Kirk: I've noticed something regarding when I don't take care of my own needs, and instead do what I think is loving. Once the other person starts to feel better, I sometimes start to feel worse.
The feeling might be something like, “Now it's my time to be able to fall apart, to be needy, to get sick, or to get attention.” Then it might appear that the way to get these needs met is to be helpless, pitiful, whiny and all that good stuff. The game becomes about who has to take care of whom. Am I going to love or am I going to be loved? Am I going to be strong or am I going to be weak? Am I going to be the adult or am I going to be the child? Am I going to be the abundant one or am I going to be the scarce one? Am I going to be the leader or am I going to be the follower? It seems the list of polar reactions goes on forever. Plus, it is really unpleasant when both people are feeling needy and neither person is willing to be the “loving” one.
Alana: Yes. Isn't it interesting what two half-empty, half-full beings get when they come together? They have to keep trading their halves.
Kirk: I feel that the greatest gift that I can give to someone, is to love myself—to model self-care. That does not mean that I live in isolation or that others can't contribute to me. It also doesn't mean that I am self-centered. It means that when I am taking “response-ability” for finding out what is important to me—what I value or need—I am clearer when I relate to others. If I'm not aware of what I value, and taking steps towards meeting those needs, I may attempt to get others to change their priorities and value what I value. The deep unconscious assumption is that others must know my needs (often without me saying what they are), agree with me by valuing what I value, and then get busy taking care of me. If they don't, that means they don’t love me.
Alana: We sometimes get confused by the concept of “needs.” What is a need? Well, it's definitely not, “My need is for you to do what I want.” Sorry! The true need is much deeper than that.
Kirk: That's why it can help us to learn to start with whatever the surface need appears to be, and then go deeper. That way we can discover whatever the core need is. It seems that a basic, universal need is to love and be loved. What you’re saying is that if we want others to love us, we can set a good example by first loving ourselves.
Kirk: I find that sometimes our minds will misunderstand what we've been discussing in these first two principles. Someone may sometimes say, “Oh. Okay. I'm not supposed to let others care for me. Self-care and self-love is the good and right way. Now I will only be cared for by myself.” Then we go from codependence to complete independence (which is totally impossible). Then a sense of separation arises. We bounce from others to self, from together to alone. That’s more either-or thinking.
Alana: Then we mope and get sad because we feel that we exist alone in the universe.
Kirk: And then we miss out on a big opportunity. We only need to create the intention of self-love and the universe will mirror back love from someone else. As we'll be discussing very soon, we are all one.