When was the last time you have stopped and scanned your life to discern whether your deepest needs are being met? Few conversations with my friends prompted me to think.
One friend of mine is conscientious and hard-working, which leads him often to emotional and physical exhaustion. Whilst he pushes through to satisfy the ever-increasing demands of his boss, at the deeper level he craves peace, restoration and acceptance.
As empathic and highly sensitive people, we are very loyal, conscientious and want to be of service to others. It is not uncommon for us to prioritise the needs of our employers, family and others whom we love, without realising we compromise what matters to us. When we are governed by the external needs and ignore the internal voice, chances are we are depleting ourselves.
Another friend had her feelings of anger and disappointment invalidated when someone told her that she had unrealistic expectations for her partner’s behaviour and that she can’t expect people to be perfect. Her deepest need for safety and respect was undermined.
If you are an empath and predominantly interpret the world through your feelings, have you mostly ignored how you feel in the society that tends to discount emotions? If you have been invalidating what you have been feeling, thinking ‘you are probably wrong’, you do not meet your deepest needs.
I see a healthy and balanced life as a constant flow of giving and receiving. Some teachings emphasise the need to give freely and cheerfully and not to expect anything in return. How are we magically supposed to be cheerful and giving when we feel a hole inside?
I think that practising radical self-care may be an answer.
Listening to our feelings is a radical action in today’s world. Emotions are however the innate wisdom of our heart and body. Through validating our emotions, we look after our deepest needs. When we tune into ourselves, what we need becomes very clear.
Where our innermost needs are identified, we need to find ways of meeting these needs ourselves. So, if we seek acceptance, in which areas of our life can we be more accepting towards ourselves and others? How can we meet this need ourselves rather than look for it in the outside world?
Meeting our deepest needs allows us to become whole and strong. From there we can thrive and we can give. Looking after our needs is therefore the greatest act of love.
In my own life, I have identified new ways to practice radical self-care. I found more places where I want to be compassionate towards myself and more frequently ask others for support.
If you are wiling to explore radical-self care, grab a journal or piece of paper and ask yourself these questions:
1. Think about what’s going on in your life. What are your deepest needs right now?
2. Are there any needs that are not currently being met?
3. In what ways can you practice radical self-care more?