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Focusing Tip #661 – “My needs always come last.”

Focusing Tip #661 – “My needs always come last.”
June 19, 2019 Ann Weiser Cornell
“My needs always come last... or I don't even know what they are, so they come nowhere.”

Focusing Tip #661 – “My needs always come last.”

Is it hard to know what you feel and need when you are with other people? Read on…


A Reader writes:

I appreciate that Focusing let me explore how I feel. That has been really helpful to change some longterm painful issues. My problem is that when I am with other people it is hard to know how I feel. It is much easier to see the needs of others. Like somehow that is all I see… what other people need and want. My needs always come last… or I don’t even know what they are, so they come nowhere!

Dear Reader:

You remind me of me! This was my biggest issue when I first learned Focusing. Other people’s needs and feelings were in neon lights, and my own needs and feelings were such soft tones that I could hardly ever access them.

This connected to my early “training” in being a good person, and in my case a good woman (girl). “You should always put the other person first.” Nobody ever told me that in so many words… but it was crystal clear from the way my mother and her friends behaved.

As a result, I had a very hard time knowing how I felt and what I wanted. Just as it is for you.

Here’s what changed that for me:

As I started to do Focusing more and more, I began to get in touch with things that I had felt in a past situation. Like: “Oh! I really felt hurt then! But I couldn’t know it at the time.” Or, “I didn’t want to say Yes… but I felt like I had no alternative.”

At first I got in touch with how I had felt months before. But slowly the time between the interactions and feeling the feelings got shorter. It went from months to weeks to days.

I remember what a thrill it was when I actually felt a reaction to something that someone had said earlier that same evening! (And yes, now I am up to the present time…)

So my recommendation to you is that you keep on getting in touch with what you were feeling in past situations… and also being compassionate to that part of you that makes it hard to do that in present time… and just be open and keep checking in the present.

Your feelings will show up in time. With your kind welcome, how could they resist?


Some other tips you might find helpful:

Focusing Tip #657 – How can we bear the suffering we see?(Opens in a new browser tab)

Focusing Tip #648 – “I’m practicing saying Hello to what I feel but it doesn’t work(Opens in a new browser tab)

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