Saturday, June 4, 2016

When it's okay to be needy...

The term, "Needy," carries such negative connotations.  When we hear the phrase, "You are so needy," it sounds like a hateful criticism.  Plants need sunlight to thrive, but no one faults a flower for its needs.  Babies need milk to grow.  In fact we come into this life kicking and screaming, and we are very adept at letting our needs be known before we can even talk.

Perhaps this whole subject is a sore spot because we don't understand, in some sense, we are all needy.  More to the point, the confusion sets in as we mismanage our neediness.

Let's be honest, brutally honest.  Needy people can be exhausting and we feel drained just at the mention of their name.  Sadly, some people do not want to be healthy, and they will gladly go along sucking the life out anyone who will let them.  Don't.  Don't give into codependency.  You won't help them or yourself.

Part of the problem with needy people is they can become takers.  They only call when they are in an emergency.  They only have one topic to discuss, ever, and it's some void they want you to fill.  They never give back.  They are a demanding victim who expects you to rescue them, over & over again.

The more you give into a needy person, the more they will take from you, until soon there's nothing left of you for yourself.  It's tiresome to constantly be meeting the needs of others.  But the other end of the spectrum isn't the answer though.  We don't want to go through life as constantly feeling dependent upon others.

On the other hand, there are people who are so desperate to be needed, they create circumstances to manipulate others into depending on them.  They don't realize how needy they are -- they need to be needed.  These people need to be your champion and to have as many people as possible lean on them, in order for them to feel whole.

And, it's hard for some people to admit they have needs that can only be met by other people.  People who feel smug and think they are far superior to the rest are no more healthy than the person who latches on to your leg and leaches the life out of you... through a slow miserable death.

So what's the difference between having needs and being a needy person?  In other words, Why are we all needy?  We are all needy because we aren't made to be independent.  We have to partner with other people -- we need others to enter into this life and to navigate this life.  In other words, we are healthiest when we are interdependent.

Is there anyway out of this bleak situation?  How can we manage our actual needs without allowing our weaknesses to become our identity?  It's perfectly fine to voice your needs to those who can and want to meet your needs, those with whom you have a reciprocal relationship.

The best way I know to manage our needs is to become someone who establish healthy boundaries with others.  If you want to gauge how healthy another person is emotionally, watch how well they respond to your boundaries.  Just like a border between cities or states, it's important to know where you begin and where others end.

Therefore, the starting point is recognizing we all do have needs that we can't meet alone, but we don't have to succumb to being a needy person.  Secondly, work to collaborate with others so we can mutually meet each other's needs in the healthiest way possible.  Finally, establish and maintain healthy boundaries.

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