If you do for others and neglect your own needs, you are not nurturing yourself and you are not aligned with your true self. Often people are told they are selfish if they think of themselves and and put their needs before others, but really we strengthen ourselves when we listen to our own needs. We are born into the world only with ourselves—this is our main gift to the world—us. So when we bring ourselves fully into the world, others benefit. We come home to ourselves by listening to our bodies. When we are in sync and aligned, we feel strong, and content. When we are not listening to our bodies, we get stressed, sick, and we suffer. So it benefits us and others when we listen to our needs and act to take care of them.

Our bodies are great listening devises; can we listen to the body’s messages to figure out what we need, what is best for us? This means we listen to our emotions—what are they telling us? Are we afraid? Is that a past fear or something from the present that we need to listen to? Are we angry? Is that because of something that happened in the past? Or is someone treading too close and aggressively in our space? Our emotions tell us messages about our needs. If we are stressed perhaps we have scheduled too much and expect too much of ourselves. It may be that we need to take regular time to nurture ourselves and give our bodies what they need. Listening also means that we pay attention to the physical messages the body gives us. Are we always getting sick? Are there problems with our back or knees? I find there are always emotional issues underlying these symptoms (see Michael Lincoln’s book, “Messages from the Body”).

When we are not listening to what is best for us, we stress ourselves and weaken our system—we give away our gold. When we are in touch with what is right for us and come from that place—what works for us—we are aligned, authentic and then we bring our gold to the world. When we are authentic, we are honest about our needs and how others impact us. When we are authentic we can bring ourselves fully to what we do rather than doing what others want in order to be accepted or trying to fit in by being who others want us to be. We observe what is occurring around us and see if this is a place we want to be versus trying to do something to please others so we fit in; we can look around and we can find “our people.”

If we truly listen to what is good for us and what we want and need, we nurture ourselves and then we are prepared to bring ourselves fully to life and be more present for others to benefit from our true nature and abilities. If we are doing for others even though it isn’t right for us, then we are actually coming from a place of need, wanting approval or acceptance and not from a place of authenticity. We aren’t selfish if we are meeting our own needs by listening to ourselves, we are actually selfish if we aren’t because we are doing something to get something (I’ll do for your so I am not rejected). We are hoping to not be excluded, or we are hoping to get love or recognition by doing what others want. We are (probably unconsciously) wishing that someone else will fill our needs for us. We need to fill ourselves up. When we listen to ourselves, it is an act of loving kindness that helps to heal past abandonment and abuse. When we meet our own needs we are coming from a mature place; then we can bring our true selves with our love and centeredness (as opposed to our neediness) to our relationships. When we connect to ourselves then we are able to connect to others and they receive the benefit of who we are and what we bring to the world. And then others are invited to find themselves and bring themselves forward.

As adults, we are the only ones who can know and fill our needs. When we follow a childhood pattern and rely on others to meet our needs, we stress our relationships, expect things from our friends and partners which are not their responsibility, and others cannot fill us up so we will often be disappointed. Come home to yourself so you can be filled up. Then you can truly give of yourself and connect from a place of fullness not neediness.

Author's Bio: 

Julie Roberts lives in rural Pennsylvania near Philadelphia. She consults with groups, individuals and children to help them move into their full potential. She specializes in personal and professional change so individuals overcome obstacles to productivity. She utilizes energy therapies, muscle testing, visualization, counseling, and Family Constellation work to help individuals clear the blocks in their life. She teaches graduate courses, and conducts workshops that improve leadership skills, teaches CLEAR®, and guides individuals through a healing change process. She has taught CLEAR in Russia and Nigeria. Women for Women International uses CLEAR® with its participants to help them deal with trauma resulting from conflict and abuse.