“Even in the loneliest moments I have been there for myself.” ― Sanober Khan
I have been struggling with finding the balance between my wants and my needs. That especially has been a challenge as it relates to my relationships.
What are things I want…but could live without? In other words…what are the negotiables?
What are the things I need and can’t go without? What are the essentials?
Most importantly…to what extent is it appropriate to ask another person to either of these things? Is it ever appropriate?
I find that MANY highly sensitive people seem to struggle with this question. They tend to be a relatively self-aware bunch. Or…at least…they tend to have the desire for self-awareness in common. There is a hunger. A longing to understand the inner workings of whatever we are calling a self.
As a result, we HSP are fairly good at identifying what our needs are and what our desires are. Right up until we are in the presence of another human being. Once another person is in the equation, everything goes to shit.
From what I have gathered…when trying to create any kind of relationship (romantic relationships being one of the most challenging) we realize that there are actually three sentient beings involved. There is me, there is you, and there is the relationship. To keep the whole thing going, we need to find a way to balance the needs of all three parties.
I make no claim to speak for all of my highly sensitive comrades. BUT – of those I have met and what I can at least say for myself is that meeting this balance stirs up a number of really tricky questions.
- How can I meet my own needs while also meeting your needs…when my go-to response is to meet your needs first so that we don’t have conflict (because God forbid there be conflict. THAT is extremely uncomfortable).
- By the time I do want to communicate my needs KNOWING that they might conflict with yours…to what degree will we be able to compromise?
- How do I give us both enough space to remain fully functioning individuals…but still figure out a way to give a little of ourselves to this fledgling of a relationship?
- How do I remain detached enough to be mature and self-aware…but attached enough to create intimacy?
- And how the fuck do I communicate all this effectively? Are you aware of how hard it is for me to voice my needs? It’s like pulling off a bandaid…but a bandaid stuck to my skin with super glue. NOT an easy thing.
I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. It’s why I consistently seem to struggle in my relationships. It’s hard to keep these balancing plates spinning on the proverbial sticks in the carnival of life. Really hard.
Where I keep landing, though, is in the same place. It all has to start with me. And for you…it has to start with you.
We all have to put ourselves first. Not in the sense that I must come at the expense of you. That’s just selfish. I’m talking about ME taking the time to fill up my cup before I ever entertain giving any of it up to you or to us.
Over and over again, I find that when I am rested, exercised, fed, and calm…I am a pretty fabulous person to share space with. Because I’m not in your way. Or maybe the better thing to say is that my shit isn’t in your way. In our way.
Trying to share any emotional space with another human being before taking care of myself feels a lot like inviting someone over to my home before I’ve cleaned up. Sure we could sit down and share some tea. But the cups aren’t clean and there is laundry all over the couch. Maybe we could sit on the floor?
Instead, it’s better to clean things up so that the whole affair can feel relaxed. It can feel like a meeting you might even want to repeat at another time…rather than something you would dread coming into.
So whatever challenges you might be having in whatever relationship you might be having them in – the only thing I can say that has helped me is the singular reminder that when all else fails…put yourself first. Take care of yourself. Love yourself. Because you fully charged is probably a lot more fun to share a space with and try to build a relationship with than you and a tank that is only half full.
But what are your thoughts about this? How do you balance between your needs and the needs of your relationships so that both stay strong and vital?