Need, want, love; three simple words that bring up different emotions. I love you. I want you. I need you.
What I become aware of as I write these words is that it feels nice to love someone, it feels nice to want someone, but to need someone….not so much. Have you ever shouted loudly, or said these words softly in your private moments? ” I don’t need anybody!”
The connotation associated with “needing” someone is a feeling of dependence on them. Dependence is associated with weakness. Weakness is associated with vulnerability. When an animal is vulnerable at the water hole, another animal can pounce, and the ending isn’t pretty.
Have you ever been at the proverbial water hole and felt pounced on in your vulnerability? Does the thought of ‘needing” someone bring up a feeling of weakness?
Growing up, my dad taught me about vulnerability. He often told me to never show my cards, keep a poker face. He taught me how to be tough and independent. “Don’t let other people know your business,” he would say.
What I heard and interpreted at the time was, don’t let people in. I heard, don’t trust too much because people can take advantage of you.
On the other hand he “needed” my mother desperately. She cleaned his house, cooked his meals, and ironed his shirts and underwear. She did everything for him. She loved him, she soothed him, she was there for him when he came home from work each day. He loved her, and he depended on her. So did I.
When I came home from school on a cold February afternoon in 1984, and was told that my mother had died while I was in school, I was at that water hole. I felt pounced on by life in general, and yes I felt extremely vulnerable. I saw the devastation in my father; he was crushed. I saw his vulnerability, and I didn’t like it. In that moment, I needed my mother and she was gone.
I quickly concluded, that when you “need” someone life can yank them away. That made me very afraid, to believe that the rug could be pulled out from under me at any time. I think that is when I decided that needing or depending on someone too much was simply wrong, and I would only be hurt in the end. That is when I shouted to the world, ” I don’t need anybody!”
I was twenty-two when my dad died two years later. His death solidified my feelings about vulnerability. That is when my walls went up. They were my walls to protect me from my own vulnerability. It seemed like a logical idea at the time; to put up such walls. But, really I was only kidding myself, I still felt the emotions in my body, no matter what kind of walls I built. What the walls really kept me from was getting too close to other people. Do you have walls to protect you from vulnerability? Have they kept others away?
I have begun to re-evaluate my shout out of ” I don’t need anybody!” I’m making peace with saying, ” I need you.” If to need is to be vulnerable, well then I am embracing that too. I want to let people in. I want to share myself, and I want others to share themselves with me. I like having that connection and closeness with another human being. I may have once shouted I don’t need anybody, but I certainly don’t want to be alone on this journey. I know that I have my other hand to hold, but holding another’s hand feels different than holding my own, and I like the feel of another’s hand holding mine.
I am embracing and allowing my need. I am accepting that needing is not inferior to being independent and strong. I embrace my independence; yes indeed I am a strong confident woman. But I love having people in my life too. Neediness, is simply the duality of independence. I allow in more strength, as I no longer reject what I see as ‘weak”
Vulnerability is something that I definitely believed was weak, but I have come to see that when I am vulnerable, I let people in. Letting people in feels good. I like that connection. I am therefore, embracing my vulnerability more and more. It lets me share more of who I am; I love to do that, I want to do that.
It feels so wonderful when others let me in too. Show me you, naked and raw, and I feel warm inside, I feel trust. Trust feels wonderful. I feel love too, and love feels so wonderful. I trust my body and my emotions, it is simply my old belief about neediness and vulnerability that was limiting me. How do you feel about your vulnerability? Does it limit you?
I don’t want to deny myself trust and love, so I will embrace more of my vulnerability and need. I love people, I want people, I need people in my life. Indeed it is a work in progress to say this without my old belief coming to the surface. I am not governed by need or vulnerability, but I will no longer reject them either. It feels so freeing and light as I feel myself become more neutral. Yes, i am truly allowing more of me to shine through and I like what I see.
Let the walls come tumbling down!