The Art of Meeting Your Own Needs

Okay, so I started a 12-day cycle of medication last week to help ease my aching joints, and one thing my rheumatologist said has stuck in my head ever since: one side effect is that you will likely be crazy when you are on it. like crazy, crazy.  Um, okay.  Not the worst side effect I can think of, but certainly a mysterious and somewhat creepy one, if I'm honest.  But okay, I can handle this.  It's only 12 days.  Right?

Well, as far as I can tell, I haven't become crazy yet (or not any crazier than usual, ha!) and I am 7 days in, so that must be a positive sign.  What it has led me to do is get all up in my head in a different way.  A way that is related to my needs, or how to go about meeting them, to be more exact.

Over the years I have really honed in on exactly what it is that I need to be happy.  Body, mind, and spirit.  And though they are relatively easy-ish things to accomplish and incorporate into my daily life, they don't always happen.  Far less often than I care to admit actually. (anyone else?)

I find myself at my happiest when I eat a healthy diet, when I get my body moving several times a week, when I meet up with friends and family even more often than that, when I keep myself busy, when I get good sleep, when I show patience and compassion towards others, when my husband makes me laugh like crazy, when I feel loved, and when I am doing things that I love to do, like write. (this means that I am happy right now - win!)

Sounds easy enough when I say it out loud to myself, but I must admit that meeting my own needs is a bit of a struggle.  And the less often I meet my needs, the less motivation that I have to put into them, and the cycle continues.  I come home tired from work, greeted by chores and laundry and that ever so comfortable quilt calling my name from the couch, and any good intentions go straight out the window right along with my resolve.  I blame the quilt, I really do.

I have mentioned this in previous posts on reflection, but I really (like, really really) need people around me who are positive, supportive, encouraging, motivating, kind, inspiring, and true to themselves.  When I am around people like this, I too feel all of these things.  This is true of both personal and professional environments for me.

Now, always one to look for a lesson in a difficult time, I realize that perhaps my realizing that I can't function nearly as well when I don't have these things, is a sign that this is something I should work on.  Something that I should strive to get better at.  But is it okay to admit that I genuinely need this, and that I can't do it on my own?  They say it takes a village, and I realize they are speaking of raising children in this popular sentiment, but what if it does?  What if (gasp!) it's okay to admit that you can't do everything on your own?  That you can be independent and strong and capable, and yet still need support and love and inspiration from those around you?

What if we celebrate these necessities that help us be the people we want to be... because we all have them, in our own way.  Vulnerability is a tricky thing.  It means showing what might be perceived (by you or others) as weakness.  And that is not a quality that many people are comfortable associating with, myself included.  

Sometimes I think it is these strong qualities that are read to mean that someone doesn't need help or advice or a shoulder to lean on.  I think it is easy to assume that they are good and don't need anything from me or anyone else.  But if my circumstance is any indication, then this is not only inaccurate but completely unhelpful.  

So, that's the easy part.  If this is the realization that I have come to, how do I go about this?  How do I create this village, this community I seek?  I have to remind myself to be more open, vulnerable, honest, kind, compassionate and wholeheartedly me, if I want this to have any hope of working out for me.   I have to get better at making sure that my own needs are getting met in order to have any hope of meeting the needs of people around me.  Because, happiness breeds happiness.  

How do you make sure you are meeting your needs?  Does "scheduling" things in (even if you are the only one participating) make it easier to follow through?  Open to suggestions!

Here's to the year of vulnerability and opening myself up to new experiences and making sure that my own needs are being met (mostly by me).