"...recognize that it is okay to have needs, that it is okay to identify with what your needs are, and to hold them as non-negotiable elements."
Wow, what a concept: non-negotiable values. These are the attributes of what we *have* to have in a person, place, or thing.
Many of you know that I worked with clients for a decade or so doing counseling, personal and relationship coaching, and a variety of transformational processes. Without a doubt, the most destructive pattern I've observed, in any type of relationship, is people not being clear about what is negotiable and what is not. In other words, who they are and what is important to them. If a person stays in a relationship, without knowing and standing up for their non-negotiable needs, they will never be fulfilled. Happiness will always be just around the corner, when the other person will supposedly change. Having opposing values is a sure sign that developing a healthy relationship may be a real challenge.
I like to say that the energy a person is in a given moment, is their "prayer" for their future. Everything--every thought, feeling, and action--is a manifestation/creation process. Staying in a relationship because it meets some needs, but not those that are most important, is a prayer for more of the same. A person who is "putting up with" someone with whom they're relating, can never enter into creating the relationship of their dreams. And I'm not talking just about love relationships. The principles are the same for all relationships, from friendships to business.
What keeps us stuck in these unuseful patterns? Not knowing who we really are. When we do engage in discovering our true selves, we can then find the courage to take action and make changes. Through self-love, we can find the courage to tell the truth about who we are, what we feel, what we need, and what we're going to do.
Oh, and another thing: Thinking of self-love as selfish is...well, think about it. If you don't fill yourself through self-love (like a well being filled with water) how will you be able to love others (offer them water)? If you're not worth enough to love yourself, what prayer are you sending out about how you want others to treat you? If you don't love yourself, you will be relying on others to do your job. In that case, when others love you, you will be full (for a little while, perhaps). But when you don't receive love from others...you'll be empty. When you're empty, your prayer is to receive more of the same. When you're full, your prayer is receive more of the same. Love yourself, fill yourself with love, and you will attract people who are doing the same. Now *that's* a great relationship!
What about people who are feeling empty and in need of love? Show them how to love themselves, by your example. Be full. Once you're filled with self-love, you'll have plenty left over to spread around and be more apt to develop a healthy relationship. But don't fall into the trap of becoming others' SOURCE of Love. Instead, learn to empower others, mainly by your example, to look inside and discover who they really are. A loving expression is to point them back to themselves. Once they learn how to know themselves--discover who they truly are--it will be natural for them to love what they discover. Each of you will be well on your way to developing loving and healthy relationship.
Find another article on personal mission development by identifying non-negotiable needs.