That needs differ is something we have a hard time integrating. We are taught as children to treat others as we would wish to be treated ourselves, but the peanut butter sandwich we might love, could cause a problem for someone with an allergy to peanuts. Even without getting into allergic response, a vegetarian would not love the prime rib that someone else might need (they may have a greater need for carnatine, and not know that’s why they love beef).
It’s a great first rule for teaching kids to look beyond themselves, but the lessons kids need are different than the lessons we need as adults and elders. Sometimes needs are a result of our environment, in Southern California, the need for water is apparent, in the northern states, shelter and fuel for staying warm are critical, in Florida or south Texas, people (without the coping mechanisms of the indigenous people) need air conditioning to survive. In crowded cities, some private time may be something that requires conscious effort, whereas country folk may be more aware when they don’t have chances to socialize.
I have often said that if you take care of people’s needs: make sure that they are hydrated, fed, rested, and clean, they can probably handle their other problems. When I say that people will point out other needs that I haven’t considered- have people taken their required medications, or had enough sex. These are things that others think about because they have to, and I have been blessed enough that those needs are not on my radar.
We each have to keep track of our own needs, even if that means asking for help with taking care of them- or even keeping track of them. Don’t feel badly when you need help, you can restore balance by helping someone else with something they need. Remember, just because you need something now, doesn’t mean you will always need it (your last round of antibiotics, for example). Just because a need isn’t constant doesn’t make it a “want”. Accept your needs as part of the flux of life because you are wearing a body just now.