There will always be times in life when we need to turn to the support of others. The connections we make in our daily lives can be sources of incredible inspiration, comfort and joy. However, when we learn to fulfill our own emotional needs, we can experience greater autonomy, self-esteem, peace and purpose.
Strategies for Learning to Fill Your Own Needs
Here are some practical steps you can take as you learn to fulfill your own needs after recovery.
- Identify Your Needs
Before you can meet your own emotional needs, you have to identify them first. This sounds easy, but can be difficult, especially if you are recovering from alcohol or drug dependency, where you reinforced escape mechanisms more than coping strategies. If you have been part of an abusive relationship, a trauma victim, or emotionally dependent on someone else, you might also find this challenging at first. The good news is that as you begin to ask yourself what you need emotionally, you will get more adept at identifying lacks and pinpointing solutions.
- Give Yourself Permission to Have Your Needs Met
Oftentimes, we overlook ourselves during dependency. Remember that you are worthy of affection, safety, relaxation and even pleasure. The Universe has a purpose for you, and you deserve to be emotionally fulfilled in the process. Use positive mantras, meditation, and affirmations to reinforce your importance in the world and validate giving to yourself.
- Develop Self-Confidence
The surest route to self-confidence is action. Take on challenges and make goals, following through with necessary actions. As you begin to invest in yourself, you will begin to see the results, and naturally want to rely on yourself more. Remember that no one can take care of you the way that you can. Trust yourself and learn to follow your own path and your own intuition. Empower yourself with education, resources, and creative outlets to help you achieve your goals.
- Take Baby Steps
Sometimes, we back away from filling our own needs because we feel overwhelmed at the prospect. Write a list of your needs and break them down into actionable steps. Congratulate yourself for each step you accomplish, checking it off your list. Tie a reward to milestone accomplishments, and remember that every misstep is a learning experience with a purposed lesson for you.
- Plan in Advance
No one can live in a constant state of crisis and feel fulfilled. Plan your days in advance, taking care of yourself, scheduling your time, and allotting time for exercise and rest. By planning, you will enable yourself to experience more flexibility, greater confidence, and the assurance that you will have time and resources to get what you need.
- Acknowledge Your Personal Resources
Each one of us was born with a unique set of personality traits, talents, and spirit. Make a list of your personal assets, and the things you can provide for yourself that no one else can. When you feel overwhelmed, acknowledge your personal power, and reread your list of resources. Consider overlooked talents such as ability with people, resourcefulness, organization and optimism as well, since these traits will serve you well in accomplishing your goals and achieving what is in your best interest.