My needs vs another’s needs

I’ve had some more inner wrangling today. I have a situation in my hands which has given me a conflict between looking after my own needs and helping another.

A girl I had not met before needed a place to stay for 2-3 days a week and as I have a spare room I invited her to stay here free as she is a cousin of my sisters husband. However the 2-3 days have become 4-5 days a week and that isn’t working for me. I value my solitude a lot just now.

So what to do? Confront her gently about it and restate my boundaries, or be quiet and let her stay most of the week. She is an adorable woman by the way, really a delight to be around. But it is not about her, it’s about what I need right now, and if I had known she was going to want a place for 4-5 days a week I would not have invited her.

Well first a whole lot of self judgement came up. My conditioning has taught me that the needs of others are more important than mine. I have been used to trying to ignore my needs as a result. It is the virtuous way to be I was taught. Give unto others and all that. I know from experience that leads to inner resentment though, and I was starting to feel that.

In recent years I have learned to listen to my own needs, and to honour them. It has been tricky to learn, to get though the ingrained belief that I don’t even have a ‘right’ to have needs of my own, that I am not allowed to pay attention to them or honour them or pit myself first. That is selfish in a bad way according to the inner conditioning. Childhood stuff, and general standard female conditioning too I think.

Nowadays I include myself in the compassion I feel for us all. That means self compassion and self respect. That means looking after myself. It has taken a while to learn to recognise my needs after a lifetime of trying to ignore them. It still feels scary to express them, and downright terrifying to put them before the ends of others! But I do now recognise them.

So this is what I did today though. I sent her a letter stating that 2-3 days is what is being offered, and reassured her that I like her and that it’s about me, I need my own space.

I congratulate myself on this as it was hard to do. Well done!  I went through a lot of suffering knowing that I was going to have to state my position to her. I got some help beforehand from a good friend who helped me walk through the various beliefs that were coming up and that reduced the tension. I feel relieved now but, I don’t know what she will say to the email. I do not like rejecting or hurting people and there is a risk she will feel hurt. I am sorry for any suffering it may cause, but right now all is well in this moment.

This was the raw material that life sent my way, and I am grateful for the opportunity to view my responses, my fears and conditioned beliefs and to use the experience to retrain myself into a new habit of being kind to myself.



  1. Thank you for your encouragement Liz. Most of us are so well trained just to button it, and avoid offending others at all costs, including costs to ourselves. I feel this is a big growing up step, though I’m still feeling nervous about her reaction. But I know it will all work out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done you for doing this. It is hard and it can be the confidence to just do this and the worry of doing this. But you have still offered a few days and I hope this person understands this. You do need to look after your needs too. I like my own space too.

    Liked by 1 person

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