Need vs. Needy
One can be alone and not experience “lonely.” The state of ‘alone’ is a factual event; It can be objectively measured. Lonely is a feeling; one that is generated from beliefs and expectations. ‘Lonely’ is an internal state that we generate unrelated to the external state. We can feel lonely even in the middle of a crowd!
‘Need’ and ‘needy’ are similar. Everyone *has* needs. This is a basic condition of human existence. We need air, water, nourishment & a wide variety of not-so-obvious things. Having needs is normal and unavoidable. It’s like having a birthday — you can deny it, but you where in-fact born. Having needs is unavoidable; a factual event. Feeling needy is self-generated.
One only feels “needy” (weak, inadequate, clingy, small, less-than) based on not getting their needs met. We are only as NEEDY as our unmet needs.
Needy can be thought of as a generalized, undifferentiated dependence on others and feelings of helplessness and fears related to lack of connection.
Wanting contact with others is wired into humans; we literally NEED contact for our health and well being. Neediness, however, is the shadow side of this basic need. It is an unhealthy version of our craving for contact – activated by our beliefs that we can’t/won’t have what we need in this regard. Neediness is marked by helplessness, fear, and passivity rather than a healthy ability to move towards our desire. Healthy, connected people are able to communicate their needs and get them met; the needy are unable to do this.
But understand that It’s fear— fear of our own needs for connection and the possibility that they won’t ever be met — not the actual needs that has us feel needy. So, to deal with neediness, we need to separate the two — recognize the fear that is causing the feeling and then also the need itself.
Overcoming the feeling of neediness will require some self-reflection and some action.
Rather than doing the knee-jerk action that you may be driven to, take some time, consider “what are you really wanting?” Take time to really consider what you want — don’t dismiss it. The key to overcoming neediness isn’t becoming stronger. The attempt to be ‘stronger’ is often a dismissal of your needs and a reinforcement that you will never have them met.
Your knee-jerk response to neediness may in-fact create more chaos and separateness — and ultimately reinforce your belief that you can’t/won’t be able to connect.
Next, you may want to consider your current relationships. Are you with people that keep you stuck by their own co-dependent habits? Do you need to widen your reach and seek new people to play with?
So when you are feeling needy try to disengage; breath, meditate, exercise … do what you can to stop the anxiety and untangle the fear from the need. Treat your anxiety to a walk, a book or a movie. Recognize that fear is just that — it isn’t real and doesn’t mean anything. See if you can release the anxiety and see what need is under it.
Next reach out and connect. Make requests – even if you are not sure what you want. At your core, you desire connection. Be proactive about increasing your circle of friends and connections.
Ultimately, you need to honor your need for connectedness and take action to get it. This will move you from neediness to intimacy. Yay!
So go engage with others and get connected!!!
And, if you are reading this, I am someone you can always reach out to. 🙂
Everyone deserves to know that they are loved and connected!!