Your needs are important. But you rarely learn how to honour your needs to the best of your ability when they arise throughout your days, weeks and even throughout entire lives sometimes! In some, it might be a case of always putting other people first (something I’m not unfamiliar with, being an empth) but sometimes, it might just be a case of not truly being able to identify and express your own needs.

how to honour your needs

We are notoriously bad at honouring our own needs, instead opting, more often than not, to just power through it or put off honouring those needs until tomorrow. I think we’re getting *better* at acknowledging when we might need to step back, step out, give up or slow down. But a lot of us still have work to do. Especially women, saddened to say.

Women are SO good at putting everyone else’s needs before their own. Being there for everyone, all the time, yet failing to notice when they’re feeling stressed, frazzled or close to burnout. I can definitely relate to everything I’ve just said. Of course I’m not saying men don’t do this too. I just think women have a more innate need to be there for everyone – despite their own needs.

So in this post, we’re going to highlight some easy ways to honour our own needs when they arise. But I think the first step here is acknowledging that we can and should put ourselves first sometimes and that it’s not selfish to say “no” because you want to focus on honouring your own needs instead.

So, lets take a look at how to honour your needs when they arise:

how to honour your needs

Identify what your needs actually are

We often mistake needs for wants. Both important – but not the same. Our wants typically change over time whereas our needs rarely do. Our wants are often in a much larger quantity, as well as being more specific in nature. For example, “I want to get a promotion at work”.

By identifying that want – to get a promotion at work – it will help you establish what your need is in that specific situation. For some, the need that comes from wanting to get a promotion at work, is so that others will recognize your competence and hard work and gain more respect from your colleagues.

Learn to listen to your body

Not always but our needs can often present themselves in our bodies. Some in very obvious ways, like needing a nap when you’re exhausted or having a glass of water when you’re dehydrated. But others are more subtle and require us to tune in to our inner voice to uncover what those needs actually are.

For example when we feel frazzled or when we need to spend some time alone. I often feel that in my body. I get tense and agitated. I feel like my body is curling up into a protective ball and I know I need to take myself away to tend to that. This is often the type of need that requires me to do a meditation session or some restorative Yoga.

Figure out ways to honor your needs yourself

You shouldn’t ever wait for someone to honour your needs for you, like a friend or a partner. Although spending quality time with these people definitely CAN help us honour our needs, taking it into your own hands is the most empowering thing to do.

That’s not to say you can’t bring other people into the mix. If you desperately need some alone time to relax and unwind, you might want to head to a massage therapist or get a facial from a professional.

Set those boundaries

Boundaries are so important in most aspects and areas of our lives but they can be hard to implement. You might want to start by setting polite boundaries, if you’re not quite ready to completely cut things out of your life yet. And that’s absolutely okay – setting any type of boundary is hard and requires the upmost respect for yourself.

Look at your relationships

Looking at how to honour your needs means looking at your relationships. Some relationships are great for helping us fulfill certain needs, others are good for another type of need. And I don’t think any one person in your life should be solely responsible for helping you fulfill ALL your needs.

Some relationships don’t align with us anymore and actively go against us honouring our own needs because we’re continually making ourselves feel worse by trying to maintain a relationship with a potentially toxic person. You need to figure out how to manage your relationships which will inevitably, help you honour your needs.

Manage your time

I recently discovered the book Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman, which I head Leena Norms talking about on a YouTube video and I was instantly intrigued by it. It will completely change your opinion and concept of time, time management, the idea of *wasting* time and much, much more.

But that’s a whole different topic for another time but what I wanted to include here in this point about managing your time when it comes to how your honour your needs, is that you NEED to give yourself time to do so. And stop thinking of it as a check-box exercise.

Create space for self care

Self care is crucial for honouring your needs because it gives you the tools and resources to know what’s right for you and what’s worked for you in the past. Stepping into looking at our own self care practices under a microscope can be a fascinating activity, which can definitely help you honour your needs.

You need to create space and time for self care. Whether that means taking yourself away from your normal environment to avoid distractions to putting it in your calendar. You’re not honouring your needs by pushing away self care until tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after that.

Want some more self care content? Check out these posts:

how to honour your needs

When you stop honouring your own needs, you feel it. Perhaps not at first but you will. You’ll feel it in your body (it might get stiff and ache), you might feel it in your mental state (you might start feeling low or burnt out) and you even might feel in spiritually (by not feeling aligned with your beliefs or unconnected to the world around you).

I can say with confidence that over the last few months, I’ve not honoured my needs on multiple occasions and I’ve definitely felt how I’ve just highlighted above, especially the point about feeling disconnected. It’s a horrible feeling. So now you have these tips and ideas, I hope they can give you a helping hand the next time you feel like you need to know how to honour your needs.

Over to you! Do you have any tips to add to this post about how to honour your needs? Let me know in the comments!

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49 Comments

  1. This is so true, women do have a bad habit of putting other peoples needs before their own. And then life itself can be challenging. We all need to devote time to self care and our own space. And loving these photos. So funny I read another post tonight about self care and she mentioned bubblebaths and wine. I think the Universe is trying to tell me something!

    Allie of
    http://www.allienyc.com

  2. I agree with everything in this post! One thing though, the reason women are “so good” at putting others first is because we’ve been trained to do that both subtly and pointedly right from the start. I could go on an entire rant about it but yeah we are taught that it is selfish to put ourselves first even for simple things like eating first in the family (in my country). We need more of these posts and callouts to change that idea. Lovely post, Jenny!

  3. I relate to this so much! It’s hard to always know what I need and then to follow through – it’s okay to be a little “selfish” sometimes. And you’re right. Needs and wants aren’t the same. It’s important to make that distinction for ourselves. Thanks for the tips and the reminder to take care of ourselves. You can’t help others if you’re running on empty, right? xx

  4. I don’t have any tips as I’m still working on this myself but I definitely think it’s perfectly alright to let those relationships go that aren’t good fo r you! Have always been a people pleaser but learnt the hard way it shouldn’t be like that, trying to put myself first more now!

  5. This is such a touching post that everyone should read! I’ve been doing a lot of personal work to ensure that I meet and honor my own needs. Some days are harder than others. I get anxious and overwhelmed easily which leads to me becoming distant and irritable. Whether my partner is there or not to *help* ground me, there are things I can do myself to bring me back to my center. These tips were all super helpful Jenny, thank you for the great post! x

  6. I love this! There is so much great info here – I know that I have definitely struggled with confusing wants and needs in the past. I think it’s so important to dig into the wants like you described and find out what’s at the root of that. Not only does it help us make room for our needs, but it also helps us identify if that specific want really is the best way to address that.

  7. This is such a interesting read Jenny, thank you so much for sharing with us. I’ve now realised after reading this how blooming terrible I am at noticing my needs and that’s something I defiantly need to work on. So, I very much appreciate these tips and will be putting them to good use. I’m notorious at not listening to my body and instead, pushing it and pushing it until I make my illnesses worse/flare – it’s a really bad trait of mine which I think these tips will help me work on that. This was a really great post lovely which I think will help a lot of people! Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

  8. I love what you say about how not honoring our needs may not feel like a big deal in the moment but that constantly ignoring what we need ultimately builds up negatively in the long run.

    Thanks for sharing some awesome, simple ways to stay in touch with ourselves and listen to our needs. 🙂

  9. These are all great ways to honour your needs. Listening to your body and setting boundaries are especially important. Thank you for the reminder to slow down and to take care of ourselves!

  10. Ooh I love this! Learning to listen to our bodies is so important. I’m currently in the process of setting more boundaries and reevaluating a lot of my friendships, and, although it’s been tough, it’s also been such a good feeling so far – I’ve always struggled with putting myself first so I’m proud to slowly be getting there. Thank you so much for sharing x

  11. Excellent post! Setting boundaries with people is really the hardest thing. You have to step back from time to time and really focus on what you can do to make little improvements over time.

  12. Thank you so much for this! This is a great reminder to just slow down and remember we’re literrallyyyy doing our best! I feel like Men are lacking this kind of encouragement and we need to normalize this for everybody. 💛💛💛

  13. Learning to set boundaries is one of the most important parts of self-care, and I think it goes unnoticed so often so I’m glad you included it here.

  14. I love this post, but why do we wait until we are frazzled and burnt out before we act on it. I am still working on this. Literally just broke my own boundary on something and that’s because I’m not used to saying no. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Setting boundaries is so important. Also letting people know that I won’t be doing certain things that they’ve got used to me doing sometimes, because habits lead to complacency, and my time is every bit as precious as theirs. Lovely post, Jenny, and perfect selection of photos too! x

  16. I love this post! Setting aside guilt to say yes to yourself instead of others! It’s not how many of us were brought up so it’s difficult to break those old habits. Thanks for sharing some ways to do exactly that. Thanks, Jenny.

  17. I like to step back and take a deep breath when I find myself a little fazzled or just frustrated by what I want or need. I usually give myself a couple of days to figure out if I really need something or just want it. I try not to make decisions instantly when it comes to my needs/wants. Like you said, wants can change, but needs rarely do.

  18. I am all about taking daily baths. Yes, daily baths – even in the summer time. I love baths and I am out of bubble bath, bath bombs etc. I go through a lot of them! Since I am out of everything at the moment, I use my husband’s Old Spice shower gel which can also be used as a bubble bath. I don’t mind the smell even if it makes me smell like a man haha. Gotta do what you gotta do. 🛀

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