Honoring Our Needs

by Karl Smerecnik on April 24, 2012

Keep your eye on the needs and you will have clarity about what to do next

When I come to accept, honor, and have a deep love towards the things that are important to me (my needs), I experience incredible freedom and empowerment and feel naturally drawn to contribute to others.

Let me unpack this with two examples and some explanation.

When I value my health and wellbeing, when I really deeply respect the way my body functions, and acknowledge it’s needs for nutrition, rest, exercise, etc., I naturally develop a passion to take care of it. I don’t have to force myself to exercise, I don’t need to guilt trip myself into eating healthy, I don’t need to should myself into getting more sleep. Instead I joyfully make healthy choices because I’m deeply connected to the need I am serving behind those actions. When my body is in harmony, I am able to be a far more effective resource for social change.

Let’s look at another example. Tonight there is an international speaker that has been invited to the community where I live to give a presentation. Most other people in the community are going to the event. I don’t feel like going.

I could should myself to death, thinking things like, “Karl, you really should go to this event, you should show respect when visitors come to your community, you should be part of community activities, and you should stop being so self-centered.” Or perhaps I could get caught up in the fear of what other people may think of me, “Karl, when people see you aren’t going to this event, everyone is going to have critical thoughts towards you and think you don’t care about the community. They are going to think you are selfish and they are not going to treat you with respect.” Or I could start theorizing about reality, “Karl, you know the reason why there is so much suffering in the world is because so many people are acting only on their own interests and here you are doing the same thing – you are the cause of suffering in the world!”

There are an endless number of mental stories or thoughts I could get caught up in related to this situation and ultimately I have learned they contribute very little to my life. Instead of my mental story telling, I want to get focused on honoring my needs. What is alive for me tonight is inward exploration, creating order, and creative expression. When I am honest with myself and accept that this is what is important for me, then honor those beautiful needs and cultivate a love for their existence in my life in the present moment, I feel empowered and inspired to act on their behalf. And here I am I feeling energized and inspired sharing what I believe to be a very important message with the world through this blog post.

When I honor my needs, I experience freedom to do the things that bring me fulfillment and aliveness. When I’m connected to my aliveness, I naturally want to contribute and have no desire for a reward or gratitude (a very common motivation behind many “selfless” actions). My experience has taught me that when I contribute from this state of being, it often has the greatest impact. This process of contributing is also rejuvenating and gives me energy, as opposed to other forms of contributing that may drain my energy and may not have as valuable of an impact.

When people are disconnected from their own needs, how can they be truly connected to giving to other’s needs? To heal the world we must start with healing ourselves and that means honoring our needs. When we have clarity about our intentions, values, and needs, the inspiration to create a meaningful and loving life naturally flows. Inspired actions inspire others; when you feel the pull of inspiration, it’s time to act.

Have you had an experience where honoring your needs greatly contributed to other people’s needs? Please share!

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