When we neglect our needs, we are far more likely to overindulge in some way.
We might binge eat at night because we have been restricting food all day.
We might go on a shopping spree and get into debt because we told ourselves we're not allowed to have nice things.
We might become power-hungry because we never gave ourselves the love and attention we deserved.
Our needs find a way to get met somehow, consciously or unconsciously. We may as well give ourselves what we want so we don't sabotage ourselves later on.
And the truth is, we don't need that much.
When I first started listening to my body and eating only when I was hungry, I realized how little I actually needed to eat, which made me see how little I actually need to buy, which made me see how little I actually needed to earn, which finally allowed my nervous system to rest after years of adrenal fatigue.
We don't need very much. But we don't know what we need unless we pay attention to ourselves. It is not selfish to pay attention to yourself to discover what you need, as this is an essential step to taking your power back from the illusion that overindulgence is natural.
Imagine the positive impact we would have on the world if we started buying and eating what we need, not what we are told we need.
Imagine how less waste we would produce, how many resources we would save, how many weight- and stress-related ailments we would avoid.
It is not selfish to discover and tend to what you need. It may be what is most needed now to heal the wellbeing of all life on the planet.
Many of us were raised with the instruction to finish our food because people are starving elsewhere. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we ate less so there were more resources available to others? Wouldn't it be amazing if we could somehow create a world where we are not stuffing ourselves to bridge an economic disparity, but rather we are reclaiming our power as conscious consumers and taking responsibility for our global community?
Taking care of yourself, learning about yourself, understanding what you need, and tending to your own inner garden makes you fit to help others. It allows you to tap into your heart and discover your gifts. It allows whatever you contribute to be an overflowing from within.
And you're far less likely to overindulge.
Many of us are so abundantly comfortable and blessed, and we have so much to be grateful for. This is no reason for self-denial. This is no reason for self-hatred, guilt, or feeling unworthy. We are allowed to feel good, to receive the gifts Life has to offer, and to let the glowing light within our hearts to be nurtured. In this way, our light gets brighter and we inspire others to kindle their own.
"Don’t be discouraged by your incapacity to dispel darkness from the world. Light your candle and step forward." - Amma