If someone focuses on other people’s needs and does what they can to make sure that they are taken care of, they can end up being seen as a ‘good’ or ‘selfless’ person. One can behave in this way when they are at work and when they are around their friends and family, for instance.

By behaving in this way, then, it is not going to be uncommon for them to receive positive feedback from others. Along with this, they are not going to spend much time looking after themselves.

One Focus

Ultimately, their attention is primarily going to be on other people, not themselves. If there are times when they do put themselves first, this will be something that very rarely takes place.

But even if they do take care of their own needs from time to time, they could end up feeling extremely uncomfortable soon after. Taking care of their own needs is then not going to be something that feels good.

The Right Thing to Do

As a result of this, they could soon start to think about how they shouldn’t take care of their own needs and end focusing on others once again. And, as so many people are likely to provide them with positive feedback for behaving in this way, there is going to be no reason for them to change their behaviour.

Taking care of their own needs won’t feel right and taking care of other people’s needs will; therefore, being there for others and not themselves will be seen as the right thing for them to do. This could be how they have behaved for most, if not all, of their life.

A Painful Existence

However, while behaving in this way may be what typically feels comfortable, it doesn’t mean that they won’t have moments when they experience deep discomfort. Unlike the discomfort that they feel when they do take care of their needs, this discomfort will come down to the fact that they are ignoring themselves.

By not paying attention to their own needs, they are likely to carry a lot of anger, resentment and frustration. This can always be there but by focusing on others, they might generally be able to keep it at bay.

In Denial

The pain that is inside them will be there to notify them that they are living life in the wrong way. Yet, due to the relationship that they have with their own needs, it won’t be possible for them to embrace how they feel.

Thus, instead of embracing this pain and changing their behaviour, they will just have to deny how they really feel. This pain will be there to serve them but due to how they perceive their own needs, they won’t be able to listen to it.

A Destructive Outlook

Taking care of the needs of others and ignoring their own may appear to be the right thing to do, but this is an illusion. This doesn’t mean that one should only take care of their own needs and ignore other people’s needs.

The sensible thing is for one to take care of their own needs and to be there for others; this way, one will have the energy that they need to truly be there for others. If they don’t live in this way, it will be normal for them to run on empty.

An Important Thing To Realise

If one was able to take a step back and to reflect on why they behave in this way, what they will probably find is that they believe that other people’s needs are more important than their own. Furthermore, they may find that they believe that they are worthless.

Hiding their needs and being there for others can then be a way for them to avoid being rejected and abandoned. What this will show is that it is not that they are selfless; it is that neglecting themselves is seen as the only way for then to survive.

What’s going on?

If one has experienced life in this way for as long as they can remember, it is likely to illustrate that they had to take care of their caregivers needs during their early years. Instead of receiving what they needed to be able to grow and develop, they would have had to act like a parent.

They would have had to ignore their own needs and to be there for their caregivers. This would have caused them to believe that their needs were not important and that they had to ignore them in order to survive.


Not receiving what they needed to receive would have left them in an undeveloped state and this is then why they don’t have a strong sense of themselves. If they did, their whole identity wouldn’t be based around them being there for others.

They would be able to be there for themselves and they would be able to serve others. Along with this, they wouldn’t try to do things for others that they should do for themselves.


If one can relate to this, and they want to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided by the assistance of a therapist of a healer.

The false-self that they show to the world will gradually need to be phased out so that their true-self can see the light of day. This will happen as long as they keep going and don’t give up.

Author's Bio: 

Teacher, prolific writer, author, and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over two thousand, two hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.