It’s so revealing about us collectively, that we have created this word in the English language: “needy”. The word is so charged, so loaded with judgement. It’s often used an as an insult: being ‘needy’ is the least cool, least attractive, least desirable way to be or to show up in the world.
What does this say about our culture?
Firstly, it shows how uncomfortable we are in owning the vulnerability that we have needs. That being loved, receiving care, affection, being seen, feeling a sense of belonging etc. are basic human needs. When we say someone is needy, what we are usually saying is that they are not consciously in touch with their needs and are behaving manipulatively in order to get their needs met.
We pretty much all do this, in our own ways….
I believe that in this world, it is really hard NOT to be needy. The way we live and the general attitude around being comfortable with having needs, creates the perfect conditions for neediness.
Our disconnect from nature (that can give us our foundational sense of belonging, nourishment and sensual communion ), our general disembodiment (where it’s the normal way of life to distance ourselves from what our bodies are telling us), our lack of community and pervading sense of separation… this all creates a dearth of connection in our lives.
Through my enquiry into my own neediness, here are three things I have found to be supportive:
1) Feel the depth of our longings… allow the discomfort, grief, anger, melancholy, pain or whatever feelings are connected to it. Our feelings are compasses that reveal something important. They bring us back into our bodies and into softness and our humanness and our universal, shared experience (rather than being functioning machines). They motivate us to DO something rather than stay in the realms of functioning, surviving or endurance. Feel, feel feel, and hold ourselves tenderly in those feelings. Notice if there is shame or guilt around longings or neediness and remind yourself it’s OK! Our needs are precious.
2) Find ways to give yourself what you long from others. Can you tell yourself you are beautiful? Can you deeply see yourself? Can you give yourself the same tenderness and touch that you long from a lover? I noticed that the specific things that I feel like I want to demand from my lovers and get reactive when I don’t receive, are all the things that I haven’t quite developed the capacity to give myself. When we are able to receive from ourselves, we create the soil within us for gestures/words to truly land and embed in us from the outside.
3) Learn to ask, make requests and initiate! Ask someone for a hug, or to be touched or for the words that you want to hear. Go to that cuddle workshop. Book a massage. Or make the changes in your life to invite in more connection/love/intimacy. We might live in a touch or connection deprived world but we also live in a world where there are so many opportunities and services and offerings to meet our needs for connection or to support our transformation to be able to live with a greater abundance of connection. Making requests, asking for support, creating changes in our lives to invite more connection is not neediness: it reveals great courage and strength.