Neediness, something I used to be the Queen of. I was needy in friendships, needy with partners and in relationships, I was just plain needy. Needless to say neediness can give off a bright shining beacon saying ‘I’m needy, stay away!’
I’m writing this article not to criticise anyone who feels needy. I know what it feels like to feel needy and I still have moments of neediness, particularly if I feel vulnerable, tired or poorly. I think we all do, but it’s worthwhile tapping into that neediness to discover what is missing that you may be looking for in other people or situations.
Needing To Be Me
There comes a time in our lives when we have spent a decade needing others to give us what we need, to fill that void and we try to be what they want of us and we lose ourselves in the process. After a long period doing this I began to realise that I would rather be without those friends who were not really present for me at all, and that I preferred to be alone rather than to be needing others to fill that gap. Especially when it was obvious my neediness was pushing them away or they were not prepared to meet me half way, especially in friendships. A time alone can be so rewarding and in my poem Letting Lonely Go I traced the journey from lonely to aloneness and to how many gifts there are when we embrace the feeling.
When We Choose To Belong
A short while ago I realised I had this big ‘I’m an outsider’ complex. I felt this need for connection yet I also pushed it away. I was so used to feeling that I didn’t belong anywhere that I never imagined that I did belong wherever I was. In my post When You Don’t Feel Like You Belong, Do This I talked about how one day at a development circle I began to say to myself ‘I belong’ and from that day forward I felt my experience with the circle members changed. I now have some great friends from the circle and my friendships with others are continuing to grow and this all came from acknowledging and accepting my authentic self and realising I am worthy and deserving of being liked for me, exactly as I am.
However, this was a process, it took time and it had to begin by acknowledging myself first and realising that I had secondary benefits from feeling that I didn’t belong. Mindfulness was the beginning of this self acceptance journey.
So You Feel Needy? What Can You Do To Change This?
First you need to OWN being needy. Let yourself feel full acceptance and understand ‘Right now I feel needy and it’s okay’.
Secondly, begin to meditate, perhaps start a mindfulness practice where you begin to follow the breath or label your thoughts as they come in (The book ‘Mindful Way Through Depression’ is an excellent help for doing this).
Thirdly, begin to need yourself. Spend time alone, really embracing alone, not through distraction but through embodying yourself. This can be done by walking alone, taking yourself out for coffee, begin to take yourself out on play dates. Yes alone can be fun, but in the beginning it can feel scary and painful emotionally.
AND lastly, the more you become at ease with aloneness and meditate, so a space within you begins to be filled with the light of who you really are, you no longer need and you begin to allow in new people into your world who accept you exactly as you are, because you are beginning to accept you exactly as you are.
This is a journey, not a race.
And most of all go easy on yourself.
If you want to delve deeper into this check out my book ‘When Everyone Shines But You‘ where my own healing journey began.