When we are aware of our needs, we are connected to our our self and our humanity. This connection is like the connection a mother makes with her child when he is needing something. It is empathetic, it is concerned, it’s coming from a place of wanting to be of service, to help. It is love.
When we reflect back to ourselves the names of the needs we identify, we are trying to understand ourselves, to see ourselves, to know ourselves. And that other part of us that is needing something feels that. That part of our self feels understood, seen and known. This is love. Thich Nhat Hahn writes, “Understanding is the essence of love. If we cannot understand, we cannot love.”
When we connect to our needs we are essentially loving ourselves. We are caring for ourselves. And when we try to meet those needs, or mourn them if we are unable to meet them we are loving ourselves even more deeply. Skillful practice of self care is checking in with our truth with every decision we need to make, every choice we have, in order to determine which one will best meet our needs. When I honor my truth, I am caring for myself.
Trying to change ourselves to be the person we can love is an impossible task and I know no one who has done it. But getting to know ourselves–especially the soft vulnerable “why” we are the way are or do what we do–can lead to a self acceptance and then self love that then makes changing our self completely irrelevant. As Vinnie Ferraro, one of my meditation teachers would say, “We can’t hate our self into happiness.”