Today I’m expanding upon a recent Instagram post that embodies something central to my heart and work.
Here’s the post:
When we start taking our own needs seriously, the neglected parts of us begin to feel safe (maybe for the first time).
We start to feel a level of safety, security, and peace.
The energy we’ve spent trying to ignore those neglected parts now goes into nurturing them.
It can be scary to face the aspects of ourselves we’ve been trying to ignore, but when we do, we find that they are vital parts of us, eager to be loved.
Often we shy away from acting on behalf of our neglected parts because we carry so much pent-up distress from weeks, months, or years of deprivation.
In some cases we feel anger, resentment, or a bottomless pit of grief over how long we’ve lived in a desert of hungry desires.
In other cases, it can feel scary to take the lid off of our true selves and naked needs. We don’t know how to have necessary conversations without losing it.
And often, the intensity of our need frightens us. To attain our desires could bring everything together… or, it could make everything fall apart.
So time crawls by… and we feel vitality trickle away.
As a therapist, coach, and educator, I have a shameless bias:
I’m on the side of your needs.
I know that fulfilling them fills up the tank. It takes us from existence back to life.
Yet, I feel strongly about keeping pace with yourself. Waiting until you’re ready, and going as gently as possible.
That’s why Step One is always, always this:
Just begin to listen to your needs.
Don’t pressure yourself to act on them.
When we make a practice of listening, we organically begin to gather the perspective and strength to act.
When we’re ready. On no one else’s timetable but our own.
(If you’re wondering how to listen to your needs, see What to do about unmet needs – Part 2!).