously she's not talking about our basic needs like food, water, or shelter. This is more complex. But needs are a funny thing. Or at least they are for me. 

I grew up thinking other people's needs were more important than mine. I grew up thinking that if I could make sure people and things around me were okay, then I'd be okay too. Typing that brings a bad taste to my mouth and makes it seem like I was trying to be some sort of a martyr for a cause but it wasn't that. I don't know what it was. Sometimes I still don't.

Cleo goes on to say that we should be unapologetic when it comes to our needs. And I think I agree with her. Although there's part of me that thinks that seems selfish. Do you see where the struggle lies folks?

Since we like to blame our dysfunction on things like religion, how bout trying this on for size? When I was growing up, there was a banner in my Sunday School class at church that said the word JOY down the left hand side. And the "J" stood for Jesus, and the "O" stood for Others, and the "Y" stood for Yourself. The idea was this is the order of Jesus first (I ain't arguing this one), others next [as in put others needs above your own....see my issue above], and finally yourself.

I get this in theory. And I'm not saying it's bad to avoid being a selfish person. But come on! Was this really the best message to give an insecure, people pleasing, self-worth doubting child such as myself? I don't think so.

I can't say for sure, but I want to believe this (and other messages like this) had a great impact on my beliefs that my needs just didn't matter as much. And that if I somehow was looking out for number one (aka myself), I was being a selfish, horrible, terrible spoiled brat. 

In my head, things are black and white. This has also served to be a GIANT stumbling block for me.

It causes me to believe that

1) Either your needs matter more (which is what I always thought was true)


2) My needs matter more (which is what I never thought).

I never even considered a reality in which BOTH OF OUR NEEDS could matter. BOTH, PEOPLE!!! BOTH!! [for the record, I'm yelling this at myself for emphasis]. 

You can't address your own needs until you know what they are. And you can't get to know them until you acknowledge that you have them, and that they are worth acknowledging.

But you can't push past them every single time and not expect disastrous outcomes. Outcomes like being angry all the time. And sometimes saying snarky things to people. And hating everyone and yourself.

There's a place that exists where we feel tired, and heavy, and resentful, and angry, and out of touch with ourselves, and completely separated from our own hearts. And in that place, we are miserable and eventually, we are liable to break. 

When you've reached your limit, stop. 

When you get tired, take a rest. 

When you just can't even anymore, just don't even anymore. It's OKAY. Seriously.

Nobody has to understand. Nobody has to approve. Nobody has to give you permission.

You know your own self better than anybody else and you know your own needs better too (if you first acknowledge them).