What is it that drives us to be available to everyone else instead of ourselves? The parent who cancels their yoga class to do one more carpool that day. The neighbor who offers sympathy at the BBQ and then accepts calls all night long from a neighbor in crisis. The parent whose children’s requests make them miss their ride to work and/or deadlines. The person who spends over ½ of their time responding to random requests, instead of developing and following their own vision for their work. In each of these cases, they put their own needs below the needs of others.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Do we think others can’t do things without us? Do we anticipate a negative response if we are not available? Are we trying to prevent a disaster? Perhaps we feel that our highest value is when we respond to others, so they get what they want? How did we get here?
Most of us were trained to focus outside of ourselves to get our needs met. When we were very young, we depended on others to get ALL of our needs met. Ideally, over time, as we grow and develop, we are taught how to transition to relying on our internal compass to guide us in meeting our own needs. Very few of us had caregivers that we’re able to teach us how to do this, so we continue to look outside of ourselves for validation, acceptance, support, attention, money, safety, guidance, healthy choices, love, and so much more.
When we see others as incapable of meeting their own needs without our assistance, it creates dysfunction in our relationships.
What if others could learn to meet their own needs more easily when we see them as capable and treat them as such? We can stop giving them the answers and instead invite them to look inside for answers. What if each time we choose being available to ourselves instead of another, we assist them even more? Perhaps when we are NOT available for this self-loving reason, they turn inward for their own answers instead of seeking it from us. The flip side is also true. If we see ourselves as incapable of meeting our own needs without another’s assistance, we may want them to be available to help us get our needs met. Most of us have played both roles.
What if we started to become more available to ourselves? To our own inner and outer experiences as the expert that knows what is best for us in each moment? When we are fully available to ourselves as our first priority, we are much better equipped to discover and attract what we most want to experience and contribute. From THAT place, we can make healthy choices for ourselves and for those that we care about and want to see flourish.
Instead, of needing others to be available to us, we can share our inner experience with others and let them know what we are doing to best take care of ourselves. We can invite them to do the same for themselves as we grow stronger together.
We contribute to our highest possibilities when we value and honor what we need most in each moment. When we stay ‘available’ to ourselves, we cultivate this space to discover and respond to our own internal needs, moment by moment, situation by situation. When we share our experience and what we are doing to take care of ourselves with others, we inspire them to do the same for themselves. This generates new energy, new collaboration, and new solutions.
How will you start becoming available to you?