Keeping my Gas Tank Full

I have a tendency to hate my needs. I don’t like admitting that I need things. I believe that admitting that I need things is the same as admitting weakness, or some deficiency in my character.

I do need things, oxygen, water, food, shelter, safety, a feeling of purpose, sleep, rest (not actually the same thing as sleep), recreation, fun (and many more). Each of these is like a gas tank. If I let one run out, then my engine doesn’t run properly. I can, for a little while, borrow from one gas tank or another to tide over the low tank. There’s a cost.

I feel ashamed to have these needs, which is strange, because we all do. Worse, it’s counterproductive because the more I refuse to admit that I have needs, the more my needs control me. It’s a paradox: the more I embrace my needs, the less control they have.

Questions to ponder:

  • What are my needs?
  • How do I make sure that those needs are met appropriately?
  • How does ignoring my needs affect my attitudes towards others?

2 thoughts on “Keeping my Gas Tank Full”

  1. I have a similar loathing of having needs. My response to *other people* is that of course you have needs; all humans do. You have to put on your own oxygen mask first, and there’s no shame in being human. But this reasoning does not work on me.

    When I had gestational diabetes, one of the difficult parts (besides anxiety about the baby’s health) was how much my needs increased. I hate inconveniencing other people with my needs, and during those few months, I had to do it *even more.* At the same time, those needs being absolutely nonnegotiable meant that I actually did very well with self-care during that time, at least when it was something that affected my blood sugar.

    I am better with basic survival needs like food (though even there I accept the minimum requirements instead of pushing for more), but the more “optional” ones I usually let go until that tank is completely empty and it’s affecting my ability to function. And that leaves me with nothing in reserve to give to others.

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