Transformational Talk ... a column by Penelope Young Andrade
Are You Selfish Enough to Have a Good Relationship?
February 01, 2017 -Penelope Y. Andrade
Are you selfish enough to have a good relationship? Like many, you may be focused on nurturing relationships by being attuned to others’ needs. While this is essential, getting your needs acknowledged and met is just as imperative! When your needs are not an equal priority, relationships often devolve into martyrdom, duty and distance. The challenge is that asking for what you need likely involves confronting long-held judgements about being ‘selfish’, ‘needy’, ‘undeserving’…or the ubiquitous, toxic notion that if have to ask for something it doesn’t count.
Here’s the tip: First, see if you’re willing to face inner judgements. Be gentle. Seek a supportive ear or shoulder (professional or peer) so you won’t be alone while exploring this. Once connected and safe, look inside for a little person who got labeled selfish by unskillful parents or an early decision made not to reveal needs to avoid disappointment. Sad, mad, scared feelings will surely arise as you grieve these wounds. Stay in your body and allow emotions to move through to relief. Breathe in that relief.
Finally, reach across time to your inner child. Let him/her know: Of course, you were selfish as a child…that’s how children are! Of course, your needs deserve to be seen, heard and attended…that’s your birthright! Of course, you need to speak up when loved ones don’t notice what you need…that just means they’re in a self-centered daze, not that your needs are wrong. Help them out, ask for what you need…this reminds them they’re not alone. Your relationship will be stronger. You’ll feel better and so will they!.