As we grow and mature we gradually learn to clothe, feed, and shelter ourselves. We learn to protect our physical selves from danger and disease and to provide for not only ourselves but others as well. What we are generally not taught is how to fulfil our own inner needs intellectually and emotionally. Those inner needs are:
- Protect ourselves
- Care for ourselves
- Value ourselves
- Respect ourselves
- Love ourselves
We have fallen into the belief that other people should be doing these things for us. We feel victimized when other people fail to protect us. We feel abandoned when other people fail to care for us. We feel worthless when other people fail to value us. We feel unworthy when other people fail to respect us. We feel rejected when other people fail to love us. Other people fail to do these things for us because no one is doing those things for them. We’re all in the same boat here. We have also come to believe fulfilling our inner needs is the responsibility of whoever is in a relationship with us. If you loved me then you would … (fill in the blank).
The reality is that almost no one is fulfilling the inner needs of another person, and when they do, there is often a price to be paid. We are also back to a basic principle; you cannot give what you do not have. If you are unable, or unwilling, to protect yourself, who is going to do it for you? When we were children our parents were responsible for protecting us. Now that we are adults that responsibility is ours. It’s the same for the other inner needs. Now that we are adults that responsibility is ours. We are responsible for protecting ourselves, not only physically, but intellectually and emotionally.
I’ve always had to smile at the saying, love thy neighbor as thyself. That is the cause of most of the world’s problems; we don’t love ourselves, so we are unable to love anyone else. Again, you cannot give what you do not have. If there is no love in your heart for yourself, there is no love for anyone else either. Fortunately, there are ways we can start to fulfill our own inner needs and in doing so, we can mature intellectually and emotionally. This simple process can save us from the emotional devastation and intellectual crippling that has limited our function and our life so far.