Your Needs vs the Needs of Others – How much can you give?

My partner asked me recently: Do you believe, that in order to be able to take care of other people’s needs, you have to put your own needs aside?

This is a question I started asking myself only a few years ago. Before that, I didn’t even ask. To me, it was clear, that in order to help, to be loving and kind, which is to me a wonderful way to exist on this earth, is to put your own needs aside. Being sick, tired or completely exhausted like clockwork was the two cents my body popped into this internal Q&A.

I think the body knows best. It knows its own limitations and its way towards health and out of sickness and discomfort. The body will try to communicate these things as clearly as possible, but if you have never learned to interpret this language, then you might just have to hit rock bottom before things change. This was how it was for me.

After having 8-10 bladder infections a year and otherwise falling sick every other month or into total exhaustion (which I called the not at all yoga related “corpse pose”, lying in bed for hours, unable to move) I started understanding the signals my body gave me and progressing within tiny little units.

The underlying message was clear though: You can’t keep on giving and caring for others without taking care of yourself!

How would that even be possible? It has got to be unsustainable. In our imagination, we think of ourselves sometimes like perpetual motion machines, machines that never run out of energy because it is a system that keeps itself running since the first input of energy. But this is not how it works for humans. We are not machines, as much as our time wants us to keep up with them. And since the perpetual motion machine is within our current understanding of physics not even possible, let’s just not take this “dream-machine” as our inspiration, right?

I sometimes had to think of people who help relentlessly and just give and give. How do they do it?

At this point I am very much convinced, that we are all in a strong state of need, due to past circumstances, trauma etc. We need to take care of these past wounds first, to be able to be less needy.

I think people who are strong, energetic givers are people who have managed to untie the knots of the past. This makes them automatically less needy, less prone to breakdowns. I think humans can exist in a state of healthy energetic flow, which fuels them to be proactive and powerful creators in their lives and the world around them.

And the best thing about this message is, that with every knot you untie, you already feel better, because your whole system is more at ease, has fewer blocks to battle with.

I also think that humans will be in need, more or less, as long as they live. That is just a normal part of our existence. Food, water, shelter, rest, sleep etc. But there is a difference between having needs and being very needy.

So to come back to the initial question, do I believe having to put my needs aside in order to be able to help other? I think you can guess my answer… I exhale a strong “Noooo, definitely not”. I think we have to take care of ourselves, always, always, to be able in mind and body to take care of others in a healing and sustainable way for us and them. I think you need to take care of yourself as much as you can, because you know best, what your needs are. And you are the one that can overcome trauma and inner blockages. No one else can take on this responsibility and be as successful with it as you can.

Now, on the way, bit by bit, knot by knot, you will notice, that you can help and give from the ever-expanding pool of love and energy that you have. And this is such good news: the better you get, the less needy, the more you will be able to be there for others without the question having to be me or them? Instead, it can be me and them. In a world where you and others exist, that is the only answer, that makes sense to me.

For a while on the way towards healing, it will still feel a lot like your needs vs the needs of others. It does still often feel like that for me. But I can also already see how much love and care I have to give, without getting burned out by it, by just giving freely and sharing the love. What better way to live?

That’s it for now. Although I think I will come back to this topic. It is one of my favorites!

How do you feel about the balance of taking care of others and to yourself?


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