What do you need? Why Being Selfish is sometimes a Good thing!
Contribution by Guest Blogger, Yiska Obadia.
A theme for 2012 has become clear to me as I declare this the year of knowing what I need. It’s not about just knowing what my needs are but also honoring those needs. It sounds simple, but I’ve noticed in both my life and for others, that so often when a concern or upset is consuming us, there is some need that we have either failed to identify or failed to honor. And by needs I’m referring to what we need to be healthy, to be of service, and to flourish in our relationships, with self and others, in our careers and in relationship with all our life’s desires.
Somewhere along the way, many of us learned that in order to avoid being selfish, we must put other people’s needs ahead of our own, – that selfishness is a bad thing. The irony is that we end up being of most service when our needs are handled, not necessarily to the exclusion of others but never to the exclusion of ourselves. And many times when our needs are not being met or acknowledged we will rebel in anger, resentment, dissatisfaction, or reactivity, which of course never serves anyone.
Even our bodies will show signs when we are disconnected from our needs through the appearance of various symptoms. Additionally, the upside for others when we act “selfishly” rather than “selflessly”, when we provide others with a service or something they need is that everyone can be clear that we are doing what we’re doing for ourselves, our own needs, so nobody owes us anything! The giving is free and clear and never comes back to bite you.
Back to our needs, the truth is that sometimes, even if our needs are not or cannot be met in a certain situation, our awareness of what those needs are can evoke compassion and empower us to better communicate our needs and make choices from a clear, centered and self-connected place. For instance when we see that behind an upset is a need for love, connection, inclusivity, purpose, appreciation, respect, self-expression, support, etc., our upset might make more sense and we might feel compassion for our humanness. We can find strength in being aware, connected, and responsible to our needs rather than bemoaning a world that appears to threaten or hasn’t met them. It works the other way too. When you’re feeling great, if you reflect on all the needs that are being handled to generate such a sense of wellbeing it becomes clear, our needs are the cornerstones for our happiness.
My husband Sam Gedal, a sensuality life coach has always talked about the freedom of surrender, specifically how the greatest surrender is not to the needs and desires of others, but to ourselves, to our desires and the needs that support us in manifesting our dreams and help us make our unique difference in the world. And I’ve always loved this quote, “when people take care of themselves, everything else gets taken care of.”
This year I’m proposing the awareness and honoring of our needs as a worthwhile path for peace, fulfillment & happiness. I’m giving it a whirl, and invite you to do the same.
Here are some key take-aways:
- The next time you are feeling some kind of upset or breakdown see how many needs you can identify underneath your concerns. Ask yourself what needs are not being met and name them.
- Embrace the needs themselves and love yourself for having them.
- Communicate these needs to the people in your life.
- And look at what choices and agreements best handle your needs being met.
- Get to know your needs before the upset by noticing what needs are being satisfied when you are feeling really great.
- And the next time you do something for someone else, identify the need you are meeting for yourself by doing that thing, recognizing they do not owe you for your kindness, generosity or service.