I literally took to my bed. For two weeks. I didn’t work. I didn’t even get up during the day.

Exhausted, no voice and a constant need to sleep, it was clear… I’d made myself sick doing for everyone else in every capacity imaginable. The Universe was telling me to that there’d be no more of that!

So I took to my bed and stayed there for two weeks with no guilt. And I had no intention of getting out until I was damn good and ready.

But in that time, I pondered…. a lot.

I thought about who I was and what I wanted forgetting about everyone else for the first time in a long time.

I came up with some answers and a lot of clarity happened as a result of those two weeks in bed.

So I’m setting them to a 5-question format for your reflection.

The catch is, you actually have to act on or embody what you discover about yourself… no more hiding behind facades to make others happy.

Here they are…

What makes you feel loved?

Another way to ask this is, “What’s your love language?” Don’t know yours? Dr. Gary Chapman wrote this now-famous book, The 5 Love Languages and it really is helpful in identifying which of the 5 love languages you speak.

I can see mine have changed or evolved over the years, as I have changed. It really helps you get clear on what and how you feel loved. And how those around you feel loved because everyone’s definition of love is different. There is no right or wrong way but it is something you need to know about yourself so you can get what you need.

How much alone time do you need?

I have a friend, who is an introvert, who seems to always be doing for other people with a revolving door of houseguests coming through her door. As a fellow introvert, the thought of that sends my system into a panic! I have learned that I need a lot of alone time to recharge myself. Others are recharged by being around other people. There isn’t a right or wrong way to be, but it makes life a lot easier when you know which one you are. Being aware of what you need here let’s you set your life up in a way that re-energizes you rather than drains you. Ask yourself whether some of your exhaustion is in part coming from that.

What past hurts or traumas affect how you relate to others in various relationships?

Pick something from your past, most likely childhood, that very much affected you. When that happened, you needed a way to cope. From that moment on, you developed a pattern, a behaviour, or an action, that you took whenever something that you saw or felt was similar was happening or about to happen to you. Those patterns and stories you tell that keep you stuck? This is where they come from. And you need to be aware of them so you can shift them. It is the difference between happy or stressful connections with others.

What do you need to feel safe and open to intimacy?

This is deeply personal and different for everyone. And it is usually not just one thing. Often, many of these needs are developed in childhood. It’s often a blend of traits, some overt, some subtle. And many times, it is something that you can only feel. You know when it’s there and you sure as hell know when it isn’t. It’s that thing you can’t put your finger on. And it is different depending on the relationship. For me, before I open up with someone in a friendship, I need to know that this is a no-judgment zone. Many people can say that but their actions can’t back it up. With romantic connections, I need him to give off the vibe, “I got this”. Whatever this is. I need that deep sense of trust before I feel safe to open. Again, it is something that can be felt, it’s energetic. Most times, your rational mind will not be able to explain it.

What is it for you? Do you need a certain amount of money in the bank to feel safe? Complete honesty? Help around the house? Faithfulness and loyalty? There’s no wrong answer but I will tell you this… if you don’t know what you need, how do you think you can articulate that for someone else? Which you have to do because people aren’t mind-readers.  

What are your hopes and dreams for your life?

When you are on your deathbed and you’re looking back, what do you want to have experienced in your life? What regrets do you hope you never have? How do you want your days to look? What personal dreams, without anyone else attached, do you have for yourself? We so often get stuck on the checklist we were told to fulfil, the one that was supposed to make us happy, that we don’t actually stop to ask ourselves, “Is this what I really want?”.

Usually, the first time we stop to think about that is in our 40s. Before we know it, half our lives are over before we’ve thought about what we really want.

And all I have to say is this: You have one life to live. It isn’t too late. Ask yourself these questions. Learn who you are. Learn what you really want. Fall in love with yourself first. And then bring that complete being to all of your relationships.